Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Plastering Course at Trade Ability

At the end of Feb I went on a two-weekend plastering course at Trade Ability near Newark.  I booked it before Christmas so I got a cheeky discount on the course, so for the weekend option it was only £200.  What did I have to lose?  Nothing it seems!

I had an absolutely fab time, met lots of lovely people, and bagged myself some new skills.  You can't say fairer than that.

Our instructor, Lee, was a lovely chap - and completely down to earth.  He completely accepted that it's not always possible get it perfect, so provided us with some handy tips on what to do if it all does go pete-tong.  As he put it "s**t happens".

We spent much of the time skimming, with a few tutorials and exercises on how to do a few other skills, such as plasterboarding, attaching beading, rendering, plasterboard repairs, making joins etc.  I lost count of how many skims we did but we did quite a few walls and two goes of a ceiling.  It was really flexible though and as a group we were able to choose what we wanted to do more of.

My first small wall - note the lack of detail at the top of the wall!

My attempt at a large wall a bit later in the weekend

Close up - trust me, this one was really smooth!

Some plasterboard repair work

What I really took away from the course, is that the staging of your work is really important.  Getting all your prep done, having all your equipment in the right place, ready to go when you are, so that once your plaster is mixed it's all systems go.  You haven't got time to mess about once the plaster is mixed.

Staging your work - everything set up ready to go

I also learnt when to have patience and when to walk away - when to go and have a cup of tea to leave the plaster to firm up a bit, instead of keep fiddling with it.

The thing I most struggled with was the ceiling skimming.  On my first go, I shall quote what Lee said to me when I declared I was finished "After your second coat that looked like a rat's arse, so I'm really surprised that you managed to bring it back".  I took it as a complement...  My second go was better, although certainly not perfect.

Me in action!

I was dead chuffed with my walls though, and I'm really excited to give it a go in my own home now.  My only regret is that I didn't strip all the wallpaper in our house before I went on the course so that I could have come straight home and cracked on while the skills were still fresh in my mind!

I would certainly recommend the course to anyone, and at that price it would be rude not to.  I'll be the first person to suggest that you learn things about DIY on YouTube, but I think plastering is one of those skills where you need hands on, practical, in real life, experience.

The only improvement that I think could be made to the course is to have an opportunity to plaster a wall with obstructions in the way, such as a door frame, window or for me, an electrical socket (slightly regretting all those sockets I had put in now...).  The walls we did we just rectangular walls with no obstructions, so they weren't quite realistic.  However I can understand why it would be hard to add to the course as you spend the course plastering the same few walls, so if the walls had sockets on them you would probably have to try a wall with a socket on it fairly early on while you are still trying to get to grips with the whole darn thing, which would probably put even the calmest of people into a bit of a flap!

I plan to start with the box room (OH's office) to further refine my skills as if I make a hash of it, guests rarely see it.  Then after a bit more prep, I'll be onto the living room - yay!

Are there any courses you have been on that you would highly recommend for your house renovations?

[p.s. this is not a sponsored post - I just had a fab time and wanted to share my experience]

1 comment:

  1. Ah your walls looked amazing! And from the photo, so did the ceiling! My OH finished his course here the other week (thanks again BTW!) and spent every day bragging about great he was at it... Only to then attempt filling in some chased cables at home which didn't turn out as he planned (thank god for polyfiller!) ..He obviously blamed the non-straight walls and that one side plaster was thicker than the other ;) oh dear! I think it's definitely a practise makes perfect kind of thing. You'll be a boss by the time your living room is done! Xx