Is plastering a dying trade?

Plasterers have always been in demand. Both homeowners, and property developers have relied on their specific skills. They deliver a high-quality finish on walls and ceilings, which is why they are always needed.

Plastering is a highly skilled trade, and it needs to be done correctly to provide a good finish. As a result, there is no sign that demand is slowing down. Plasterers can earn a good wage (especially on price work), and it is a rewarding career. A plasterer with experience and skills will always be in high demand.

There are 25 million homes in the UK and more than 100,000 new homes being built each year, all of which will need the skills of a plasterer. This is likely to mean that their skills and services are still needed and relied on.

Is plastering a good trade to get into?

is plastering a dying trade

Whether its existing properties, or new homes being built, there are some trades that will always be needed. Much like electricians, plumbers and joiners, homeowners and property developers will always need plasterers. Whether they are looking for skimming, rendering or just boarding and dry lining, a skilled plasterer will always be the best man for the job.

There are millions of homeowners in the UK, and there is also a housing shortage. As a result, property developers are building thousands of homes each year. This translates into high demand for skilled trades such as plasterers. Due to this, there is no shortage of work, all of which makes it a good trade to get into.

Plasterers also earn a good salary, especially those who are skilled and in demand. Following an apprenticeship, plasterers working on the books for a company, will earn on average around £35k/year. Depending on location and skill level, this could be as high as £55k/year.

Self-employed plasterers can earn even more. They will often price jobs based on the size of a room and the work involved. This cost can increase or decrease and will depend on your location, but some average costs are:

  • Small room – £300
  • Ceiling (small room) £200
  • Hallway – £300
  • Hallways, stairs, and landing – £450

Obviously, these numbers are not set in stone and every job will be different, so the prices are just a rough guide.

However, they do show the potential earnings. For example, if a plasterer can finish a small room in one day and they have lots of work on, they can pull in some really good money, even on a standard Mon-Fri working week.

How difficult is plastering?

Plastering is hard work, it is a trade that requires training, learning on the job and experience. It is not a job that you can learn in a matter of hours. If you do try to plaster for the first time, you will soon realise it’s more difficult than it looks.

Of course, a good plasterer will make it look easy, but a highly respected plasterer would have worked hard to perfect their skill. Therefore, if you are interested to learn plastering you should expect to put in the work, to learn the trade.

Plastering relies heavily on technique, as well as the ability to use tools correctly, mix plaster, and understand the different conditions that can impact the final finish. Essentially, it is a highly skilled job that requires patience and time to get right.

If you are keen to get started in plastering, there are several routes that you could take to become a plasterer.

College or training provider

Colleges offer courses that allow you to learn plastering and get the qualifications you will need. These include Level 2 technical certificate in Plastering or Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Plastering. These courses will enable you to apply for jobs working as a plasterer, or you can opt to become self-employed.

There are also short courses that will teach you the basics in a much shorter time. However, these are more suited to someone interested in learning for DIY purposes.

Full apprenticeship (best option)

The most popular route into plastering is a plastering apprenticeship. You will work with a qualified plasterer, working a minimum of 30 hours per week, which will involve learning to plaster on the job as well as spending time in college. The apprentice is essentially a combination of college (mentioned above) and work experience. The college and training will take 2-3 years to complete before you are qualified.

This is the most desirable route to become a qualified plasterer, as you will have both the qualification, and the onsite knowledge an employer will be looking for.

Just learning via work experience

You can also work with a plasterer, or as a plasterer’s labourer. This would enable you to learn plastering on the job, just like an apprentice. There is no reason you couldn’t be as good as someone with a qualification. However, not being officially qualified could hurt your earning potential, especially if you plan to apply for jobs as a plasterer.

Why learning a trade like plastering is a good idea

It has always been said that learning a trade is a good idea, as some trades will always be needed. Plastering is a trade that is in demand, and they will still be needed well into the future.

This means that there will always be work available if you are skilled. However, there are other advantages that come with learning a trade like plastering.

A skill for life

Once you train to become a plasterer and perfect your skill, you will be able to use it throughout your life. Even if you end up in a different career, you will always have a trade to fall back on. This means you have a skill that can earn you money for the rest of your working life.

Be self employed

Some people like the idea of being self-employed. By becoming a plasterer, you will be able to work for yourself, earn more money and be in control of how and when you work.

Earn while you learn

There aren’t many jobs out there that will pay you to learn, but as an apprentice, you will get paid while you learn how to become a plasterer.

Learning to plaster is inexpensive

Going to university can cost tens of thousands of pounds and in the end, you are not guaranteed a job. However, learning a trade via something like a plastering course won’t cost anywhere near as much. In contrast, an apprenticeship won’t cost you anything (the employer pays). In fact, you get paid, as you will be working alongside the course.

Earn a good salary

As plastering is a skill and in demand, you can earn an excellent salary. The salary can vary but you could expect to earn the following:

  • Newly trained plasterers – £19,000 to £25,000
  • Trained plasterers with experience – £25,000 to £35,000
  • Experienced plasterers – £35,000+
  • Self-employed can charge their own rates


Plastering is not a dying trade! Demand is high and is likely to continue growing. The job requires skill and experience and those plasterers that are recommended and highly regarded, will always attract more work.

It is a career that is highly rewarding, but it does require the right training to begin with. Once you qualify and learn the skills, you can either choose to work for a company, or work for yourself, both of which come with many benefits.