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How To Plaster Board A Wall Using The Dot & Dab System, Drylining

Updated on December 4, 2015
Dot and Dabbing Plasterboards
Dot and Dabbing Plasterboards

How To Plasterboard a Wall Using Dot and Dab Method.

This is a simple, yet sometimes messy, method for attaching plasterboard to a wall to create a smooth platform for skimming plaster onto it.

This is usually an inexpensive way to make a tired or damaged wall into a modern and fresh looking wall. Also known as drylining.

NB: This is the simplest way to fix plasterboard with Dot and Dab edited by a professional plasterer.

Tools Required

Most of these tools can already be found in the average home.

Float or trowel, water bucket, mixing bucket, long spirit level, chalk line, tape measure, hop-up / step ladders, Stanley knife, pencil, hammer,

Materials Required

Selected plaster board, plasterboard adhesive, water, angle beads (only if required for external corners)

Step 1, The Background

The background is the wall which the plasterboard will be attached to. If the wall is brick, concrete or block and damp, seal the wall first by brushing on sealant which can be bought in most hardware stores. If it is seriously wet, locate any type of water leak and sort that out first.

Locate the highest point on the wall. This could be a protruding brick or a lintel, or even just a lump of concrete stuck on the wall. If it can be dislodged or removed without further damaging the wall, then do so.

Step 2, Mark The Location Of The Plasterboard

If this cannot be done, then all your measurements will be taken from this point. Using a piece of timber twice as thick as the plasterboard you intend to use, and long enough to reach the floor or the ceiling, hold it vertically on the protruding lump. Place a spirit level on the face of the wood and get it plumb, or level vertically. Once it is plumb, mark the floor or ceiling with a pen or pencil.

Measure from the wall to the mark on the ceiling. Then go further along the wall and mark the same measurement onto the ceiling. Use a chalk line between these two marked points and create a chalk line right across the ceiling.

Use the spirit level and mark down both walls on either side of the wall to be plaster boarded with the chalk line to mark the wall. Again with the chalk line, connect the bottom of both walls along the floor.

This should give a full chalk line a small measurement away from the wall which needs to be plaster boarded.

Step 3, Plasterboard Dot and Dab Adhesive

Mix the plaster board adhesive according to manufacturers instructions. Use the piece of timber as a floor wedge which will keep the plasterboard off of the floor whilst the adhesive is drying. Plasterboard should never be fitted with any part of it touching a floor.

Use the trowel to begin dotting and dabbing the wall. The dabs of adhesive should never be more than 25 mm thick. Each dab should be approximately 250mm in length and 50 mm wide.

Begin by placing dabs on the wall where the plasterboard edges will be placed, but no more than 25 mm from the edge of the plasterboard. There should be a solid line of adhesive where the skirting board will be placed. This will prevent the plasterboard from bending when the skirting is attached.

Add one or two more rows of adhesive in the center of where the board will be.

Step 4, Attach The Plasterboard

Place the plasterboard on the piece of wood on the floor next to the wall. Ensure that the chalk line cannot be seen. Begin to press the plasterboard onto the adhesive, slowly, from the bottom part of the plaster board first. Once the plasterboard is vertical, push the bottom part until it is level with the chalk line on the floor.

Use the spirit level against the plaster board and slowly push it onto the adhesive until the bubble indicates that the board is level. Wipe away any excess adhesive that has oozed from the edge of the plasterboard.

Leave the wood in place on the floor, do not touch the plasterboard. Continue along the wall using the same method until the lower half of the wall is covered in plaster board.

Step 5, Sockets and Switches

Using a pad saw or even a sharp knife, cut out electric sockets and light switches as shown in the pictures on the right. When attaching the Dot and Dab plaster boards, ensure that more adhesive is around the sockets.

This will help secure it for a long time with no possibility of bending the plasterboard when pulling out the plugs.

Step 6, Top Of The Wall Dot & Dab

How to plaster board the top of the wall is the same method as the bottom was. Cut the plasterboard to size and this time, place the plasterboard onto the top edge of the plasterboard attached to the bottom of the wall.

Whilst pushing the plasterboard onto the adhesive, use the spirit level to ensure that both top and bottom pieces of plasterboard are evenly level.

Continue across the wall until the end of the wall. Leave 24 hours for the plasterboard adhesive to set fully before attempting to skim the wall with finishing plaster.


If you have any questions regarding how to plasterboard a wall using the Dot and Dab system, or need any other advice, please send it through the comment box below and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Please include an email address which will not be published.


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      6 years ago

      Hi, I have an old build house (1920s) The construction is standard brick wall. I think there is some damp so want to hack off render and plaster and renew. Can I simply Dot and Dab onto the bare brick wall after sealing or do I need any type of rendering before Dot n Dab. I'm choosing this method due to a shoestring budget. Many thanks .. (


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