When we look at our prefabricated homes with the smoothly painted walls and no rough areas do we think about the plaster job under the layer of paint? To ensure a nice smooth wall for paint or for wallpaper, it is dependent on a good plaster job. It might seem old-fashioned, but plastering has been around for centuries.

We do know that there are changes in the industry with machine plastering; now what is machine plastering? And how does it differ from traditional plastering? There are three major differences, the first two are technical and the last preferential.


The first and most stark difference between a traditional and a machine plaster job is the speed. A traditional plaster job requires the tradesman to mix his plaster and apply it to the wall with his hawk and trowel. Before he starts applying the plaster, he has to properly prep the wall cleaning it from any kind of debris and dust. When applying the plaster, the job must be done quickly enough for it to dry evenly, but not rushed so that it creates an uneven wall.

With a machine, the prep time for the wall is about the same because this is an integral part of a good plaster job. But everything else is different. The machine steadily creates the mixture needed at a fixed consistency and sprays it on the wall. It can be done lightly enough that there is no need to go over it with a finishing trowel.


The consistency of the plaster mixture is different as well. When it comes to traditional plasterwork only those who with a lot of experience and focus can guarantee an even mix throughout an entire house. It is dependent on the tradesman whereas machines for plastering regulate the consistency. The ratio of mix to water is fixed. But at the same time if the machine isn’t great it may churn out a uniform plaster mix that isn’t great. Uniformity is guaranteed but not quality.


The third major difference is in style. Traditional plastering has a history behind it, both in technique and in the natural style of the trader. This cannot be replicated or looked down on. Restoration jobs of old homes, churches, and other historical buildings rely on traditional plastering to maintain the same feel. It may even go so far as to imitate the original materials used. Machine plastering is pretty straightforward and cannot accommodate the same detailed work.

When we look at homes built in bulk, the difference in the plaster jobs whether traditional or machine is small and insignificant. The bottom line for those jobs is about time and uniformity. But when we look at artistic homes or old homes, we can only imagine the level of work and craftsmanship behind those walls.