Before I show you how I proceeded with attaching the plasterboard to the framework, I need to talk a bit about plastering. When I mentioned to friends that I intended to do the plastering by myself, there were very few of them that didn’t raise an eyebrow or two. It seems that there is a feeling that plastering is one job that shouldn’t be attempted buy the DIYer. Now, whilst I’m sure plastering is a skilled job, some may even say an art form, I’m sure there are harder things that I have attempted and succeeded at in my my life, and I’m really not one to shy away from a challenge. In fact someone telling me I can’t do something is almost guaranteed to make me want to prove them wrong. So I figured if I’m going to do my own plastering, I’d better find out – what exactly is plastering?
What surprised me is that when I went onto YouTube to find out, there were very few videos showing me how to install and finish plasterboard. After delving a little deeper I realised why – I was typing in the wrong word. Apart from the little country I live in, hardly anybody else in the rest of the world calls it plasterboard – they call it drywall. And not only do they have a different name for it, but they have a completely different way of using it. Here in England, what most people generally do is hang the plasterboards on the wall and cover the entire thing with a coat of wet plaster. Just about everywhere else as far as I can tell uses a system called taping and jointing, whereby instead of covering the entire board, you just cover the joins between the boards, using paper tape and jointing compound, which is similar to plaster, but more suitable for sanding to a smooth finish. The plasterboards used are also tapered at the edges which makes a subtle V shaped groove, to accommodate the tape and jointing compound without forming a bulge.
So the big question for me was, which method should I use? It was virtually impossible to ascertain which method was better, because invariably when you read about the opinions of professionals, the system they think is better is the one they use, which equates very much to: British plasterers think their method is better and American tape and jointers think theirs is. There are arguments raging in forums all over the internet between British and American plasterers about the pros and cons of each. After reading as much of these as I could tolerate, I came to several conclusions. Firstly, both methods can produce a perfect finish if done well and both can produce a poor finish if done badly. Secondly, of the two methods, taping and jointing is probably easier for a novice like me, and despite my propensity to choose the more challenging route, on this occasion, easier does sound better. And so from now on, instead of plasterboard, I’ll be calling it drywall. Luckily, all of materials and equipment for ‘drywalling’ are available in places like Wickes, which I guess might suggest that this system is beginning to catch on over here. And with that, it’s time to put away my woodworking tools and replace them with my newly acquired dry walling tools.