Perhaps you’ve been staring at your crumbling walls for some time now, and there’s hardly any doubt they need a repair. But before you break out the trowels, you need to choose what wall plastering method to use. Should you trick with tradition or go old school? Indeed, it’s a tough call, especially when considering an HDB renovation. From traditional plaster to the latest plastering techniques and materials, Singapore has it all. But how to update your walls without breaking the bank? Here’s a deep dive into the wall plastering methods in Singapore:

Traditional Plastering Methods in Singapore

Traditional plastering in Singapore has a long history, which is more evident during the colonial period. It reiterates the broader Southern Asian method of using natural materials for construction and involves applying multiple layers of lime putty by hand.

Skilled plasterers would mix lime, water, and adhesive to create a compound for layering onto walls with large trowels. Each layer of plaster had to be left to dry for days before the next application. This meticulous process usually took weeks or even months to complete but resulted in beautifully smooth walls.

Did you know that plastering in Singapore was largely dependent on weather conditions? Still, traditional plastering using natural lime putty and manual techniques produced solid, breathable walls with an Old World charm. Many historic buildings in Singapore still feature original lime plaster walls, a testament to the durability and quality of traditional methods.

Arguably, modern methods can barely achieve the same old-time, authentic look. However, as Singapore developed, the need for efficiency led to the adoption of faster plastering techniques using gypsum and drywall. Though not as picturesque, these modern methods are more practical for most residential and commercial buildings today.

Modern Plastering Techniques

While traditional ways produce smooth and beautiful results, modern alternatives save time and money. Those reasons make many Singaporean homeowners and contractors opt for drywall installation instead of wet plaster. Here are the most popular methods professional plastering services in Singapore use:

Drywall

Drywall is a standard technique of plastering walls with prefabricated sheets of gypsum plaster in between thick paper. The installation involves attaching the drywall over wall studs and then finishing with joint compound and paint. This method is quicker, cleaner, and less labour-intensive than wet plaster. However, drywall may not provide the same level of soundproofing or durability. It can also be more difficult to achieve a perfectly smooth finish.

Spray-On Plaster

Spray-on plaster, or plaster spray, is applied with a hopper gun and sprayed onto walls in an even coat. This technique requires less skilled labour and dries much faster than traditional plaster. However, it may result in an uneven finish and doesn’t work well for ornate designs. It also produces a lot of dust and waste. For these reasons, spray-on plaster is often only used on ceilings or rough coatings under tile.

Plasterboard

Plasterboard or drywall board is a large panel made of compressed gypsum plaster. Usually, it serves as a base for painting or wallpapering because it’s easy to install. However, it is considerably less durable than concrete or brick. Besides, contractors often need to do extra finishing to make the joints and seams appear seamless.

Benefits of New Plastering Materials and Methods

While traditional lime plaster still has its place for historical restoration projects or achieving an old-world look, newer wall plasters and methods are much more preferable. In fact, they present several advantages over old-school wall plastering:

Improved Durability

New polymer-modified plasters and acrylic plasters are more durable and impact-resistant. They can better withstand cracking from structural movement or temperature changes. These plasters also provide improved water resistance, protecting walls from moisture damage.

Reduced Timeframes

Pre-mixed plasters and spray-on plasters can significantly reduce application times. There’s no need to mix materials on-site or apply multiple coats. With some products, walls can be plastered and painted in a single day. This can minimise disruption for homeowners during renovations or new construction.

DIY-Friendly

Many modern plasters come in pre-mixed in ready-to-use tubs that you can apply directly. Usually, they only require a trowel or paint roller and are suitable for DIYers. In other words, you’ll enjoy minimal mess and cleanup with straightforward painting for optimal results.

Customised Finishes

Modern plasters provide more options for surface finishes beyond a simple, smooth finish. You can achieve rustic, textured looks with spray-on plasters or create custom finishes using stencils or rollers. Some plasters can even be tinted to specific colours, allowing you to skip the painting step altogether.

How Singapore’s Climate Affects Plaster Choice

Singapore’s hot and humid tropical climate is the leading factor when choosing plaster. Typically, façades endure constant heat and moisture, causing quick degradation of non-resistant materials.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s coastal location exposes buildings to extreme weather like heavy rains, intense storms, and rising sea levels. All these factors affect the longevity and performance of exterior plasters. For this reason, professional wall plastering services in Singapore adhere to three essential principles when choosing plaster:

Balance Between Plasters

Traditional plasters like lime and cement are porous and breathable. Usually, this feature allows moisture to pass through more easily. However, they are prone to weathering and erosion in tropical climates, which makes them highly inefficient.

Instead of them, many people utilise modern acrylic or polymer-based plasters. While they are less breathable, they are more durable and water-resistant. Using them in hot, humid weather can lead to blistering or peeling as moisture gets trapped behind the plaster.

Microclimate Matters

A balance needs to be struck based on the specific microclimate around the building. South-facing façades receive more sun, so they may benefit from acrylic plasters, while east or west-facing walls could use traditional plasters. Ventilation and insulation also play a role.

Proper Surface Preparation Is Crucial

Proper surface preparation and application are key. Plaster must be applied smoothly and evenly with an appropriate primer. Regular inspections should check for any cracks, peeling or blistering and repairs made quickly. Using lighter colours will also help reflect more of the sun’s heat and UV radiation.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, traditional plastering methods have stood the test of time. But while they boast unmatched aesthetics, modern alternatives are durable and efficient. Either way, what matters is to get the job done right. For this reason, the real task is to find the best wall plastering contractor in your area. Choosing the right plasterer will ensure good prep and an expert hand to help you create a space that feels like you.