What is a float?
A float is a small board made of plastic, rubber, wood or metal, with a curved handle.
It is ‘floated’ or glided over freshly-applied plaster when it has firmed up, to level out irregularities in the surface.
You can use a float both inside a building, on plastered walls and ceilings, and outside, on rendered walls.
What's the difference between a float and a trowel?
A plasterer’s trowel is normally made of thin stainless steel or carbon steel and is used to scoop up wet plaster, apply it to the wall or ceiling, and spread smoothly.
It has sharp edges, and can also be turned on its side to cut a clean edge where two surfaces meet – for example, along the edge of a ceiling, or around a doorway.
Not all plasterers use floats – some prefer to use steel trowels for the whole process.
There are many ways of plastering. In fact, if you ask seven plasterers how they do their job, you’ll probably get seven different answers.
A float has a thicker base than a trowel and is usually made of plastic, sponge, rubber, wood or magnesium – a lightweight pale grey metal.
It’s used to even up the surface on plaster or concrete, make it firmer and give whatever texture is required. The finish will depend on the float chosen.
For more information see What are the different types of float?