Plastering Levels of Finish

Painting a room is just the first step in beautifying it. The second step requires careful consideration:  the level of finish. One thing to consider is whether property owners are ok with some imperfections still visible on the paintwork or not.

Use our guide to the different levels of finish available when installing and stopping (plastering) plasterboard.

Level 4:

  • is the New Zealand default standard of finish unless specified otherwise.
  • is the most common finish specified in residential home construction.
  • is used where non-critical lighting falls on gloss, satin, flat or low sheen paints or wallpaper.

Level 5:

  • is typically for use where gloss, semi-gloss or dark tone paints are specified
  • is used when critical lighting conditions occur on high-gloss, satin, flat matte or low sheen paints.

Should you choose level 4 or level 5 finish? What is the difference?

  • The key difference between levels 4 and 5 is that level 5 requires the entire surface
    of the wall or ceiling to be covered in a thin layer of a special compound called a ‘skim coat’, to remove surface textures and porosity.
  • Level 5 helps to conceal joints and fix points with a more even texture. Stricter framing and installation requirements are needed to ensure a level 5 finish is achieved.
  • Due care and thought should be considered in the lighting design and layout as this can greatly affect any level of finish.
  • The skim coating process for a level 5 finish can add extra labour costs for extensive labour time and material.

Level 5 plastering finish – details and tips

  • Level 5 should be specified at the planning stage to ensure building tolerances are met in the sub-straight/framing.
  • Level 5 is difficult to achieve and always requires the cooperation of the architects and designers, builders and framers, plasterboard fixers and installers, and plasterers and painters to achieve a suitable standard of finish for the given project. Some minor imperfections may still be visible in a level 5 finish.

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