Decorative Plaster Huh?
By Paul Glover
When we typically hear of plaster, we think of a white or off-white smooth surfacing material. Decorative plaster on the other hand is something quite different. No - it isn't some wild sculptural configuration like you might have seen in art history books. Today's decorative plaster is much more subtle than that, yet more visually stimulating at the same time.
Why Use Decorative Plaster?
Decorative plaster is appropriate for those who want to 'deck the walls' with both color and texture. And thanks to the new Venetian and Marmorino Plaster techniques that we're all getting excited about these days, your walls can be just as visually interesting as your couch, your entertainment center, or your entire home.
What makes this application so interesting is that not only is it colored, it's textured too. The way that it's applied to the walls is just as interesting as well because it can be viewed as an art form - resulting in a finish that looks an awful lot like modern art.
What Is Venetian Plaster?
Venetian plaster (or decorative plaster) is thick colored lime or gypsum mixed with sand and water.
How Decorative Plaster Is Applied
This thick mixture is applied to the wall with a steel trowel in small bits and sections - leaving white spaces between each application. After a little time, the applied decorative plaster is smoothed from one bit or section to another. And the effect of decorative plaster really comes to light when a little of the existing wall is allowed to show through the colored covering. Because of the wall's exposure, the decorative plaster begins to look textured.
After about four hours, another coat of this decorative plaster is applied in the same fashion - only in a different direction. For example, if the decorative plaster was applied toward the left, the second coat is applied to the right. This strategy really emphasizes texture and for even more visual interest, another color might be introduced in the second coat.
When dry, your walls might be covered with a finishing layer or top coat designed to give your modern art masterpiece a subtle sheen. However as the final step, the walls are gently sanded with 400 or 600 grit sandpaper to smooth away any roughness or tone down some excessively shiny areas.
Should You Apply Decorative Plaster Yourself?
Applying decorative plaster is not necessarily difficult to do yourself, however because it's such an intense home improvement project, it's best left to a group of professionals. Overzealous efforts with either the application of decorative plaster or sanding it down can actually damage walls instead of enhance them.
This is especially important if you're confused about the colors that you want. Not all of us are artists, so seeking the services of experienced interior decorators is a must! Interior decorators will help you select colors that will not only blend in with your existing decor, but also complement it and tie everything within it into a sensible unit.
About the Author
Author Paul White represents FloridaHomeBuild.com. A site designed to help home owners from Florida locate local home contractors with their home improvement projects.
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