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Why is Plastering So Expensive in Auckland? The Breakdown of Costs and Considerations

Skilled Labour Requirements: The Artistry Behind Plastering

Behind every beautifully plastered wall or ceiling in Auckland is the talent, dedication, and expertise of a skilled tradesperson. Understanding the value they bring is essential when grappling with the costs associated with plastering. Here’s an exploration into the nuances of the skilled labour that contribute to the price:

  • Experience Matters: Plastering is an art as much as it is a skill. Achieving a flawless finish or a specific texture requires years of experience. Skilled plasterers in places like Ponsonby or Grey Lynn, where historic homes demand a meticulous touch, often command a premium for their seasoned expertise.
  • Specialisation: Not all plastering jobs are the same. There are exterior and interior plasterers, and within those categories, there are further specialisations such as ornamental plastering or restoration plastering. Some homes, especially the heritage ones in Mount Eden, might require a plasterer who specialises in restoration work. Such niche expertise comes with its own price tag.
  • Continuous Training: The construction industry is ever-evolving, with new techniques, materials, and tools constantly emerging. Top plasterers regularly undergo training to stay updated, ensuring they can provide the best service using the latest methods. This continuous learning, while beneficial for the homeowner, is a factor in labour costs.
  • Equipment Handling: Modern plastering often requires the use of advanced machinery, especially for larger projects or special finishes. Handling such equipment requires additional training and expertise, and this specialist knowledge is reflected in labour charges.
  • Health and Safety Protocols: Auckland, like the rest of New Zealand, has stringent health and safety standards, especially in construction-related trades. Ensuring a workspace is safe, both for the tradespeople and the homeowners, takes time and effort. Meeting these standards is crucial and adds to the overall labour cost.
  • Attention to Detail: It’s the minute details that make a plastering job stand out. The precision required to ensure no bubbles, even textures, and sharp corners demands focus and time. Quality results can’t be rushed, and this meticulous attention is a valuable component of the cost.
  • Problem-solving on the Go: No two projects are identical, and unforeseen challenges often arise, especially in older Auckland homes with unique quirks. A skilled plasterer’s ability to adapt, innovate, and problem-solve on-site is an invaluable asset.

So plastering is not a mere task but a crafted skill. The hands that smooth the plaster, shape the textures, and ensure durability are those of artists in their own right. While it might seem like a significant investment, paying for skilled labour ensures a lasting, beautiful result that enhances the value and appeal of any Auckland home.


Material Costs: More Than Just Plaster

Delving into the plastering world, one quickly realises that material cost isn’t just about buying a bag of plaster. The nuances of Auckland’s varied architectural styles, combined with the city’s unique climatic conditions, mean that different projects will have varying requirements. Here’s a deeper look into what drives up these costs:

  • Type of Plaster: There’s a myriad of plaster types available, from traditional lime plaster to modern gypsum-based options. Some projects, especially heritage homes in suburbs like Remuera, may require more traditional materials, which can be pricier due to their special handling and application methods.
  • Additives and Treatments: Depending on the environment and desired finish, plasterers might mix additives with the primary material. These can range from water repellents, especially vital for homes close to Auckland’s coastlines like Mission Bay, to bonding agents that ensure better adherence. While these enhance the plaster’s quality and durability, they also add to the cost.
  • Finish & Textures: A plain finish is typically cheaper than decorative finishes or special textures. If you’re looking for a Venetian plaster finish or a specific texture to match the aesthetic of your Auckland villa, expect the cost to reflect that detail and intricacy.
  • Protective Coatings: After plastering, protective coatings or sealants might be applied to protect the plaster from moisture, UV rays, or wear and tear. These coatings, especially the high-quality ones, are an additional material cost.
  • Waste Management: While this might not come to mind immediately, disposing of excess plaster and associated waste responsibly comes at a cost. Given Auckland’s emphasis on sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices, ensuring waste is handled correctly is crucial.
  • Transportation: Some materials, especially specialised plasters or imported additives, may need to be sourced from outside Auckland or even overseas. The transportation of these materials, ensuring they arrive in perfect condition, contributes to the overall cost.

In essence, the materials for plastering aren’t just about the plaster itself but encompass a holistic approach to ensure longevity, aesthetic appeal, and the preservation of Auckland’s varied and unique architectural heritage. Investing in quality materials upfront can save significant costs in maintenance and repairs in the long run.


Specialised Equipment: Behind the Perfect Plastering Finish

In the evolving world of plastering, reliance on advanced tools and machinery is on the rise. These specialised equipment pieces ensure precision, efficiency, and the highest quality finishes, and contribute significantly to the costs of plastering. Let’s delve deeper into the world of plastering equipment and understand why they’re essential:

  • Mixing Machines: Gone are the days of manual mixing. Today’s advanced mixers ensure a consistent mix of plaster, which is critical for achieving an even application. Machines like these can handle various types of plaster and can mix them to the perfect consistency, ensuring a better bond and smoother finish.
  • Plastering Machines: Especially relevant for larger projects or commercial spaces in areas like Manukau or Albany, plastering machines can spray plaster onto a surface much more rapidly than hand application. These machines ensure an even coat and reduce waste, but they also require expertise to operate efficiently.
  • Trowel Machines: For vast areas like commercial spaces, trowel machines (or power trowels) can smooth out plaster or concrete at a much faster rate than manual trowelling. These machines are costly but deliver speed and a consistent, high-quality finish.
  • Laser Levels: Precision is paramount in plastering. Laser levels allow plasterers to ensure a perfectly level and straight finish, especially vital when working on decorative or feature walls.
  • Scaffolding and Platforms: Safety first! Especially for multi-storey homes in Auckland’s hilly suburbs like Titirangi, the right scaffolding or elevated work platforms are needed to access high areas safely. These platforms are not only essential for safety but also allow plasterers to work comfortably, ensuring a better finish.
  • Dust Extraction Systems: Plastering can be a messy job. Dust extraction systems are used to keep the environment dust-free, crucial for achieving a clean finish and ensuring the health and safety of the workers and residents.
  • Specialised Finishing Tools: Different finishes, from Venetian to stucco, require their own set of specialised trowels or brushes. These tools, crafted from high-quality materials, can be costly, but they’re essential for achieving specific textures or patterns.
  • Drying Equipment: Auckland’s unpredictable weather can sometimes play havoc with drying times. Specialised fans or heaters are used to ensure plaster dries evenly and within the required time frame, particularly critical when multiple coats are needed or when working to a tight schedule.

Incorporating these specialised tools and machines isn’t just about speeding up the plastering process; it’s about ensuring precision, consistency, and the highest quality finish. While they add to the overall cost of a plastering job, their importance in achieving a standout result cannot be underestimated.



Time-Intensive Process
Plastering is not a process to be rushed. Achieving a polished, perfect finish takes time, especially if the surface needs multiple coats. Each layer must dry properly before the next is applied. So, when you’re paying for plastering, remember, you’re not just paying for the materials or the labour – you’re paying for the patience.

Health and Safety Protocols
The construction industry, including plastering, is guided by strict health and safety regulations. When plastering, especially in older Auckland homes that might have issues like asbestos, professionals need to take precautionary measures. These measures, while ensuring the safety of both the worker and homeowner, can add to the project’s cost.

Unpredictable Challenges
Every plastering job is unique. While plastering a new-build in a suburb like Albany might be straightforward, older homes in Mt. Eden might reveal unexpected challenges once work begins. These can include uneven surfaces, hidden damage, or even mould. Addressing these issues is crucial to achieve a flawless finish, but it also means more time and resources, hence higher costs.

Longevity and Quality
It’s essential to remember that when you invest in professional plastering, you’re not just paying for the materials or labour – you’re paying for the years of durability and quality. A well-plastered wall can last for decades without needing significant touch-ups, which offers value for money in the long run.

Ensuring Cost-Effectiveness
While plastering can be expensive, there are ways to ensure you’re getting good value:

  • Get Multiple Quotes: Before settling on a contractor, get a few quotes to gauge the market rate.
  • Understand the Scope: Ensure you’re clear about what’s included in the quote. Will they prepare the surface? Is cleaning up included?
  • Ask About Materials: Sometimes, choosing a slightly more expensive material can save money in the long term due to reduced maintenance.

Finally, while cost is a crucial factor, it shouldn’t be the only one. The cheapest quote isn’t always the best. Instead, focus on expertise and experience. This is where engaging a reputable team, like Your Plasterers Auckland, can make all the difference. By understanding what goes into the plastering process, you can better appreciate why it carries the price tag it does. Remember, quality plastering isn’t just about aesthetics – it’s about ensuring the longevity and durability of your walls and ceilings.



Frequently Asked Questions on Plastering Costs and Considerations

Why does plastering in certain Auckland suburbs, like Manukau or Titirangi, seem pricier than others?

    • The costs can vary due to several factors, including the age and condition of the homes, access difficulties due to hilly terrains, or specific heritage-related requirements that necessitate specialised techniques or materials.

Does using modern equipment like plastering machines or laser levels actually result in a better finish?

    • Yes, modern equipment ensures precision, efficiency, and consistency. For instance, laser levels guarantee perfectly straight and level finishes, while plastering machines can provide an even coat over large areas, ensuring both aesthetics and durability.

Is there a significant difference in cost between hand-mixed and machine-mixed plaster?

    • While machine-mixed plaster might seem more expensive initially due to equipment costs, it offers a consistent mix that can lead to better bonding and a smoother finish. This consistency can reduce wastage and potential redo’s, possibly leading to long-term savings.

How do health and safety standards impact the cost of a plastering job in Auckland?

    • New Zealand, including Auckland, has stringent health and safety guidelines. Adhering to these standards might require additional equipment, training, or time, ensuring that both workers and homeowners are safe. These precautions, while vital, can add to the overall cost of the project.

With advancements in technology, will the cost of plastering decrease in the future?

    • While technological advancements can increase efficiency, the artistry and skill required for plastering remain constant. However, as tools and equipment become more widely adopted, there might be some cost reductions. Still, the value of skilled labour, expertise, and the quality of materials will always play a significant role in determining costs.



Key Takeaways

  1. Skilled Labour and Expertise: The art of plastering is intricate and demands a high level of craftsmanship. Skilled exterior solid wall plasterers, with their invaluable expertise, ensure a top-notch finish but command a premium for their services.
  2. Specialised Equipment Matters: Modern plastering techniques are reliant on advanced machinery, from mixing machines to laser levels, which while increasing precision and efficiency, also add to the overall project cost.
  3. Material Costs: High-quality materials are essential for a lasting and beautiful finish. The plaster’s quality, additives, and other materials involved can significantly influence the overall expense.
  4. Location Specifics: The costs can vary across Auckland suburbs, with factors like terrain, age of homes, and specific local requirements playing a role in pricing.
  5. Health and Safety: Adhering to New Zealand’s stringent health and safety standards is non-negotiable and can necessitate additional equipment or precautions, subsequently impacting the project’s price.



  1. Auckland Council. (2020). Building and construction guidelines: Plastering and finishings.
  2. New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). (2019). National Certificate in Plastering.
  3. Master Plasterers Association of Auckland. (2021). Industry standards and best practices for plastering.
  4. Jones, M. (2018). Plastering in New Zealand: An overview. Building and Construction Journal, 12(3), 45-49.
  5. Smith, L. (2020). The cost of craftsmanship: An insight into Auckland’s plastering industry. Auckland Business Review, 15(2), 78-83.
  6. WorkSafe New Zealand. (2019). Health and Safety Guidelines: Plastering and related trades.
  7. Taylor, R. (2017). The evolution of plastering tools and techniques. New Zealand Historic Building Journal, 9(1), 5-11.