Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA
Plaster is a construction material with a long and rich history. From the end of the 17th century to the start of the 18th, plaster application was a popular interior wall construction method.
Understanding plaster will help you be more knowledgeable about the material, especially if you live in a house where lath and plaster are the dominant walls. They have been a part of most old-style homes for a long time until a faster and more convenient drywall took over during the mid-1940s.
Here are some secrets about plaster that you may not know about:
Plaster might have a mixture of marble dust or soap from olives.
To make plaster, you need lime or gypsum, sand or cement, and water to solidify the mixture until it’s dry. There are many ways to work around a plaster mixture for the modern plasterer. For example, they can add slaked lime, Venetian with pigment, marble dust, and clay. There’s also another type of plaster called the Moroccan tadelakt. It is a variety made of lime plaster and black soap from olives.
Plaster has been around for a long time.
Plaster has been an ancient construction technique since the early 1700s. But this method may have been used even before that period, specifically in Ancient Egypt.
Ancient Egyptians used to mix mud and water with lime to fortify their structures, protecting them from harsh weather. It’s important to note that these people are known to be masters of many things, including plaster construction. It is evident in their pyramid structures which are still in good shape even if thousands of years old.
Plaster isn’t just an old construction method or made for walls.
Despite its dated origins, plaster is still a relevant material that’s viable both in traditional and modern interior styles. And aside from applying plaster finish on walls, there are other ways to go about it. For example, professional plasterers usually create texture and sculptural effects on any surface, from staircases to fireplaces.
Plaster is an eco-friendly material.
While paint is typically and widely used wall covering, plaster is a more organic material that’s breathable, chemical-free, and is a Volatile Organic Compound (VOC). You can opt for natural plaster if you are more conscious and need a non-toxic, eco-friendly, and natural home.
Plaster can be waterproof – and pricey.
When combined, the lime plaster and olive-derived black soap of tadelakt result in a water-resistant finish. This Moroccan plaster I durable enough to be applied in kitchens and bathrooms. However, this plaster is expensive, so use it sparingly in wet areas.
On another note, experts say installing new plaster is more affordable than repairing and resurfacing the existing ones.
Plaster is tricky to apply.
Depending on the type, plasters are generally hard to install, and they’re also labor-intensive, making them not viable for DIY installations.
Plaster usually requires at least three coats, and applying them on corners can be extra tricky. Gypsum plaster, however, should be applied quickly, preventing ‘cold joints,’ which are weak spots or small gaps within the plaster application.
Aside from being a reliable waterproof wall covering, the tadelakt costs hundreds of dollars for installation and maybe more maintenance. But if you’re worried about that, The Patch Boys of St. Louis are there to help!
They provide stellar quality drywall and plaster repair that will make your life easier. Whatever type of plaster it may be, they got a professional crew that will deliver results to you!
The Benefits Of Plaster Walls
As mentioned, plaster is usually applied in three consecutive coats. First, the scratch coat mixes lime, sand, and water. Next is the brown coating once the scratch is dry. It’s applied the same way as the first. The third and final coat, the skim or finish coat, tends to be skipped a lot.
Plaster is durable.
Plaster has this tensile strength that drywall doesn’t. Not even cured plaster can be sanded or drilled at all. This strength is good against dings, nicks, and dents that drywall commonly has.
Plaster is an energy-efficient material.
As they say, a thicker wall is always better. Usually, a 7/8-inch thickness of a plaster wall has superior thermal breaks compared to drywall, helping you save on utility bills.
Plaster has better soundproofing quality.
Since plaster is thicker and more rigid than drywall, it can insulate more sound. Any wall that’s two times thicker than average has higher soundproofing. Plaster is still a good material because its qualities outweigh the cons that are bearable on certain occasions.