How to Remove Plaster from Walls

Whether you're renovating, trying to expose some original brickwork, damp-proofing your walls, or getting rid of damaged plaster to start afresh, removing the old plaster is crucial.

You may even want to remove old plaster yourself before getting a professional plasterer, which could save you some money in labour and day rate fees.

It is a messy job, so preparation is vital. Allow yourself a full day per room and ensure anything you can't remove from the room is covered with dust sheets and masking tape to keep it secure.


You will need:

You will also need to wear PPE. A dust mask, eye protection, ear protection, gloves and work boots will all be required for this one. You should also cover all skin and attach a dust extraction unit to your hammer drill.

When cleaning any remaining dust, a professional-standard vacuum cleaner will be needed to remove the debris. You don't want to damage a standard household vacuum cleaner.

Thankfully, the tools and equipment needed for this job can all be hired from Speedy Hire, and you can also purchase your PPE and consumables at the same time.




How to remove old plaster

You will first want to remove everything from your room. Anything which can't be removed, such as carpet or furniture, should be covered with dust sheets. You will need enough room to work, and try to keep doors closed so the dust doesn't spread further around your house.

If the doors don't offer a completely airtight seal, you will also want to cover the doors with tape and dust sheets.


  1. Check for cables

Usually, cables will be in metal trunking, but they are generally embedded in the plaster rather than the brick wall. Areas around switches and wall lights usually have vertical wires leading to them, and there may be pipework around radiators.

Use your cable detector, and a marker pen to heavily mark the areas where wires and pipes are present. This plaster will go anyway, so don't worry about it looking unsightly. You want to still be able to see the marks through the dust.


  1. Set up the dust extraction

A unit that attaches to your drill via a suction casing will be the ideal solution. Most of these also have separate vacuum attachments for manual cleanup. Just keep an eye on the bag and filter for when these need replacing.

For added protection, an air cleaner can filter out any dust that becomes airborne.

Speak to your local depot for advice on the best setup for your needs.


  1. Start chiselling

Some tips when chiselling away the plaster. Firstly, try to get a good feel for the drill and its impact. It can have a substantial impact, especially if this is the first time you've used a tool like this. You don't want to cause damage.

Aim the chisel at a 45-degree angle to the wall. This way, the impact is less likely to affect the brickwork below the plaster, and it will offer easier control.

Start a few inches above the skirting boards, working along the wall. Once done, you want to start at the top and work down. This way, the debris from the top of the wall won't get in the way of removing the plaster near the skirting board.

Try to remove all traces of plaster as you go along. Remember to avoid the areas marked as pipe work.


  1. Remove plaster over piping

Use a manual hammer and chisel to remove any plaster around the pipework. While it should be in casing anyway, it can be unpredictable in older housing. Be gentle and work in small sections to avoid damaging the wiring.

If you're getting in a professional, they may be able to sort this out if you're not confident.


  1. Finish the wall

However you want to finish the wall, you must remove any remaining old plaster dust. Use a wire brush to remove the debris before the next stage.

This can be plastering, plaster boarding, or even sealing the brick to leave it bare.



You'll find all the power tools and hire equipment you need here. Why not start planning your next DIY project and open a Speedy account online or on the app for all your tool hire needs?

Speedy has more than 200 local service centres nationwide, hire counters in selected B&Qs and nationwide 4-hour delivery. It has never been easier to hire the tools and equipment you need.


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