Industry Associations, including the Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries (AWCI), periodically prescribe standards for plastering and recommend levels of desired finish of walls and ceilings prior to decoration.
So, what are the differences between the three Levels of finishes, and which is the generally accepted default level for a commercial fitout?
Here in Australia, the AS/NZS (Australian/New Zealand Standard) 2589:2017 titled ‘Gypsum linings – Application and finishing’ defines the Three Levels of Finish for plasterboard walls and ceilings. The standard indicates minimum specifications for the installation process, from framing preparation to finishing, in order to achieve each of the finishes:
LEVEL 3 Finish requires no decoration. It is not suited to the public eye and is used for inaccessible areas such as concealed storage spaces, service shafts, or above ceilings.
The requirements specify that ‘all joints are to be taped with two applications of the compound and all fastener heads are to be covered, with a smooth finish on the compound.’
LEVEL 4 Finish is the default level of finish accepted for most domestic and commercial construction. It is recommended for applications where light coloured, low sheen, flat or matt paints are used, and where lighting conditions are favourable.
The requirements specify that ‘joints are to follow a three-coat system which consists of: a tape coat with two subsequent coats that is applied over the tape and fastener heads.’ In addition, ‘all joint compounds should be sanded to a smooth finish free of tool marks and ridges.’
LEVEL 5 Finish is the highest level of finish and is recommended where gloss, semi-gloss or mid/ dark coloured paints are used, or is subject to critical lighting conditions such as spotlighting, skylights and windows.
The requirements specify a high standard of frame flatness and alignment, jointing and back-blocking. In addition, ‘all joint compound should be sanded to a smooth finish free of tool marks and ridges, followed by the application of a skim coat’ to provide an even surface texture and porosity and to conceal joints, fixing points and imperfections. A skim coat is normally under 1mm in thickness which can be rolled, trowelled or sprayed and then sanded to achieve a smooth and uniform surface for decorating.
To achieve a successful Level 5 outcome, close cooperation and programming between the trades is crucial, as the level of finish and final decoration must be planned from the design stage at the start of a project.
For an example of a Level 5 Finish, you might like to read about our Case Study on Calleija Jewellers. This project is also the recipient of the AWCI Winner Excellence in Plastering 2017 (Commercial) Award.
PGP Plastering are specialists in delivering high quality, commercial plastering fitouts that require Level 4 and above finishes. Our teams of fully qualified commercial plasterers work to stringent industry standards to ensure that we provide a professional quality service for your project. Get in touch today for a free no-obligation quote on 1300 633 403 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- AS/NZS 2589:2017 ‘Gypsum linings – Application and finishing’