Airless plastering machines are having an exciting breakthrough onto the UK market and are certainly showing that they are they future. Whilst it appears that spray-applied plaster dominates on the continent, the UK is working hard to catch up and 2019 is certainly it’s year to shine. With a need for 230,000 tradespeople in UK by next year, the construction industry needs to consider methods to improve productivity. Contractors continue to be under increasing pressure, taking on many projects with ever more ambitious completion timings. Airless plastering may be the fast, flexible and effective solution companies are looking for.
Where Have I Seen This Before?
Airless plastering was utilised on an impressive Isle of Wight build featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs. A variety of spraying applications were used to plaster the 7,500ft squared home including airless plaster which all in all culminated in creating this beautiful home which was valued at £3.2million last year.
The Need For Speed
One of the major positives of Airless plastering is the speed; stated as 6 times faster than traditional plastering. Not only can it be applied incredibly quickly meaning that a completed house can be finished quicker that conventional dry lining methods but it also dries three times quicker meaning you can be plastering a house on Monday and painting on Wednesday. Some airless plasters claim to be dry and at the paint-ready stage within 24 hours (dependent on temperature and humidity). It is claimed that two 3-4 bed houses can be completed in a week with a two-man crew; that’s up to 1,000m² per week accomplished by just two people!
Another benefit of airless plastering are the benefits for the environment. The special fast-dry ready-mix plasters do not require mixing with water which as well as ensuring you are not wasting gallons of water and eliminating the need for an on-site water supply, also adds to the efficiency of your plastering. No more lugging water across a construction site meaning generally less mess is created in both the mixing process and clearing up process. Spraying pre-mixed plaster reduces waste to less than 1%. The only waste is often the plastic bag that the plaster comes in which more and more is becoming recyclable.
The Finishing Touches
Airless plastering is becoming an increasingly popular alternative means to prepare a wall. Customers are requesting even smoother, cleaner-finished walls which the airless plastering machines can achieve since they create a smooth, very evenly plastered layer which makes subsequent paint layers bind easier to the wall and enhance the finished look. The plaster is a very fine texture made from ground marble from quarries mixed with polymers and organic binders and can be applied between 1-5mm thickness. The marble mix leaves a smooth white finish meaning there is no need to prep the wall further before painting so it serves as an undercoat too (saving the time and money associated coats of further pre-painting preparation). You can even have colour infused into the plaster mix to speed up the process even further. Airless plastering creates a consistent quality bright white finish with far greater flexibility ensuring that it is less prone to chips and cracking. As the plastered stud wall timbers or ceiling joists dry and move, the organic binders in the material ensure there is flexibility and resistance to cracking. The finished plaster is quick and easy to sand and creates very little dust.
There is a safety benefit to using airless sprayers as you can access height without using towers and scaffolding reducing the risks associated with working at height. Airless plastering machines can also be used with a minimal training which is of benefit to companies with a small workforce or skills shortage. The machines are incredibly easy to use, in fact one plasterer commented on it being so simple that it was almost boring and certainly hard to get wrong! The airless plasterers are suitable for jobs in which you have 1000m² plus ahead of you, they’re not really suited to plastering your living room.