29 Dec Understanding Plaster Before Starting a Plaster Project
Whether you are remodeling a kitchen or just hanging a mirror, understanding wall coverings is essential. The most common interior wall surface aside from gypsum wallboard (drywall) is plaster.
If yours is an older home, built before the 1950s, chances are it contains plaster walls and ceilings. Appreciated for its versatility, ability to reduce noise, and fire resistance, plaster was commonly used as the wall covering of choice over brick, stone, or frame construction. And because of its pliable nature, and the fact that it can be manipulated to fit just about any nook, cranny, or curve, it continues to be an excellent solution for many challenging surfaces and wall designs.
Even in smaller houses, it was standard fare to apply plaster in order to finish interior walls, and then whitewash, paint, or cover it with wallpaper. Traditionally, plaster is a mixture of cement, sand, and water, which is applied in layers to a base of wood or metal lath, or perforated plasterboard. First, a scratch coat is troweled onto the lath. The plaster is allowed to ooze through the lath and grip the backing as it hardens, then a finish, or white coat, is troweled onto the scratch coat and smoothed out to achieve the final surface.
Over time, plaster walls and ceilings have a tendency to develop stress-cracks. A professional plasterer has the specific materials and techniques needed to repair these cracks, based on the extent and condition of the damage. A service professional can also advise on stripping paint from plaster walls and ensure that the new paint adheres to the surface. This can be a major issue if you’re looking to remodel, or re-design, your home. Since plaster isn’t applied as a board, but as a mortar, any scraping, stripping, or more extensive work on it can lead to significant damage to the material.
Decorative plaster in historic or period homes may seem beyond repair, though often a skilled plasterer has the information he needs to save it without undertaking major renovations. Sometimes simply applying a new layer over the old can do the trick. Of course, if you’re not as interested in preserving the historical integrity of your older home as you are in functionality, stripping the plaster and replacing it with drywall is going to lead to fewer maintenance problems down the road.
Talk to a contractor knowledgeable in plaster project information, and experienced in plaster application, removal, and replacement, if you think your plaster wall is in need of some serious home improvement attention or if you are looking to add a plaster finish to your walls.
Points to take into consideration in selecting plaster include:
- Lime-based plaster is resistant to mold and cracking. Light and weather do not alter the color of lime-based plaster and it is known to be hypoallergenic.
- Cement-based plaster is durable and resists moisture.
- Acrylic-based plaster repels water and is economical. It is also easy to repair and wash.
- Cellulose-based plaster is great for insulation of sound and temperature.
It is important to also note that plaster is available in hundreds of colors and it can be applied in many ways to achieve various textures and finishes. Finishes include matte, semi-matte, shiny, or high-gloss. Textures to decide between include smooth, sand-washed, and stone-like.
Enlisting the help of experienced professionals to complete your plaster project is your best bet in ensuring the materials are selected properly, as well as installed and finished properly. Premier Plastering of SW Florida can handle your plastering project. Call today for a quote for your plaster project or fill out this contact form.