Developments in drywall construction mean that specifiers and clients now have a wide choice of surface finishes available to them. Mandeep Bansal, technical services manager, Knauf (UK), says some might think that a wall is simply a wall yet, as those of us in the industry know, it is important to know from the outset precisely what the client is expecting.

All too often the quality of surface finish is described in terms that are open to interpretation such as ‘ready for- painting’ or ‘ready-for covering’. It’s perhaps then worth considering supporting the proposal for the Drywall Jointing and Finishing Surface Quality Level Classifications, as created and defined in JV between UEEP and Eurogypsum.

This describes four levels of jointing and finishing gypsum board surfaces prior to the application of specific types of final decoration. It starts at the basic level: Q1. This means the basic filling of plasterboard joints that is adequate for surfaces that do not have to be decorated and so, although excess jointing compound should be removed, all the other marks – tool marks, grooves and ridges – can remain.

The levels go up to Q2, Q3 and finally Q4, the best finish available. This includes jointing and finishing to a higher standard together with a complete surface covering of skim coat to a minimum thickness of 1mm. This type of surface is suitable for both smooth and structured glossy wall coverings, paints and coats of up to medium gloss as well as specialist decorative finishes such as stucco marble.

But sometimes it seems that clients – or the architects and quantity surveyors that work on their behalf – do not appreciate the potential for these different levels of finish, and may inadvertently be expecting one while, in reality, having asked for another.

So some form of education is needed, so that the specifier and drylining contractor are speaking the same language and using the same terms. The challenge, then, is to do this diplomatically. No professional with years of training and experience will appreciate being told what a flat wall is!

Mandeep Bansal,
technical services manager, Knauf (UK)