How to Use a Gauging Trowel Effectively

A gauging trowel hung on a window with other various equipment.

There are many tools involved in plastering work, but the most mentioned is a gauging trowel. “gauging” refers to the process of blending exact ratios of plaster or cement with water. It can also describe a specific blend of plaster, known as the gauge, and a gauge board is employed for the purpose of mixing plaster. The gauging trowel is a multifunctional implement used by plasterers for several tasks: mixing (gauging) small quantities of plaster, retrieving plaster from a container, and, on occasion, applying minor amounts of plaster to a wall or surface. In this guide, we will unearth the practical applications of a gauging trowel and provide techniques for achieving high-quality results in various projects.

What Is A Gauging Trowel?

Have you ever asked yourself the question, what is a gauging trowel used for? Primarily, a gauging trowel is used for transferring and applying plaster, mixing small amounts of material, and levelling out concrete surfaces. Unlike other types of trowels designed for pointing or bricklaying, the gauging trowel’s rounded nose makes it unsuitable for those tasks. Its prowess lies in its ability to handle plastering and rendering. It is an all-purpose tool in fast-setting situations for orderliness and good finishing.

How To Use A Gauging Trowel

Learning to wield a gauging trowel with proficiency is an essential skill for anyone involved in construction or masonry. To correctly hold the trowel, encircle the handle with your four fingers and position your thumb downward, towards the blade. When it comes to mixing mortar within a container, employ a circular motion with the blade to achieve a uniform mixture. For preparing a mortar bed, spread out a sufficient layer of mortar to match the wall’s thickness. As you lay each brick, take a modest amount of mortar on the blade and spread it onto the brick’s side that will join with the already-positioned bricks.

After completing a row of bricks, use the trowel to add mortar to the joints and voids to ensure they’re fully packed. For surface finishing, gather mortar on your trowel and, with a swift wrist motion, flick it against the wall’s surface. Continue this action until you’ve achieved the required mortar thickness. Following these steps, you will have mastered the use of a gauging trowel.

Practical Applications And Tips For Using A Gauging Trowel Effectively

  • Mixing plaster

Utilise the rounded, pointed end of the trowel for scooping and mixing plaster within a bucket to achieve a homogeneous texture.

  • Applying plaster

Grip the trowel by its handle, employing the flat side to spread plaster over surfaces for a smooth and evenly distributed finish.

  • Cleaning mixing buckets

Use the trowel to efficiently clear the sides and bottom of the bucket, eliminating any leftover plaster and resulting in a clean container.

  • Loading a Hawk

With the trowel, adeptly transfer plaster from the bucket to the hawk, setting the stage for its application.

  • Filling in minor discrepancies

Employ the trowel for correcting small gaps or imperfections, showcasing its adaptability for a range of plastering activities.

Choosing The Right Size And Material Composition Of A Gauging Trowel

The size of the gauging trowel you choose depends on the specific task at hand and your personal preference. Here are some common sizes and their applications:.

  • 101.6 mm gauging trowel

Ideal for intricate work requiring precision and fine detailing, such as pointing, patching, and small-scale plastering.

  • 152.4 mm gauging trowel

A versatile option for transferring plaster, mixing small batches, and applying it to walls or surfaces, offering a balance between precision and coverage.

  • 180-mm-gauging trowel

It offers more coverage than the 6-inch, making it suitable for larger plaster applications with a blend of precision and efficiency.

  • 254 mm gauging trowel

It provides greater coverage and efficiency, making it perfect for applying plaster to larger areas and achieving a smooth finish.

  • 304.8 mm gauging trowel

The choice for substantial plastering or rendering projects offers significant coverage for extensive surfaces.

FloorsHQ Rox® gauging trowels are made from high-quality, durable materials; they feature stainless steel or carbon steel, providing strength and corrosion resistance. Handles are made from plastic or ergonomic materials for comfortable use.


The gauging trowel stands out as a vital tool in the construction industry, facilitating plastering, tile work, and concrete finishing with its unique design. By understanding its various applications and adopting the right techniques, you can leverage this tool to achieve outstanding results in your projects. At FloorsHQ, we support professionals or DIY enthusiasts who use a gauging trowel effectively to hone the quality of their work, making it an invaluable asset in their toolkit. Contact us for our products and tips.