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Building Terms   


Plastering refers to construction or ornamentation done with plaster.  For example this could be a layer of plaster on an interior wall or plaster decorative mouldings on ceilings or walls.  This is sometimes called pargeting.  The process of creating plasterwork, called plastering, has been used in building construction for centuries. 


Coving is the simplest way to finish off a room. Modern lightweight materials do not need special skill to fit, just a little care and attention. Coving is especially useful when a new wall has been erected, a ceiling replaced or settlement has left a gap. This will save you much time by not having to undertake detailed finishing, to such a high standard as not to be seen. 


Artex is a powder complex which when mixed with water turns into a plaster paste. It’s applied to walls or ceilings to create an aristic texture (hence the name). Because it’s more flexible that traditional plaster, it’s good for covering cracks and other defects. Artex takes between 24 and 48 hours to completely dry.  

Plasterboarding/Dot and Dabbed

Plasterboard is a relatively low-budget building material. Plasterboard is made by sandwiching a core of wet gypsum between two sheets of heavy paper. When the core sets and is dried, the sandwich becomes rigid and strong enough for use as a building material. As of 2005, it is the most common material used globally for the construction of interior walls and ceilings.   

Plasterboard is cut to size by scoring the paper on the front side with a utility knife, breaking the sheet along the cut, scoring the paper backing, and finally breaking the sheet in the opposite direction. Small features such as holes for outlets and light switches are usually cut using a keyhole saw or a small high speed bit in a rotary tool. The plasterboard is then fixed to the wall structure with nails, or more commonly in recent years, with specially designed screws. In some cases, the plasterboard may be attached to the wall with adhesives.  

Dot and dabbed is when the plasterboards are stuck to the wall using a board adhesive.  This can be a quick way of making flat walls.    

Dry Lining  

Dry lining is a generic term applied to the use of (typically) plasterboard on timber or metal frames. Or (in the case of a finish to blockwork walls, on plaster ‘dabs’) as a replacement to conventional building practices (‘wet trades’) where brick or block, or more traditionally lath and plaster would be specified. The term dry lining strictly applies to the use of plasterboard to replace a sand and cement or wet plaster finish to internal blockwork, although it’s use has become more broadly associated with internal fit out throughout the building. In this application the term studwork (from the timber or metal studs that form the frame to which the boards are fixed) is more commonly used  


This is the final coat of plaster that can be applied to new plasterboard, a rendered wall, an old wall or ceiling or a newly floated wall.  The skim coat is about 2 – 3 mm thick and can take between 90 and 150 minutes to complete.  This coat can be used to tidy up an old wall and prepare it for a painted finish as well as being applied to a newly built wall.


Rendering can be done internally and externally, usually it would only be done indoors if the building was slightly older and needed some kind of waterproof protection. The render coat’s thickness can vary greatly especially in older buildings but would usually be around 12 - 15mm thick. The render coat would have a skim coat over the top to prepare for a painted finish. The render is ruled off using long straight edged tools to ensure a flat wall.
External rendering is common on houses and means the building can be painted for a nice flat finish.  

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