How much for plastering a room is such a common question on The Plasterers Forum. Most weeks, I get an email from somebody asking me how much for plastering a room.
I thought it would be a good idea to try and address this question and see if I can help the general public and plasterers with how much it will cost to plaster a room.
Firstly, before I carry on, every plasterer’s financial situation is different. This is one of the hardest questions to answer accurately, and in writing this I will no doubt cause a big debate so I will try and do it as best I can and will just roll with the punches later.
The first question that is very important when looking at how much for plastering a room is how big that room is? If the room is enormous then the at the very least you will need more plaster to plaster it.
Room Size Is Important When Looking At How Much For Plastering A Room
Once you know how big the room is and ideally know how many square meters are in it, you can simply divide that figure by 9 to give you about how many bags of multi finish plaster you will need. Multi finish covers 10m2, but I say 9m2 to all allow for wastage.
So, for example, a room that has four walls and a ceiling with a total square meterage of 50m2, you would divide that figure by 9. That comes out at about six bags then you need to allow for angle beads, bonding agent scrim tape etc. The price of multi finish plaster is about £7.50 a bag, so £50 for that and say another £50 in the odds and sods.
So we have materials estimated, sometimes you will need to do some prep to the walls to bring them straight and plumb. Some ceilings need to be repaired first and if over Artex a lot of plasterers will insist on overboarding with plasterboard, so that is another cost to consider.
However, I am not going to look at the overboard price or any abnormal wall prepping and just look at the reskim price.
The other thing to consider when looking at how much for plastering a room is how many angles there are. If it is four straight walls, then that will be a lot quicker than a room full nooks, crannies and angles. Those awkward areas swallow a lot of time, and there is a lot more preparation involved in getting them right.
The next thing to consider when looking at how much for plastering a room is whether the room is empty, the property is occupied and whether you need to put sheets down and protect the floors.
In a domestic property, you can spend a fair bit of time getting your dust sheets down in the room and then if it is an upstairs room you will have staircases to protect and what not. You will also have to allow for all the niceties with the customer and general chatter on top as well.
If you are on a building site then you can typically just get in and out with none of that preparation, so you have to consider it.
This is where things get a little controversial for plasterers so here we go…
How long is it going to take to plaster my room?
A room is a room, and as a rule, a massive room with four walls and a ceiling can take the same time as a smaller room with four walls and a ceiling.
I would always split my day up into “sets or hits”.
A set is what most plasterers split their days up into, and it is how much plaster they can apply and finish in one go.
For me, I would put the ceiling on first and pick up the window reveals and anything else that may be awkward or even a small wall. Then on the next set, I would put the walls on. If I had done lots of prep in the morning, then I would probably come back the next day have a quick set in the morning and clean up and go home early to then go out quoting in the evening.
I have worked with plasterers who could comfortably put a whole room on in one set and be cleaned up and ready to go that afternoon. This is where all the arguments come along about how much for plastering a room.
I feel that you should be covering worst-case situations, take this, for example.
You charge one day to do a job, and you do it, and all is happy. A week later you get a callback, and some of it has delaminated for whatever reason you now need to go back and put it right. Who pays for the extra labour and the materials? It’s not the customer’s fault, so they won’t pay, so it is down to you. Suddenly your £180 a day is now £90, and you have to find another £80 in materials as well.
Allowing for this margin on each job will give you a cushion if anything goes wrong, and you will still make the money you want at the end of each week.
I am not saying double everything, but you need to be making money and not just covering day money.
I don’t do day work, and I don’t charge day work and if I do it is not day work it is a charge per visit. It has always been a case of put a price in, and that was it. If you start charging day work you will find customers only want to pay you for what you have done and so if you worked later one day and have an earlier day the next day they will always try and only pay for those few hours and not the day.
So let us look at the costs so far…
£180 a day labour (x2)
I have put labour as £180 a day as it was £150 a day ten years ago so have added a bit for luck, but in all honestly, I don’t think any trade should be working for less than £200 a day. I know there are a lot of people who will be saying that nobody will pay that round ere and I would be lucky to get £100 a day and I don’t care that is something for you to look at.
There is also the north/south divide and also “London” prices which is a whole different argument, so I am not even going to open that can of worms.
We also then need to look at PROFIT!! the bit that most plasterers and tradespeople forget. Your daily wage is fine, but you are running a business as well, and all companies need profit to exist. So add on a bit, as a rule, I would look at 20% of the total and then round it up.
£180 a day labour (x2)
Now, there will be plasterers on the south saying that is cheap and plasterers in the north saying I am ripping people off.
I am never going to win this battle on How much for plastering a room, but this is a guideline, and if all plasterers started pricing to reflect their trade skills, then the prices would rise.