Paint and Plaster: Tips for Handling Painting and Spachtel

There are times when you decide to invest a nice chunk of money in renovating the whole apartment. And there are times when it is necessary to fix something small. It could be that you will get the urge to paint the walls or ceiling, for the sake of variety. Color is something which can breathe new life into a plain, well-known apartment, and it can also boost the quality of life and the quality of the environment within the house. Simple corrections with plaster and paint usually don’t necessitate calling a professional. While it is true that a professional will be able to get the job done with greater ease and precision, there is no reason why you won’t be able to handle the smaller fixes.

What is Spachtel?

The trowel-like tool used to apply plaster

In Israel, the process of applying plaster is also known as spachtel. This comes from the original German, and the meaning of the word is “spatula”. It refers to the shape of the trowel-like tool which is often used to apply and consequently smooth the plaster on the wall.

In order to get new plaster onto the wall, you will need a plaster-based cement-like substance, a bowl, a mixing spoon, and an actual spachtel. The mainstream plaster-based substances are ones which are easy to work with, and they can be kept for a long period of time in a dry place. It is recommended to store the cement inside a bag, in order to prevent moisture from entering and ruining the batch.

To make plaster, mix cement and water gradually, until you are left with a paste which you can work with. It should be solid, but not hard. Mix well. There should be no trace of powder in the mix. The plaster should have smooth and unified texture. The texture of the plaster is debatable, but you should aim for a paste which you can work with and which will dry easily. The more water there is in the mix, the longer it will take to dry.

Once the plaster is ready, take some with your trowel and place it on the wall. Smooth it out. If your trowel is too large, simply use a knife or spoon. Any tool which will accomplish the job is fine. Plaster dries relatively slowly, and you can continue to work with it while it is drying. The drying time differs according to the amount which was used. The rule of thumb regarding dry plaster is this: you know it is dry when its color changes from dark to light. Once dried, take some light sandpaper and smooth out the surface of the wall. Once it is even, it is ready to be painted.

What is American Spachtel?

Joint compound

American spachtel is the name given to the substance known as “joint compound”. It is a flexible, pasty material, and it is used to fix and smooth out walls of all kinds. The main difference between the plaster and the American spachtel is that the American stuff is ready to use, while the plaster needs to be prepared. There are other differences, but they are both used for the same type of repairs. Like the plaster, it is a substance used to smooth and prepare the walls for painting. It is a substance created originally for drywalls, but it will work on cement and brick walls as well.


There are many controversies regarding painting. Personally, I love painting. I don’t handle that many DIY projects too well. But when it comes to painting, I know how to handle myself. I love the entire process. Covering up different marks, cleaning the walls, and preparing the actual paint itself. Using a roller is something I particularly love. Using a brush is good for corners and posts, and the roller will be able to deliver on the rest of the wall. Something about using a roller is very calming to me.

Types of Paint

Types of paint

Not every paint is fit for any wall or room. Some paints are much more suited for external painting, for instance. This is a very simplistic division of different types of paint:

Acrylic – this is a paint which allows moisture and wetness to evaporate. It is a fast-drying paint, which is also highly resistant. For bathrooms and showers, there are anti-fungal anti-bacterial acrylic paints.

Within the world of acrylic paints, there are paints for internal and external painting. The main difference between them is the amount of acrylic polymer which is inside the paint. It is this polymer which thins out the paint, and makes it more or less suitable for painting outside.

Whitewash  – this is a type of paint which is seen less and less nowadays. It has a few advantages, but its drawbacks are making it less popular. It is a cheap substance which was once used a lot more. Whitewash is still heavily popular with contractors, for instance, or others who are interested in providing a white coat of paint without investing too much.

There is a way to paint an acrylic paint over whitewash, but it calls for a bonding paint which will act as a kind of middle-man between the whitewash and acrylic paint.

Thin paint – Thinned out paint is very popular when painting the outer walls of a house. These types of paints are made to withstand damage caused by the elements and the environment, and they can last a long time without any maintenance. On the other hand, they are less convenient to work with, and they cause more harm to the environment. All of those fumes eventually end up being part of our habitat.

Silicone emulsion – water-thinned silicone. Apparently you can paint with it! Many choose to use this type of paint on wet wells, aka walls surrounding bathrooms and toilets. TIP – silicone paint belongs on a wall, not on china or marble. If you attempt to use silicone on ceramic tiles, for instance, it will not take.

Tips for When You Paint

  • Keep the paint from dripping

    Remember it is best to apply at least two coats of paint, in order to reach a proper finish and unified texture.

  • Remember to cover objects and furniture, and to place newspaper or cardboard on the floor, to keep the paint from dripping.
  • Paint a tiny square in a hidden corner of the wall, and make sure you are happy with the result.
  • The classic paint movement, whether with a brush or roller, is from the top to the bottom.
  • If you wish to paint walls and ceiling, paint the ceiling first.
  • Give the paint time to dry. Let the ceiling dry before painting walls.
  • Also, wait for one coat to dry before applying the second.

As with the minor plaster repairs, there is a good chance that a professional will be able to perform the task faster and with more accuracy. However, there is something very nice and highly satisfying about repairs which you do on your own. Furthermore, you save the money that would have gone to a professional. If you are pressed for time, or have no desire to do the job – do not hesitate to call a pro, but if you are interested in repairing and painting on your own, there is no reason why you won’t be able to tackle it like a pro.

Check out more articles on Efes Takalot featuring topics like Freezer Repair, Handyman, and Air Conditioners In Jerusalem!


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