In the construction industry, plasterers are skilled workers who perform several duties, such as surface preparation, material application, and surface finishing. Many different plasterer jobs are available globally, although in most areas plasterers install and finish drywall, or plasterboard. Other jobs include pool plastering and stucco masonry. Some plasterers specialize in decorative plasterwork or historic restoration.
Plasterer jobs usually involve applying plaster to interior walls to create a special a durable wall surface. Before the invention of wallboard in the early 1900s, every home had plastered walls and ceilings, using a technique called lath and plaster. In modern times, people usually choose wallboard for its cost and ease of application. Generally, plasterers, or drywallers, install the drywall and finish it by taping and mudding the seams. Mudding is a technique in which the worker spreads plaster on the seams and nail holes to create a blemish-free, smooth surface.
In some parts of the world, plasterers do not simply mud the seams and nail holes, but rather lay a thin film of plaster over the entire wall. This method generally costs more to apply, but gives a very nice finish. If a person wants to learn this technique, experienced plasterers suggest becoming an apprentice to a master plasterer who specializes in the technique. Often a person must travel to a country, such as Ireland, where the practice is more common to get an apprenticeship.
One of the other interior specialty plasterer jobs is the technique of applying a layer of textured plaster to the wall. Usually, this application requires special products, and a skilled plasterer must mix and apply them masterfully. Another decorative plaster application is casting and applying ornamental embellishments, such as molding and cornices. A plasterer needs to use a special plaster and fiber mixture to cast the ornaments and then apply them. In most cases, the plasterer casts small pieces at a workshop and transports them to the work site, but usually needs to cast larger pieces at the work site.
On building exteriors, plasterers apply stucco, which people sometimes refer to as cement plaster. Typically, plasterers who apply stucco are stucco masons. Stucco plasterer jobs include cleaning and preparing the surfaces, installing guide wires to ensure proper plaster depth, and applying the stucco over a reinforcing mesh. A skilled worker properly mixes the mortar and plaster before applying it in the correct manner.
Stucco plasterer jobs may be for new construction or existing buildings. There is a job market for trained plasterers who can repair damaged stucco or apply stucco on a new addition. Often homeowners want the new addition's stucco pattern to match the existing part. Similar to interior work, plasterers who are adept at making castings may find plasterer jobs in decorative stucco embellishments.
Other specialty plasterer jobs include pool plastering and historical restoration. Often when a plasterer wants to specialize in one of these techniques, he or she apprentices with a master plasterer in the desired craft. Some plasterers apprentice for tall structure stucco application and restoration. This work generally requires industrial rope access certification, depending on local and regional laws and regulations. Frequently, these jobs require a plasterer to be skilled in restoration as well as rope access.