A Guide On How To Dot and Dab Insulated Plasterboard

A Guide On How To Dot and Dab Insulated Plasterboard
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A Guide On How To Dot and Dab Insulated Plasterboard

Dot and dab plasterboard, a form of dry lining, is a popular method for creating interior walls that are both durable and visually appealing. Here at Insulation Express, we’re here to guide you through the step-by-step process of installing dot and dab plasterboards, ensuring your project is a success. With the right tools, materials and knowledge, you can transform your space into a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing environment. 

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What is the dot and dab method?

The dot and dab method is a construction and interior wall finishing technique that involves attaching plasterboard sheets to a wall or ceiling using adhesive dots or dabs, replacing traditional wet plaster. After applying adhesive to the back of the plasterboard, it is positioned on the wall and secured with screws. This method is often preferred by many construction professionals for its speed and convenience and allows for insulation installation between the plasterboard and the wall. Joints are typically covered with jointing tape and compound, resulting in a smooth finish suitable for painting or other finishing touches. 

Materials and tools you'll need for a dot and dab insulated plasterboard method


  • Plasterboard sheets
  • Dot and dab adhesive
  • Screws
  • Insulation (if needed)
  • Jointing tape
  • Jointing compound
  • Primer (if necessary)
  • Paint or wallpaper (for finishing)


  • Spirit level
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Drywall saw
  • Plasterer's trowel
  • Notched adhesive trowel
  • Hammer
  • Safety gear (gloves, goggles, mask)

Step by step guide to dot and dab plasterboard

In this step-by-step guide to dot and dab plasterboard, we'll walk you through the process of creating sturdy, well-finished interior walls. From surface preparation to the final touches, you'll gain the knowledge and confidence to transform your space with professional results.

1. Prepare the surface

  • Ensure that the wall you're working on is clean, dry and free of any debris.

2. Measure and mark

  • Use a tape measure and spirit level to mark the desired height and position of your plasterboard sheets on the wall.
  • Ensure accurate measurements and evenly spaced dots of adhesive.

3. Apply dot and dab adhesive 

  • Apply adhesive dots or dabs to the back of the plasterboard sheet using a notched adhesive trowel.
  • Space the dots approximately every 200-300mm vertically and horizontally, ensuring a continuous layer of adhesive.
  • Make sure not to apply too much adhesive to avoid excessive squeeze-out when pressing the board against the wall.

4. Position the plasterboard

  • Carefully lift the plasterboard sheet into position, aligning it with the marks you made on the wall.
  • Press the sheet firmly against the wall to ensure a secure bond with the adhesive.
  • Use a spirit level to check that the sheet is level.

5. Secure with screws

  • Once the adhesive is set, secure the plasterboard with screws along the edges and in the field.
  • Space the screws approximately 150mm apart along the edges and 300mm apart in the centre.
  • Ensure that the screws are slightly countersunk into the plasterboard without breaking the paper surface.

6. Repeat the process

  • Continue the process, applying adhesive, positioning plasterboard sheets, and securing them with screws until the entire wall is covered.
  • Trim any excess plasterboard as needed with a utility knife or drywall saw.

7. Jointing and finishing

  • Apply jointing tape to the joints between the plasterboard sheets.
  • Use a plasterer's trowel to apply jointing compound over the tape, feathering the edges to create a smooth finish.
  • Allow the compound to dry, sand it down if necessary, and repeat the process until the wall is ready for finishing.

8. Finish with paint or wallpaper

  • Once the plasterboard is dry and smooth, you can apply primer and paint or wallpaper to achieve your desired finish.

Installing dot and dab plasterboard is a manageable DIY project that can significantly enhance the appearance and functionality of your space. By following this guide from Insulation Express and using the right materials and techniques, you can achieve professional-looking results. Remember to prioritise safety and take your time to ensure a job well done.

Take a look through our full range of plasterboard products and find the ideal material for your task. 


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Things to consider when using the dot and dab method

You should consider the following factors before deciding whether the dot and dab method is right for your job:

  • Wall Condition: Ensure that the wall is structurally sound. If the wall is uneven or damaged, alternative methods like battening might be more suitable.
  • Plasterboard Weight: Take into account the weight of the plasterboard you plan to use. Dot and dab adhesive may not provide adequate support for heavy plasterboard, such as fire-resistant board or soundproof plasterboard varieties. For heavier plasterboard, consider alternative methods like screwing it directly to the wall.
  • Environmental Conditions: Assess the environment where you intend to use the dot and dab method. It's not recommended for high-humidity areas like bathrooms. For such locations, opt for moisture-resistant plasterboard and adhesive to prevent moisture-related issues.
  • Insulation Compatibility: If insulation is required, the dot and dab method can be effective. However, ensure that the chosen insulation material is compatible with the adhesive to avoid potential bonding problems.

Dot and dab insulated plasterboard FAQS

What are the advantages of using the dot and dab method for insulated plasterboard?

The benefits of employing the dot and dab method for insulated plasterboard include:

  • Efficiency and Simplicity: The dot and dab method offers a speedy and straightforward approach to insulated plasterboard installation. It doesn't demand specialised skills or tools, and it can be accomplished by a single individual.
  • Versatility: This method's versatility extends to various wall surfaces, including brick, block, concrete, and timber frames, making it adaptable to diverse construction scenarios.
  • Clean Installation: The dot and dab method is known for its cleanliness and tidiness during insulated plasterboard installation. It eliminates the need for wet plaster mixing, resulting in minimal mess.
  • Cost-Effective: The adhesive is relatively affordable, and minimal specialised tools or skills are necessary.
  • Enhanced Insulation: Insulated plasterboard provides an added layer of insulation that can effectively reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer, potentially leading to lower energy costs and a more comfortable living environment.

In summary, the dot and dab method offers a swift, uncomplicated and budget-friendly approach to the installation of insulated plasterboard.

What are the drawbacks of using the dot and dab method for insulated plasterboard?

Using the dot and dab method for insulated plasterboard has its drawbacks, including:

  • Limited Soundproofing: Dot and dab may not provide an entirely airtight seal, allowing sound to travel through the wall. For improved soundproofing, consider alternative methods like using acoustic plasterboard or wall boarding.
  • Reduced Thermal Insulation: The cavity between the plasterboard and the wall can compromise the wall's thermal insulation performance. When using insulated plasterboard, it may be advisable to complement dot and dab with mechanical fixings to ensure a secure attachment to the wall.
  • Diminished Strength: Dot and dab is not as robust as traditional wet plaster techniques, making it crucial to select the appropriate adhesive and diligently follow the manufacturer's guidelines for a secure installation.
  • Challenges with Heavy Objects: Mounting heavy objects on walls drylined using the dot and dab method can be challenging. The plasterboard is not as firmly affixed to the wall as it would be with mechanical fixings, impacting its load-bearing capacity. Consider alternative fixing solutions for heavy items.

If you are contemplating using the dot and dab method for installing an insulated plasterboard, it is crucial to thoroughly assess both its advantages and disadvantages and confirm whether it’s suitable for your specific requirements.

Can you dot and dab foil backed plasterboard?

No, dot and dabbing foil-backed plasterboard is not recommended. The bond between the foil and the plasterboard lacks the necessary strength to support the plasterboard's weight over time, potentially resulting in the boards peeling off.

Foil-backed plasterboard is typically employed as a vapour or moisture barrier and is commonly found in areas prone to high humidity, like kitchens and bathrooms. It is also used in soundproofing applications.

When installing foil-backed plasterboard, it's advisable to use a mechanical fixing method such as screws or nails. You can affix the plasterboard directly to timber or metal studwork, or alternatively, you can secure the plasterboard to timber battens that have been attached to the wall.

Can you dot and dab on wallpaper?

No, dot and dabbing on wallpaper is not advisable for several reasons:

Wallpaper lacks the structural strength to support the weight of plasterboard over time.
The adhesive used in dot and dabbing can damage the wallpaper, leading to peeling and instability.
Any moisture present in the wall can compromise the stability of the wallpaper and cause the plasterboard to detach.

If you intend to dot and dab plasterboard, it is essential to first remove the wallpaper. This process is relatively straightforward and can be accomplished using various methods such as a wallpaper steamer, a scoring tool, or a chemical stripper. After wallpaper removal, prepare the wall for dot and dabbing by ensuring it is clean, dry, and free of dust and debris. Applying a primer will further seal the wall and enhance the adhesion of the dot and dab adhesive.


Can dot and dab insulated plasterboard help reduce energy bills?

Yes, dot and dab insulated plasterboard has the potential to enhance energy efficiency by enhancing a wall's thermal insulation. Over time, this improvement can lead to decreased heating and cooling expenses. However, the magnitude of these savings hinges on multiple variables, such as the quality of the insulation and the overall energy efficiency of the structure.