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Get A New Look With Plaster

Apr 18, 2008
Plaster is a more diverse and exciting material than you might think. It can be used to create all sorts of intriguing effects. It is durable, and comes in a variety of colours and textures.

Historically plaster walls were made from lime and sand, and if you get a specialist plasterer then you can still have this if authenticity is important to you. Normally a coarse layer would have been applied, possibly containing horsehair to help bind it, followed by a fine, more smooth layer on top. If you have old lime plaster walls it's even possible to have them restored. This is worth doing as they are an interesting architectural feature.

Lime plaster is also a good idea if you have a house built without a damp course. Usually an impervious layer is inserted into brick walls to prevent any damp rising, but if this hasn't been done then lime plaster will allow natural evaporation and that will minimise damp problems. Lime plaster should be painted with limewash or distemper to retain the wall's permeable qualities and to prevent the peeling you often get with modern paints.

Another advantage of lime plaster is that it is a natural product. Modern synthetic plasters release VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) long after they have dried, which are bad for the environment and which you may rather not inhale.

Even if you have modern plaster it can be made more interesting. It certainly doesn't have to be flat and smooth. You can ask the plasterer to create a rough, undulating surface which is particularly appropriate in cottages or barn conversions, where a rustic look fits right in. And plaster can be made in various colours, most commonly different shades of pink, grey and white but any pigment can be added to bind in a colour. And if you tire of the colour after a while, it can easily be painted over later.

If you want to maintain the original colour of your plaster then a transparent seal can be applied. Other effects can also be tried - unsealed plaster can be scratched with a metal bristled brush and then a wash painted over; polyvinyl acrylic can be painted on and then bronze powder rubbed on with a soft cloth, for an exotic, seductive look.

Polished plaster is another option, and originates from Italy. It can be used in any room in the house. With the right sort of water repellent waxing it can even be used in bathrooms and shower cubicles. The plaster itself often contains marble dust and the effect is to give an attractive lustre or even a high polish shine. This can be very effective in a room where you want the light to reflect and be bounced around. Alternatively it can give other effects such as suede, stone, marble and other textured finishes. This is a specialist type of plastering and you need to make sure your plasterer is using the right materials and has been properly trained to achieve the desired effect.

With designer fabrics, wallpapers and furniture now commonly available there a fewer and fewer ways to set yourself apart either as an interior designer or a proud homeowner. The only way to really add an individual touch is to get a specialist in to do something original and unique. Focusing on the plastering in your home is an enduring and distinctive way to do this, and virtually any look can be achieved - rustic, classical or ultra modern.
About the Author
Expert plasterer India Cooper explores the diverse material of plaster and advises the public on how to ensure a plasterer is using the right materials. To find out more please visit http://www.ratedpeople.com/find/plasterer
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