Uneven walls can ruin even the most beautiful interior design. Unfortunately, both in new buildings and in “secondary” housing, the surface of the walls rarely allows you to immediately proceed to finishing. Of course, you can limit yourself to masking irregularities with wallpaper with a small pattern or placing large furniture, but it is better to align the walls.
Most often, plaster is used to solve this problem. In addition, doing plastering work with your own hands helps to significantly reduce repair costs. To get perfectly flat walls, you just need to know and follow the simple rules for using this material..
You can make the wall even in two ways: using plaster and using drywall sheets. Already leveled walls can be additionally plastered to bring the surface to an ideal.
It is easier for beginners to work with drywall, but plaster also has its advantages:
- The material does not require the installation of a frame under the cladding, thereby saving room space. For wiring electricity or water supply, special grooves are cut in the wall itself.
- The wall is monolithic. Seams and joints, which are always present with plasterboard sheathing, do not happen when plastering.
- Even a thick layer of gypsum plaster is protected from cracks.
- Plaster is most often an environmentally friendly building material, does not contain or emit substances harmful to humans.
For all its advantages, leveling the wall using gypsum or cement mixtures also has significant disadvantages:
- To work with plaster, much more time is required than with the “dry method” leveling.
- It is quite difficult for a layman to calculate the amount of ingredients required for work in a given area..
- The facility must have water.
- For a plastering station, according to SNIP, a 3-phase voltage is required. Although, when repairing small rooms, you can also use a station that works from a regular outlet with a voltage of 220 V.
- Plastering is a “dirty” process that requires accuracy and subsequent major cleaning of the premises..
How to align?
There are several types of plaster mixes: with cement, with clay and with gypsum. When working with any kind of material, it is necessary to use special tools: spatulas, brushes, levelers, scrapers, containers, a mixer for stirring, polishers and sandpaper. To facilitate the process, you can also use various guides, beacons and corners..
For exterior work and finishing of non-residential premises, it is better to use cement plaster.. It is cheap and durable, and the proportions can be changed depending on preference and purpose. However, physically working with such a mixture is quite difficult. It does not adhere well to concrete surfaces. In addition, cracks may appear with a large thickness of the plaster layer. It is worth noting the fact that any cement mixtures dry for a long time..
Leveling the walls of the apartment with gypsum plaster is considered the best option. It is environmentally friendly, has increased moisture absorption, and provides good thermal insulation. The consumption of such mixtures per 1 sq. m is significantly lower than the consumption of cement products, but the cost of such materials is higher.
Clay plaster is used much less often, since certain experience is required to work with it. This material is also environmentally friendly, elastic and has high moisture absorption, like gypsum mixtures. But, unlike gypsum and cement, such plaster must be renewed annually, because small cracks appear on it around the perimeter..
Before directly leveling the wall surface, it is necessary to prepare:
- First you need to remove the old coating (wallpaper, paint or the top layer of old plaster).
- You should also thoroughly rinse and clean the surface from dust, dirt and stains..
- All cracks and chips are carefully cleaned with a spatula. To carry out preparatory work at the joints of the walls, you can use a special tool – an angled spatula.
- At this stage, it is necessary to remove all switches and sockets, isolate and hide de-energized wires in the recesses.
- It is better to cover the cleaned wall with a primer so that the plaster adheres better to the surface. The primer is selected taking into account the material of the wall covering (concrete, wood, brick or an old layer of plaster). Also, the primer helps to strengthen the plaster layer and repels excess moisture. To apply it, you can use a regular brush, roller or spray gun..
Following the instructions, you must wait until it is completely dry. Then you can start measuring the curvature and choosing a work technique..
Alignment selection and technique
There are two ways to level the surface with plaster with your own hands:
- Rule (in non-residential and utility rooms). In this case, it is necessary to use a rule with a length of at least 1 m.It is worth considering that the surface of the wall still cannot be aligned to the ideal. It is necessary to fill in the grooves and cracks with plaster in advance, knock down the protrusions with a spatula and a hammer. The composition is applied to the wall with throwing movements from floor to ceiling and stretched over the entire area using the rule. Then they take a longer tool (from 2 m) and hold it several times in the direction from bottom to top, correcting minor defects and irregularities.
- By lighthouses (most often the walls in living rooms are aligned this way). In order to find out what the curvature of the wall is, it is necessary to apply a level and measure the difference between the starting and ending points. If the difference is 10 mm or less, there is no need to plaster the surface, you can get by with a putty. In the case of a larger difference, it is necessary to correctly apply the beacon landmarks. To do this, two holes must be drilled in the upper corners of the wall and screws must be inserted into them. Then, pressing the plumb line to one of the selected points, you need to select the largest protrusion and screw the screw at the bottom strictly vertically to this protrusion. The same must be done at the other end of the wall. Then you should check the correctness of both guides using a level.
The rest of the wall space is divided into strips equal to the length of the rule, and screws are also screwed in at the top and bottom. After that, the wall must be cleaned again, primed and removed from the plumb lines. After the primer has dried, plaster is applied along the marked lines, and beacon profiles are inserted into it. Excess plaster must be removed.
The leveling itself begins with mixing gypsum or sandy plaster according to the instructions on the package. Pour the dry mixture into a prepared container, add water and mix thoroughly using a construction mixer or any long-handled tool at hand. The mixture should stand for a while, after which it must be stirred again..
In order to make the first (draft) layer, it is necessary to apply the mixture with a spatula to the wall with sketching movements. Application is carried out from floor to ceiling in the space between the two beacons. If the curvature of the wall is minimal, then a rough application is enough to make the layer equal to the profile..
If the application of the rough layer is not enough, then after it dries, it is necessary to repeat the application as many times as necessary to hide the leveling profile under the layers..
After the last layer has lightly grabbed, it must be leveled using the rule. The tool is firmly pressed against the surface and smoothly moves up. It is necessary to repeat the action until the edges of the lighthouses appear from under the cover. After that, it is necessary to allow the composition to fully grasp.
Removing beacons and polishing
As soon as the coating becomes strong enough, beacons are removed from it, and the recesses remaining from them are filled with plaster. A completely dry wall is moistened, and then all defects are smoothed out with a trowel, grater and sandpaper.
You can level any curved wall using plaster as described above. However, depending on the type of composition used, the characteristics of the wall surface and subsequent finishing, the work process may differ slightly:
- Brick walls must be pre-moistened with water. This will help the mixture adhere better to the brick..
- To level clay walls, you must use only those plasters that weigh less clay.
- If the wall was previously plastered, and the reliability of the old coating is still high, you can put a new layer on the old plaster without knocking it down. In order to determine the strength of the old layer, it is necessary to knock on the surface of the wall. Where the sound is muted, the plaster adheres perfectly and does not need to be dismantled. If the sound is resonant, the old masonry must be dismantled with an ax or hammer and trowel..
The alignment of walls with plaster in an apartment is carried out in the same way in almost all rooms. The exception is work in the bathroom and toilet. Since the humidity in these rooms is high, the applied mixture can deform and move away from the wall..
In this case, it is better to choose a cement mortar, since it is more moisture resistant. The mixed mass must be completely homogeneous. The surface of the wall must be covered with a primer. If several layers of cement plaster are applied, then shallow notches should be made on the previously dried bottom layer in order for the top layer to better attach to it. If in the future it is planned to lay ceramic tiles, deviations in the level of the wall should not exceed one centimeter..
Sometimes it becomes necessary to plaster a wall already leveled with drywall:
- To do this, you need to prepare the surface in advance..
- It is necessary to clean and prime it, putty all the seams and attachment points of the gypsum board to the profile, correct the corners with the help of special corners that are laid under the plaster.
- The mixture itself must be chosen with the lowest liquid content, or initially moisture-resistant gypsum boards must be installed.
It is not recommended to glue wallpaper on a wall plastered with a cement mixture, as the surface is too grainy. However, if you remove the crumbling layer and treat the wall with a special impregnation or glue, the wallpaper, in principle, can be glued. Nevertheless, it is better to glue them on gypsum plaster, plastered with special mixtures and carefully sanded.
Hard to reach places
Working with plaster on the wall surface is not particularly difficult, even for those who are doing it for the first time. However, plastering corners, slopes or ceilings can cause difficulties..
In order to plaster window and door openings, you must follow certain rules:
- It is important to carry out all the preparatory work. It is necessary to cover all window and door elements that can be damaged and stained with foil. It is best to use corners that act as beacons and additionally reinforce the plaster layer. They need to be installed in advance. It is also necessary to attach a bar defining the plane in which the composition is applied..
- The pasty solution should be mixed in such an amount that it is enough for one hour of operation. If you make a large volume of plaster at once, the mixture will thicken before the end of the process..
- The plaster is thrown from the bottom of the opening or slope to the top, a small rule is applied for leveling. Excess solution is removed with a smoothing iron, the surface is examined, defects are eliminated. The procedure is repeated as many times as necessary to obtain a neat, even surface..
- After the finished slopes and openings are completely dry, you can paint the surface or lay tiles.
It is recommended to level the corners of the room with plaster using beacons or reinforcing mesh with a counter-crust.
Beacons are used if the entire surface of the wall is aligned with the corners. In this case, an angled spatula is used, with the help of which an even, neat angle is formed..
A corner with a reinforced mesh (kontrashultz) or serpyanka is suitable if the walls have already been pre-aligned. It is applied to the corner and lightly pressed into the pre-applied plaster by the rule. Excess mortar is removed with a spatula moving from the corner. After drying, the surface is cleaned with sandpaper. Contrashults align both internal and external corners
The ceiling is plastered with at least two layers of the mixture using a beacon system or plaster mesh. The mesh is applied only on a relatively flat surface. When plastering ceilings, drops of solution may fall on the floor of the room and objects in it, so you need to carefully prepare for work. Anything that can be taken out must be removed from the room. The rest should be covered with plastic wrap.
The ceiling in two layers is primed with a roller on a long handle to cover the entire area without moving a ladder or chair. It is necessary to calculate your strength, since all work is carried out with hands raised up. Take frequent rest breaks.
Tips & Tricks
- In order to prepare painted surfaces for plastering, it is better to use a metal brush.
- Before applying the plaster to a wooden surface, it is necessary to make notches on the wood in the form of a grid..
- When plastering the ceiling and walls, clean polyethylene must be laid on the floor. Pieces of uncured plaster that have fallen on it can be used afterwards, as it will remain clean..
- To make the cement mixture more plastic and easier to apply, a little lime can be added to it..
- With the help of a plumb line or level, you can not only determine whether the surface is even, but also choose which type of plaster should be leveled. If the deviation is less than 1 cm, then you can limit yourself to only finishing plaster. If the thickness does not exceed 2 cm, then the wall is leveled by the start, and the decorative effect is given by the finish. If there are differences of more than 3 cm, it is better to postpone the idea with plaster and use drywall.
Self-leveling walls with plaster mixes requires time, patience and, at least, theoretical knowledge. There are no great difficulties in such work, but if in doubt, it is better to entrust it to professionals..
In this video, we align the walls with plaster according to all the rules..