how to smooth walls without plastering

Do You Need To Plaster Over Plasterboard?

If you are putting up a new plasterboard wall then you might be wondering if you do need to plaster over plasterboard? I mean it looks pretty good already, do you need this extra expense?

how to smooth walls without plastering
A plasterboard wall

The answer is no, you don’t need to plaster over plasterboard. You can joint and fill the gaps with filler and then paint the plasterboard.

This leaves a perfectly smooth wall if done correctly that looks just as good as a wall that has been plastered with a skim layer.

This is called drylining and is much more popular over in the states than it is in the UK. I have done it a lot recently when renovating a property and it works really well.

I am no plasterer, so this method saves me from having to get a plasterer in to skim the walls, saving a chunk of money.

Tapered Edge Plasterboard

I have covered this in another article What is tapered edge plasterboard? but I will quickly go over it now.

Tapered edge is designed for this use rather than being skimmed over.

What is tapered edge plasterboard
Tapered Edge Plasterboard

This style of plasterboard has a dip, or taper, on its vertical edges. What this means is that when you put them on a wall together you have a dip where all the joints are.

The idea is you can then easily tape and fill these dips, bringing them up to the same level as the rest of the plasterboard sheet.

So you will get perfect joints without any bumps. Once you have done this and filled over any screw heads you can simply paint the plasterboard. leaving a perfect looking finish.

Painting Straight Onto Plasterboard

Another thing a lot of DIYers get a hangup over is painting straight onto plasterboard. Again I have covered this in another article but I will talk about it here too.

Yes, you can paint straight onto plasterboard. I mean, after all, the surface of plasterboard is just paper, what better surface can you get to paint onto?

One thing I would advise that you do is to use a mist coat before painting the plasterboard.

A mist coat is simply a watered-down coat of emulsion paint. I usually use 2 parts paint to 1 part water.

This mist coat works as a sealer. Covering the plasterboard and stopping future coats of paint from soaking into the surface too much. You only need a single mist coat to help seal up the plasterboard.


So in conclusion, you don’t need to plaster on top of the plasterboard. By using tapered edge plasterboard and then taping and filling the joints you can end up with a really nice finish.

This can then be painted leaving a perfectly smooth wall that looks identical to a plastered wall.

Related Posts

Doing some plasterboarding? You might find these articles interesting.

Sam Wood

Wood by name, wood by nature. I am a fully qualified, time-served, award-winning joiner with an NVQ Level 3 in Carpentry and Joinery as well as an HNC in Construction. Beyond my joinery qualifications, I have also earned a degree in building surveying. I believe these qualifications make me perfectly positioned to provide expert advice on many different areas of DIY as well as share all of the tips I have picked up in over a decade working on building sites!

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