Plastering: - Glossary of terms
Plastering, perhaps more than any trade is seen as a dark art. How can a liquid stick to a wall? How can you create a finish as smooth as silk from what is, in effect, stone.
We haven’t the space here to turn you from apprentice to sorcerer but the following glossary should at least enable you to converse with the experts.
 Skim Coat

  • The final coat of plaster onto which any painting or decoration is done.
  • Usually dries light pink, almost white.
  • Applied to bonding plaster or to plasterboard.
  • A 4 to 6 stage process to achieve a smooth finish.

Bonding Plaster

  • Used to build out walls and holes to create flat even surface to apply finishing plaster (Skim coat).
  • Usually applied to brick walls or lath to a depth of 10 – 12mm.
  • Will be "keyed" prior to application of Skim coat.


  • An inner layer of plaster (Gypsum) sandwiched between lining paper.
  • The modern equivalent of lath and plaster.
  • Good for fire protection but in a wet environment (Kitchens & Bathrooms) a moisture resistant plasterboard should be used.
  • Can be Ames taped or plastered (Skim coated) to achieve desired finish.

Ames Taping

  • Taping of the joints where plasterboard sheets meet (either in walls or ceilings).
  • Process involves applying a tape to the joint, followed by a jointing compound (Filler) which is then sanded back for a smooth finish.

Dry Lining

  • Fitting of plasterboard (or other equivalent) over a framework to cover a background wall.
  • Plasterboard can then be Ames taped or Skim Coated ready for decoration.


  • Similar to bonding plaster but used on more permeable surfaces.
  • Best left to the experts to decide what to use

Lath and Plaster

  • Lathe is a timber or metal frame onto which a bonding plaster is applied.
  • A traditional method of plastering offering good insulation properties (heat and sound). Expensive

Plaster on hard

  • Plastering directly onto brick or stone.
  • Bonding coat will be applied first perhaps followed by a scratch coat and a final skim coat.

Dotting and Dabbing (Dot 'n' Dab)

  • Affixing plasterboard to stone or brick walls by means of plasterboard adhesive rather than a stud frame.
  • More suitable to interior walls it does not give a barrier to damp.

More information?

HomeForce: here to help

If you require the services of a skilled and experienced plasterer to skim a wall, fit a cornice or repair a water-damaged ceiling then we are here to help.

To arrange for a HomeForce Edinburgh plasterer to contact you call 0131 315 0000, complete the request a visit form on this website or send us an email