In this guide we’ll look at the best plastering trowel.
We’ve compared build quality, performance, design and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Are The Best Plastering Trowels?
More Detailed Plastering Trowel Reviews
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Marshalltown MPB145GSD 14x5" Gold Stainless Steel Plasterers Trowel Review
We consider the Marshalltown MPB145GSD 14″x 5″ Gold Stainless Steel Plasterers Trowel the best plastering trowel for professional use.
Marshalltown trowels are highly recommended by professionals and an excellent choice for superior quality finishes.
This particular plasterers trowel is constructed from high quality hardened and tempered golden stainless steel.
It makes getting that perfect finish easier as it is pre-worn and has bevelled work edges to prevent surface popping and eliminate line and ripple marks that can come with brand new trowels.
The trowel also features a light but strong Xtralite aluminium alloy mounting, making it light to use yet sturdy enough to withstand the pressure of hand trowelling.
The DuraSoft handle offers excellent robustness yet provides a soft feel to reduce fatigue if used for long periods.
This stainless steel trowel is one of the best plasterers trowels on the UK market and is built to last for many years.
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Nela Flex II 16 Trowel Gold Edition Review
The aluminium alloy mounting is attached to the blade with high-quality stainless bolts for added durability.
The trowel features lightly rounded edges and versatile double blade technology with a high-strength bond between both blades to ensure great flexibility and burr-free fillings. After a little wearing in this plastering trowel produces great results and is light and comfortable to use, thanks to the Biko Cork Grip handle.
This plasterers trowel makes a great choice for all-round plastering and achieving professional results.
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Refina Plaziflex 20" Plastic Skimming Trowel Review
This plastic plastering trowel is lightweight and easy to use as it requires less pressure than a stainless steel trowel.
With this flexible plastering trowel there is flexibility across the blade and rigidity along its length allows you to create an excellent finish on the final skim coat.
The finishing trowel body features an alloy shank, a large surface area, and a soft handle that slots easily into a replaceable plastic blade.
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OX Pro 14" Ultra Flex Finishing Trowel Review
The Ox Pro Ultra Flex Finishing Trowel features a 0.3 mm flexible stainless steel blade, twin blade technology and a soft grip handle.
The trowel can be used to apply plaster and concrete and does a great job on finishing coats, smoothing to a professional finish with relative ease.
The flexi plastering trowel can be used straight from the box with no need for wearing in. However you can rub very fine sandpaper over the edges to ensure the edge of the blade doesn’t take nicks out of the plaster.
The trowel is lightweight and has an ergonomic soft grip handle making it very comfortable to use.
This is a quality stainless steel trowel, robust, yet light and flexible and offers good value for money.
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Spear & Jackson 13" Stainless Steel Plastering Trowel Review
The Spear & Jackson 13″ Stainless Steel Plastering Trowel is an ideal occasional use trowel. This is a small plastering trowel that offers a good quality blade at a very reasonable price.
The trowel features a polished and lacquered 13″stainless steel blade. The soft grip handle has an ergonomic shape and is comfortable to use. The trowel feels light yet sturdy and has a reasonable amount of flexibility.
As far as cheap plastering tools go, this is an ideal plastering trowel for occasional work, patching or when superfine finishes are not required.
Traditionally plastering trowels have a flexible stainless steel blade which is attached to a base plate and a handle that can be make of wood or plastic. These are ergonomically designed to make them comfortable to use. Many plastic handled trowels have a soft grip finish making them grippy and extra comfortable.
Recent innovations have brought plastic plastering trowels to the market. These are excellent for finishing as they are very light and flexible. They also have replaceable blades.
Plasterer’s trowels are available in a wide range of sizes from 12” to 20”. Larger trowels are great for getting lots of plaster on the walls quickly, however, they can be heavy and harder to handle, requiring a lot of strength to use. For smaller areas or detailed work then a smaller trowel would be preferable.
Most trowels have rounded edges as this prevent the sharp blade from nicking the plaster. Often plasterer’s trowels come pre-worn which means the edge has been sanded and rounded. However, it may still be necessary to wear the trowel in before it is used for finishing.
How do I use a plastering trowel to plaster a wall?
Firstly, you should ensure all the tools you use are spotlessly clean as any trace of dirt, grit or old plaster will ruin the finish of your wall.
Protect the surrounding areas with dust sheets.
Repair any large cracks.
Clean the wall you are plastering to remove any dust or loose debris. Begin by brushing the wall with a stiff brush and then wipe down with a damp cloth.
Prepare the wall with PVA glue. Mix the PVA one part glue to four parts water and brush or roll this onto the wall.
Once the glue is tacky you can begin to plaster.
Fill a large bucket to the halfway mark with cool, clean water. Pour the plaster into the water and mix. Stir the plaster continuously until it thickens and is smooth and free of lumps. Once the stirrer can stand up on its own in the plaster you have reached the right level of consistency.
Heap plenty of the plaster onto your hawk. Slide the flat edge of the trowel under one end of the plaster and pick up enough plaster to complete a strip from floor to ceiling. Make sure the plaster is sitting in the centre of the trowel.
Hold the trowel at a slight angle to prevent it sucking the plaster back off the wall. Now, starting in the bottom corner, smear the plaster across the wall. You are aiming for a layer of about 1/2″, but you don’t need to apply it precisely at this point as you will be smoothing it down later.
Once you reach the top of the wall slide the trowel along about 2-3 inches and then bring it back down the wall. Continue this process refilling the hawk as necessary and scooping up the plaster into the trowel until the wall is covered.
Once the plaster is in place, you are ready to smooth it. If the plaster has already begun to dry you might need to spray it with clean water to wet it again. Now clear and clean your trowel and run it over the wall in all directions, applying a consistent amount of pressure. Focus on any spots where the plaster is thicker.
Once you have an even first coat you should lightly rake the wall with a notched trowel to give the next layer something to adhere to.
The final layer of plaster, called the skim coat, should be applied in the same way except you are aiming for a depth of around 2 mm.
How do you break in a plasterer’s trowel?
Opinions vary on how to break in a plastering trowel. Common methods include 20 minutes on an oilstone or sanding it with an orbital sander. Using your trowel to work with concrete will also wear it in.
What makes a good plastering trowel?
A good plastering trowel will have a strong yet flexible blade that will stand up to wear and tear and hold its shape. If you have a lot of plastering to do, then it is worth investing in a professional quality trowel. This will make the job easier and ensure you get a better finish. However, for small patching jobs, or areas where the finish is not so essential, then a cheaper trowel will suffice.
If you are only using your trowel occasionally then it will be prone to rust between uses. A stainless steel blade will not rust so is an excellent choice.
However, stainless steel blades do tend to lose their shape over time. The is where it is worth investing in the best quality possible. For example, the Marshalltown Gold Stainless Steel Permashape Trowels will hold their shape and not distort or bend.
When applying a first coat the finish is not important so most trowels will do the job. However, the finishing coat will need to be perfectly smooth and you cannot achieve this without a trowel that is perfectly flat, clean, smooth and free from nicks.
What size plastering trowel should I buy?
The size of your trowel is a key factor when considering which one to buy. Professionals tend to use a larger trowel when they have large areas to cover as they get the plaster onto the walls more quickly. However, beginners may find a larger trowel difficult to handle. It also requires considerable strength to apply enough pressure to apply the plaster securely to the wall and that can be difficult to achieve with a large trowel. A smaller trowel will give you better control over the process and takes less strength to use.
You can, of course, buy more than one plastering trowel if you have a lot of work to do and have some experience. You might choose an 18” trowel to get the plaster on the wall and a smaller one for finishing. However, if you just want to buy one plastering trowel, a 14” trowel provides the best balance of efficiency and ease of use.
If you are choosing a plastic trowel, then you might want to go for a slightly larger size as it is lighter in weight. Plastic bladed trowels also make working on curved surfaces easier, so this something to consider if you are plastering anything other than a flat level surface.