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10 Things Nobody Tells You About Plaster

In this week’s installment of 10 Things Nobody Tells You: what to know about the age-old tradition of plaster. Read on 😛 TAGEND 1. It can contain marble dust or soap made from olives.

At its most elementary, plaster is a mixture of lime or gypsum, sand or cement, and ocean that hardens when dry. But there are a wide diversities of options available for the modern plasterer, including slaked lime, Venetian( which has pigment and marble dust in it ), gypsum, clay, and the Moroccan plaster called tadelakt–made of “lime plaster and black soap made from olives, ” Margot reports. Read more about each in Remodeling 101: Modern Plaster Walls, Six Ways.

Photograph by Emily Andrews, courtesy of Alexander Waterworth Interiors, from Pastels Go Rustic in an Italian Farmhouse. Above: Photograph by Emily Andrews, courtesy of Alexander Waterworth Interiors, from Pastels Go Rustic in an Italian Farmhouse. 2. It was replaced by drywall.

Plaster was the wall material of alternative until the advent of easy-to-install commercial-grade drywall. But, as Margot notes in Remodeling 101: Modern Plaster Walls, Six Ways, plaster is “also normally longer lasting and more beautiful” than standard drywall. Among other pros: plaster can be fire-resistant and especially good at blocking noise. On the other hand, it’s much trickier to install than drywall, and difficult and costly to restore if it’s damaged.

3. It can be found in the Pyramids.

Plaster is an ancient technique, and even the earliest methods used don’t differ all that much from those used today. Gunks of liquid and clay or lime have long been used to fortify shacks and keep out weather and wind. And, according to the Encyclopedia Brittanica entry on the subject, the ancient Egyptians were lord plaster proletarians; the Pyramids contain 4,000 year old plaster that’s still in good shape.

Photograph by Nicholas Worley, courtesy of Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop, from Kitchen of the Week: Urban Tropical, A Simon Astridge Kitchen Addition. Above: Photograph by Nicholas Worley, courtesy of Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop, from Kitchen of the Week: Urban Tropical, A Simon Astridge Kitchen Addition. 4. But it’s not just for old buildings.

Don’t be fooled by plaster’s old-fashioned sources: It works well in traditional and contemporary interiors alike( just see the above tropical kitchen in North London for proof ).

 A fireplace surround treated in tadelakt. Photograph by Dustin Aksland, courtesy of Elizabeth Roberts, from A Warm, Minimalist Duplex in Brooklyn by Architect Elizabeth Roberts. Above: A fireplace surround treated in tadelakt. Photograph by Dustin Aksland, courtesy of Elizabeth Roberts, from A Warm, Minimalist Duplex in Brooklyn by Architect Elizabeth Roberts. 5. And it’s not just for walls.

Think beyond walls: You can use plaster to create texture and sculptural influences on everything from stairs to fireplace surrounds. See only a few ideas in 7 Ways to Use Lime Plaster( Hint: It’s Not Just for Walls ).

6. It’s environmentally friendly.

Unlike many types of paint( the other alternative for encompassing walls ), “plaster is an environmentally sound natural material: breathable, and free of chemicals and VOC, ” writes Margot in Remodeling 101: Modern Plaster Walls, Six Ways. If you’re concerned about toxins and eco-friendly finishes, natural plasters are a good option.

A tadelakt bath, as seen in Villa Fabrica: Serenity in Santorini. Above: A tadelakt bath, as seen in Villa Fabrica: Serenity in Santorini. 7. It can be waterproof.

Tadelakt, the Moroccan plaster, is made of lime plaster and a black soap made from olives. Combining the two ingredients generates a chemical reaction that creates a altogether water-, mold-, and mildew-proof finish, constructing it a durable selection for the kitchen or bath. But use it sparingly: “Tadelakt is the Rolls-Royce of lime plaster finishes, ” says San Francisco-based artisan Orit Yanai. It’s generally much more expensive than other types of plaster, so use tadelakt in wet regions, and another type everywhere else. Read much more about the ins and outs of tadelakt in Remodeling 101: Moroccan Tadelakt Plaster Finish.

 Photograph by Lauren Moore from At Home with an LA Costume Designer, Summer Remodel Edition. Above: Photograph by Lauren Moore from At Home with an LA Costume Designer, Summer Remodel Edition. 8. It requires layering.

Most plasters are fairly labor-intensive to install and, Margot reports in Remodeling 101: Modern Plaster Walls, Six Ways, require at least three coatings. Corners specially are touchy to trowel, and some plasters, like gypsum plaster, involve construction workers to move quickly to avoid “cold joints, ” smudges of weakness in the plaster.

9. It’s pricey.

Because it’s touchy to install, plaster can be pricey: Fixr.com approximates the average installation cost at $500 per 100 square feet , not taking into account projects that require lots of prep work or hard-to-reach areas, or use higher-quality plasters. They note that installing new plaster is significantly cheaper than repairing and resurfacing existing plaster.

Photograph by Justine Hand for Remodelista, from DIY Project: Limewashed Walls for Modern Times. Above: Photograph by Justine Hand for Remodelista, from DIY Project: Limewashed Walls for Modern Times. 10. But, you can DIY the looking.

Don’t want to invest in full-on plaster walls? Or have existing drywall you don’t want to excavate? You can get the textural seem with limewash paint, as Justine did in DIY Project: Limewashed Walls for Modern Times. The good news, she reports, is that it has all the visual allure of plaster, but it’s much easier, quicker, and more forgiving to install. See also: Remodeling 101: Everything You Need to Know About Limewash Paint.

More installments in our beginners’ guide to remodeling 😛 TAGEND

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Read more: remodelista.com

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