Category Archives: Plasterboard



Having carried out some DIY painting in the past I decided this time I would invest in good tools as this was going to be the biggest job to date. This first entailed selecting a brand whose painting equipment is rated highly.  I selected tools from the Wooster product range.

There are a few essential tools.
    • The Pole (I selected a 4 to 8 foot adjustable pole called the Wooster Sherlock GT extension pole ). This tool has a few good features such as snap on paint roller head, an extension that snaps in set positions, a tool to fit screw type paint rollers. A substantial rubber hand grip that made the job easier . The highest point of our ceilings are 3.6 metres and this version allowed me to reach the ceilings directly from the floor. Narrow hallways that are less than the length of the pole plus the roller would make it difficult to use this pole length.











  • Rollers– I selected a 3/8 inch nap (pile depth)  for the plasterboard because of its smooth surface and I tried a 9 and 14 inch roller called the pro-doo-z. The Nap determines the amount of paint applied and the paint texture of the wall surface . The 3/8 inch gives a fine finish. If one used a 1/2 inch nap the roller can hold more paint but the texture is different. After trying the 9 inch and 14 inch roller my preference was to use the 14 inch roller as I found it easier, faster and more stable because it is supported at both ends (see below). I would be tempted to try the contract rollers that are supposed to be faster the next time but the finish may not be the same. One can select the right roller from the web site link Wooster Rollers. 
        • Cutting In– A very useful and time saving tool was the Wooster hand-held Pelican kettle .
          Pelican Kettle

          It is available with liners to make it easy to change colours.  It has a section to hold a cutting in brush and a mechanism to hold a small roller. Both of these are necessary in order to end up with the same wall surface texture as the main roller for example around switches and sockets. I used non diluted paint for the cutting in process. One needs a mini roller also for the Pelican holder.

        • Brush– The cutting in brush I used was the Silver tip wooster 2 inch model. I never owned a high quality brush before and it is working out great.
        • Tray/Kettle-I tried the Tray and the Kettle. My preference is the 25 litre Kettle with replaceable liners. I initially bought a Kettle with no liners and the washing out of the tray or kettle at the end of a days painting is time consuming and  non environmental as one must wash the inside completely . Comparing this to using a liner that one can dispose of in the bin. I know at the end of the day it all is non environmental but using plastic liners keeps everything clean and saves time.
        • Safety Glasses and peaked cap -While painting the ceiling it is a vital item.
        • Fresh Air– While the paint is wet the smell is stronger so ensure that your rooms are very well vented. As I am painting in the winter the house temperature has dropped to approximately 9 degrees.
        • Paint-I used Dulux paint as it has a good reputation for quality.
        • Cling Film-In order to keep the brushes and rollers clean I wrapped them in clingfilm overnight. The roller lasted a week and I did not notice any problems even with this amount of time . One just took of the clingfilm and started again with no cleaning required. It also reduces waste.

Technique I used for painting

First Coat– For the first coat on the plasterboard I mixed the paint to a 3 to 1 ratio  (one litre of water to 3 litres of paint) as advised.  By diluting the paint for the first coat it is supposed to allow the paint to get a good bond with the paper finish on the plasterboard. I did not use the traditional wet plaster method on the walls. The paint also needs to be mixed in a separate container. One requires a 1 litre container to carry out the measuring. I experimented with a lower ratio of water and I could not see much of a difference with the Dulux matt white paint on the bare plasterboard only that with two paint coats undiluted the finish looked better . If the walls were wet plastered in the traditional way then the water mix appears to be vital.

I started out using the paint brush and mini roller for the first cutting in but later on I just used the paint brush for the first cut and then used the paint brush and mini roller for the second cut in order to finish with the same texture as the 14 inch roller.

Self Build Painting
14 Inch Roller

After watching numerous methods and comparing the comments I think the following is the best I have come across to date  and having used the ideas it it all makes sense. With Youtube I found one has to watch about ten videos and then decide who is doing it right. Below may help.

Imperfections .

When the first coat of paint is applied it often identifies small imperfections in the plastering. When this happens let the paint dry and fill the imperfection with USG or Gyproc ready made joint filler. When this has fully dried sand it by hand and repaint it with a few coats. This method worked for me.


Plaster Board Finish

Wall Finishing and Fire Compartmentalisation


The golden rule is-avoid sanding as much as possible by ensuring that the knife finish is smooth at the edges and as close to a final finish as possible.  If one had to do this manually with a sanding block and pole it would be a tough job.

Thankfully over the years people have been improving the tools. I was lucky enough that the builder loaned me his sanding machine.  I just needed a hoover to manage the dust which was picked up free on the free cycle web site. The sanding machine looks like the following:

Sanding Machine
Flex WS 702VEA

Even though the above Flex machine makes the job easier and faster it still is a physical job especially when working overhead.  The hoover was not designed for the above but it worked out OK once the bag and filters were cleaned regularly.

I would suggest safety glasses when working overhead and a face mask at all times.

Technique for Sanding Used

The joints had a second coat of plaster and then a touch up coat was used to remove any edges and at the same time look for and fix any imperfections on the butt finishes (where two boards are joined with no taper edge) or tapered edges. USG 3 Sheetrock (see previous blog) was used for the second and third touch up coat.   I would not recommend the Gyproc joint filler for the second and third coat as it is primarily used for the first coat and it does a great job. When dry the finish is very hard and it would be difficult to sand. There is a Gyproc pro finisher but I found the Sheetrock product very economical and easy to work with for the second and third coat compared to other options.

I used a 150 grit sand paper on the Flex machine and left it at speed 4.   I was expecting that the sand paper would get blocked up but this did not happen. I was advised and found it very important to sand the edges of the joints and ensure that one does not stay too long on the edges as the paper on the plaster board could be damaged.  A light sand in the centre of the joint is how I finished each joint.

Sanding Joint Filler
Edge Sanding of Plasterboard












I also found it necessary to manually inspect the wall after the electric sander as one is too far away from the wall with the sander to spot imperfections. I made up a hand sanding block for this with a wood fibre board angled to get into corners.

Home Made Sanding Block












The angled  wood fibre board worked out better for me than dedicated sanding blocks and I used a pre-used sanding disc from the electric sander.

Self Build
Wood Fibre Board as a sanding block.












Plasterboard Corners

I experimented with the wall corner finishes on whether a sharp edge or rounded corners worked out better. The sharp edges looked like that shown in the top image below and the rounded corner is the image below that. If I was doing it all again I would use the rounded corners as I feel it looks better.

Plasterboard corner finish straight edge. Note dust still on one wall.



Rounded Corner

Fire Compartmentalisation

Typically with internal wooden stud walls there may be gaps between rooms at floor level or vertically. For this reason one may want to ensure that fire compartmentalisation is addressed (a previous blog covered this in detail). In order to do this I have chosen a B1 rated fire foam for the floor gaps. It also has a secondary benefit of reducing sound travel between rooms at these gaps. The foam I used was Olive PU-476.  The price varies and the best value I found in Ireland was at National Seal Systems in Dublin. I also bought intumescent water based fire sealer for small gaps around the edges of the distribution board and vertical uprights where one partition  meets another.

Self Build











Plaster Board Update

Plastering – Taping and Jointing. Tools and Lessons Learnt.

I finally completed installation of the plasterboard with the help of the mechanical plasterboard lifter and I have now just started taping and jointing. I decided on the international method of finishing the plasterboard rather than the Irish method ( see previous blog . If one is determined to use the traditional Irish method of wet plastering the whole wall I would still tape the joints with paper tape rather than the nylon/plastic mesh. The paper tape ensures the fire proof rating and from my research it is a stronger joint.

Below is an image of what it looks like when one applies the first joint filler tape coat. There are two to three more coats of plaster filler/compound required to hide the joints completely and some sanding.

Joint Taping
taping joints

I tried different methods and tools such as using a hawk instead of a mud pan to hold the plaster. For me the 12 inch mud pan worked out the best .







The tape dispenser is more important than I thought. The unit I purchased was a good design on paper but not very practical. If I was purchasing a unit again I would go for the steel design . The current model I am using is as shown below.







For ones own safety one must be able to roll the paper up  after taping the joint as the hanging paper can  become a trip hazard when moving around.  I would try this steel one instead if I was starting again (see below).




Another item is a glove for the knife hand. If one is working with the filler for a few days I have found it to be very rough on the hands. Over time the skin will toughen up I suppose.


There are two main types for corner beads used for edge finishing . The steel micro edging (first image below) or the paper tape reinforced with steel (second image). I found it easier to use the steel micro edging rather than the  reinforced tape edging. I tried a few methods of attaching the mesh and I settled for first applying the compound and using a few stainless steel staples(the standard ones are not stainless steel) to fix it securely while applying a finishing coat to fully bed it in. Note-ensure that one fully cleans the stapler after doing this.





The steel micro edging I feel is a better method to finish an edge and it is easier to sand and clean when applying wet filler.

Another idea that I did not get to try but it looks interesting is the use of pre-formed corner / edges  using plasterboard. This avoids the use of beads and it is called the ZaapSystem from Prodar.

The reinforced tape comes into its own when one needs to tape two walls that meet with slight angles. The price of this varies from €15 to €30 for the same length.









I tried different fillers/joint compounds . Gyproc dry wall filler (it comes in a bag and is quick setting ). One mixes it with water and it requires the use an electric mixer to prepare it. This bag works out fairly economical but the time spent mixing, the dust, washing out the bucket every hour or so is very time consuming. Another disadvantage is that it sets very fast and is very hard to sand afterwards. The colour is also a disadvantage as it does not blend well with the plasterboard. An advantage is that it works out well when fixing the steel micro mesh.

The next product I tried is the Gyproc bucket version (pre-mixed) 15 litre. This is easy to work with but again it is a white finish which will make it harder to blend into the wall and will require more painting. It is also very expensive.

The best product I found and the most economical for the joint is supplied by Greenspan called USG plus 3 (it is an American product) and it comes in a 17 litre tub. It has the best colour blend for the board, it gives a finer finish, and is easy to sand. It does require a small amount of water to be added to make it extra easy to work with (this makes it go a bit further).






  • When applying filler near floor level increase the width of the filler to ensure that any skirting board lies flush against the plasterboard.




    • Use paper rather than plastic mesh for a stronger and fire safe joint.
    • Practise filing joints in a non critical area such as behind future wardrobes, en-suite or storage room etc.
    • Have a rag /clothe clipped to your belt to wipe away any dried plaster pieces before they get caught in the fresh new compound and leave streaks.
    • Use the 4 inch knife to remove any dried plaster compound or for checking  screw heights. The other knives need to be protected from any edge damage or you will get streaking.
    • If the corner is less than 90 degrees I found it difficult to get a clean edge as there was limited space. In this case I made a finishing tool cut to the angle of the wall and ceiling with a rigid plastic cover to give a smooth surface.
Corner Plaster finishing
  • I found it helpful to have the 4 inch knife stuck to the pan with a magnet. It saves some time bending down or climbing down the ladder to get it when using  two other knifes. I typically would have the 6 inch knife for finishing edges and either the 10 inch or 12 inch for finishing butt or tapered joints. The 10 inch stayed in the back pocket .
4 inch Knife stuck to pan
Magnet on pan













  • Fully clean the knifes and dry them at the end of the day.
  • You will notice the difference between good quality knives and low cost knives.
  • If a knife should get damaged by a screw head I used a sharpening stone to repair it.

plastering repair






  • In order to minimise sanding sometimes it is better to re-apply another filler coat to get a perfect finish.
  • For corners I found it easier to use a corner knife (90 degree angle) and feather the edges with the 10 inch knife.
  • Use the 4 inch knife to clean away any small hardened plaster bumps before starting  the second coat.

Acoustic and Fire Design

Fire and Acoustic Isolation

Having recently come across a best practice guide for Electrical installations and their effect on the fire performance of buildings I have decided to change  the approach to the fire/acoustic isolation between rooms. I will now install Rockwool flexi 50mm in the 100mm partition walls and Rockwool flexi 100mm in the 140mm partition walls .

Electrics before insulation
Partition before Insulation with Wiring
Partition wall with Rockwool installed

From an acoustic perspective I was advised that it is better to install the Rockwool in the centre of the partitions rather than touching one or other side of the plasterboard as this limits the sound transfer.

The Electrical Safety Council best practice guide deals with Electrical installations and their impact on the fire performance of Domestic premises at this link when one is building a home. A summary is as follows but the full document is worth reading for any self builder.

  • Fire containment in the event of a fire
  • The need to prevent fire from passing through holes in all elements whether solid or lightweight is addressed.
  • Electrical Equipment is identified that has a direct and significant influence on the fire performance of an element.
  • Partial Penetrations –those that reduce the fire performance of part of the wall/ceiling or floor.
    Full Penetrations-such as ducts and fans that go through both elements of a wall/ceiling/floor.


Plaster Board Plan

Plaster Board Installation

I plan to install as much of the plaster board by myself. There are different techniques for completing the finish. I note that one must use paper between the joints in order to maintain the fire proof rating and the paper jointing material provides superior resistance to cracking. (see www. Jointing document)

It appears that the plastic mesh is not to be used even though it is popular.

When the boards are in place there is a special plaster joint coating for the first two coats and a different jointing plaster is used for finishing the joint.

It appears that we will not be able to plaster finish the complete boards as the humidity level in too low and there is a risk that a coat of plaster may crack during the drying process.

For the bathrooms areas around the shower I plan to use magnesium board or cement board as it offers superior water proofing.

Applying the plaster to the joints.

Below are a few videos I located in order to watch and learn from the professionals.

More details that may help


An important tool if one is doing the plaster board oneself is a plaster board lifter .

Some of these have height restrictions . Some are very professional and expensive and some are low cost. They vary between €150 and €1000.

Some plaster board web sites that I located to date are—Sheetrock-Lifter-Panel-Hoist.html

One that I will be not using