The Self Build Self Help Site wall structure

Finishing off internally

Ground floor block walls, and any block walls extending to upper floors, need to be finished to, usually, take a painted finish. The exception may be garage walls where the blocks could be left as the facing structure, to be painted or left as is, in which case they need to be pointed carefully. The two main options for finishing internally are: Both options will be completed with plaster (also known as skim).


This isn't something that can be attempted by an amateur, you need a decent plasterer to get a good finish. The render is basically a sand/cement mixture. It is finished off with a plaster skim.

Points to look out for - a good plasterer should:
  1. make sure all rendering/plastering is smooth and flat - this goes without saying
  2. make sure all plastering is plumb - especially kitchen and utility rooms where wall units will hang. If the walls are not plumb then you will really have trouble getting floor standing full height units plumb
  3. make sure the skim is flush with the door linings so that the architrave goes on flush
  4. make sure the plastering at the bottom of the walls is not belled out otherwise the skirting board will not sit flush and the carpenter will spend time (your money) on chipping away the proud plaster before fixing the skirting.

Many people prefer rendered walls - they leave a solid surface that makes fixing to it easier.

Dry Lining

Although dry lining is easier for the amateur than rendering, it still takes some know-how and a practical bent. As with render, it is essential to leave the plasterboard plumb and flat. There is a technique that involves fixing small pads of plasterboard to the wall first, getting these plumb and then applying the plasterboard against these so that the plasterboard is also left plumb.

The other key aspect for dry lining is to make sure that there are sufficient dabs of plasterboard adhesive where things are to be fixed - such as in kitchens, utility rooms, bathrooms etc. and where radiators are to be fixed.

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