Venetian plaster is one of the hottest trends these days. Due to its amazing polished finish and aesthetics, it is becoming more and more popular among homeowners. From offering a highly stylish and vintage-like look and feel to your home, Venetian plaster has a lot of amazing things to offer. In this article, we will tell you everything about this amazing plaster!
A Short History of Venetian Plaster
Venetian plaster is one of the oldest plasters that has been used for centuries, in homes, architectural buildings, monuments, and commercial buildings. If we talk about the roots of Venetian plaster, they have scattered hundreds of years ago hidden in the pages of history with some sources claiming that it was developed about 9000 years ago in Syria, Iran, and Iraq.
A similar rough and crude form of plastering was used at that time. Other countries have used similar but advanced plastering techniques such as the Egyptian tombs were plastered using a mixture of gypsum and lime, China walls also used some kind of plaster.
Basically, plastering was in practice in the entire world. But Venetian plaster was the most unique among them. It offered a glossy, textured, and polished surface. And unlike other plasters, it was pigmented to give a nice and beautiful look to the place. The Venetian plaster we have now is almost the same as it was before.
The making process and the ingredients are the same as they were during the first century AD. The only thing that has changed is the application part of it. Today, Venetian plaster is applied using different techniques and in more creative ways to achieve a super stylish and classy look. It has now become the first choice of architects and artists and they have adopted it in its traditional way as well, which is amazing!
To summarize the history of Venetian Plaster, it was discovered during Roman times but became extremely popular 500 years ago during the Renaissance in Venice Italy. It was initially named as Marmorino and later became famous as Venetian plaster. It is widely used in Italy and now in the entire world.
How is Venetian Plaster Made?
Traditionally, Venetian plaster is made using lime putty and marble dust. It can be tinted using a broad range of colours according to the requirements of the homeowner. It can be applied in a number of ways to create different textured effects such as stone effects and glossy marble finish.
The best part about this plaster is, it is made using completely natural ingredients. It is organic and free from any toxic chemical-based materials.
The colouring agents used in Venetian plaster are also mostly natural. The ability to tint the plaster makes it very useful especially when you want to achieve the desired marble finish.
What Are the Types of Finishes Available for Venetian Plaster?
Here are the most popular types of finishes that are available for Venetian Plaster :
Polished Stucco is generally made from marble dust and slaked lime. It is applied in multiple layers and then finished off using a wax polish final coat. This finish is mainly popular for its luxurious finish and long-lasting effect. The glass-like finish and the amazing texture can add a richness to any place it is applied.
Marmorino is one of the oldest and the most popular finishes of Venetian plaster. It is mainly available in three categories namely Naturale, Fine, and Carrara. Fine Marmorino is very close to Polished Stucco, it offers a glossy finish but is much easier to apply.
Naturale on the other hand is a more refined and elegant finish that mimics the texture of real natural marble. It suits perfectly in the contemporary and classic spaces.
Finally, Carrara is super smooth and soft to touch. It offers deep colours and a feel of historical and traditional Veneziano plaster.
Tonachino is prepared from slaked lime, natural sand and polymer compounds that make it easy to apply, durable and fine-textured. It offers great looks for both interiors and exteriors. The ingredients used for making this plaster also make it very bendable and waterproof. This quality makes it highly resistant to mould and bacteria. It is extremely popular for its matt and warm finish that offers a sandy yet velvety touch
As the name suggests, this plaster offers the look of polished concrete. It is great for creating a contemporary style in any space.
Venetian Plaster Then and Now
As we already discussed, Venetian plaster has changed a lot in terms of its ingredients. It is still made from the same natural and organic materials used for its preparation during the first century AD. The only thing that’s changed is its application and techniques. However, today you can find artificial Venetian plasters as well which are made using some synthetic ingredients and acrylic products that make its application super easy and this plaster is cost-effective as well.
Today, a majority of companies offer Venetian plaster and boats about the natural look and stylish finish it offers, which is actually true.
But today, most of these companies use shortened processes and artificial ingredients for their plasters. So, the Venetian plaster you get these days is not the authentic one.
While some homeowners don’t mind using artificial Venetian plaster as it is cost-effective and works great for aesthetics, some purists still debate that the real Venetian plaster is unbeatable. So, it is not possible to decide the best winner but the only important thing that matters is the creativity of the artist and the application of plaster. Be it traditional or modern-day Venetian plaster, if it’s applied in the right way and using full creativity, it can offer a surface that is luminescent and deep. In simple words, it can combine the best of both worlds, the modern world, and the ancient past.
Ultra Modern Uses for Venetian Plaster
Venetian plaster can be seen everywhere, from homes, offices, cafés, restaurants to commercial buildings. It brings the vintage look to the modern era. You can use it almost everywhere, living rooms, kitchen, verandah, balcony, and even bathrooms. It works fine everywhere. It is suitable for both walls and ceilings.
Usually, the mixture of putty and marble dust is applied to the surface using a spatula or trowel in very thin and multiple layers. These layers are then burnished to create a depth and desired texture. It can also be left unburnished if you want your plaster to be rustic and matt.
Because it mimics natural marble, it is great for the surfaces where real marble panels can’t be installed. Also, the ultra-modern and perhaps the smartest way to use Venetian plaster is using it for surfaces that are too costly to have carved from original marble such as curved walls, columns, and pillars. You can simply replicate the look of marble without actually using it – by using Venetian plaster instead!
Using Venetian Plaster, you can achieve the luxurious look of natural stone in your living room, bedrooms, kitchen, and bathroom without having to spend a lot on super expensive and complicated marble stone installation.
What is the Difference Between Venetian Plaster and Regular Plaster?
The main difference between the Venetian plaster and the regular plaster is the finish and texture. While regular plaster usually offers a matt finish and is available in a single colour, Venetian plaster offers a satin-smooth finish and can be tinted with a wide range of colours. Venetian plaster is lime-based and offers a polished look when used correctly. You can get any shade depending upon the look you want to achieve.
With the regular plaster, you don’t always get the flexibility to customise the finish according to your taste. But a Venetian plaster can be customized into a textured, smooth, polished, glossy or metallic finishes, whichever suits you. You can even achieve the real marble stone look which is not possible with the regular plaster.
Is Venetian Plaster Expensive?
The finish you get with Venetian plaster comes after a lot of hard work and using proper techniques. Applying it is not the job of an amateur. Generally, the experienced and skilled plasterers charge a bit more for this plaster. They use their skills and creativity to provide you with the finish you’ve wished for. Also, working with Venetian plaster comes with some health concerns. Plasterers have to save their skin and lungs from this product as it is caustic based. So, you can expect to pay a minimum of about $150 per square meter to a dedicated plasterer.
As compared to the regular wet plasters which usually cost around $90 per square meter, Venetian plaster can sound a bit expensive.
But the exceptional finish and look it offers to your place is unmatchable and these qualities make it worth the amount of money you’re spending. Also, it is highly durable. Once done, it can last for years with minimum maintenance and care, which is another plus point to look for. Moreover, it is waterproof and mould resistant as well. All these features make it a cost-effective plastering option in the long run.
Pros of Using Venetian Plaster
The features, quality and the popularity of Venetian plaster made us point out its amazing benefits. Below are the main advantages of using Venetian plaster :
The modern Venetian plaster is made using low-cost, low-maintenance and highly durable ingredients which make it very easy to apply and durable. It doesn’t require any additional care and maintenance as well.
The blemishes and scuffs on the walls can be easily repaired and blended in the entire surface without creating a mess. In fact, the minor scuffs can be eliminated using a damp sponge and mild detergent.
Venetian plaster is great for concealing bumps and other flaws of drywall.
It looks almost like real marble stone. You can use it for the places where you want the stone look without having to spend on the cumbersome stone installation.
It is made with completely natural and organic ingredients. It doesn’t contain any chemical-based materials that emit toxic fumes and causes health issues.
It is waterproof and safe from mould and mildew.
It can be tinted in a variety of colours depending upon your likes.
You can customize it to achieve the desired texture. For example, glossy, smooth, rough, metallic etc.
Cons of Using Venetian Plaster
As with any other things, Venetian plaster also has some downsides. Although it is cheaper than real marble, it is slightly expensive than regular paint. Moreover, it needs a proper application which can be costly.
How to Apply Homemade Venetian Plaster
Talking about the application of Venetian plaster, here we are sharing a step by step guide for applying the most versatile and vintage plaster at your home. This guide will be extremely helpful if you don’t want to invest in the professional application of Venetian Plaster. You can achieve nearly the same classic and luxurious texture without spending a lot of money.
So, without any further ado let’s begin!
Tools And Materials You’ll Need
[Note – You can get all the below-mentioned products either from your local store or directly from Amazon.]
- 100 grit sandpaper
- Drop cloth
- Dishwashing liquid
- Spackling paste
- Few rags
- Desired tint or colourant (you can also use mud tint)
- Premixed joint compound
- Dust mask
- Drilling machine with mixing attachment
- Rubber gloves
- Safety glasses
- 8-inch Drywall towel
- 60 – 80 grit sandpaper
- 4-inch paintbrush with synthetic bristles
- Water-based tinted glaze / translucent glaze
- Water-based sealant
- Nap roller for rough surfaces
The first thing you need to do is to prepare the surface you want to plaster. Whether you want to apply this homemade Venetian plaster to your walls or ceilings, lay some drop cloths or even a tarpaulin sheet to protect the floor from splashes and stains. Next, remove all the fixtures and hangings from your walls/ceilings and fill the cracks or holes using the spackling paste. Let it dry well and settle for some time and then lightly sand down the areas using a 100 grit sandpaper.
Now, remove the dirt, debris, grease, and sanding dust from the surface using a mixture of liquid soap and water. Just mix one or two tablespoons of liquid soap in a bucket with four cups of warm water and dip the rag into this mixture and wipe the surface using it. Now, wipe the surface again with a clean water-dampened sponge or rag to get rid of the suds. Once the surface dries completely, cover the edges of the surface and the baseboards using painter’s tape to prevent them from paint splashes.
Now the most important step. Add the desired colourant in the joint compound for your homemade Venetian Plaster treatment. For this, add about a teaspoon or colourant per gallon of pre-mixed joint compound. Mix it well using the power drill with mixing attachment. Make sure the tint gets mixed evenly in the mix and its consistency should be somewhat like pancake batter.
Wear your protective gear such as the dust mask, gloves, glasses etc and get ready for the fun!.
Now, scoop a generous amount of tinted paste on a hawk with the help of the drywall trowel. Lift the towel from the hawk and apply a thick coat of joint compound on the surface using curved and x shaped strokes from multiple angles. Keep the strokes short and sleek. Start from the top left corner and work down to the surface until it is fully covered. Meanwhile, keep cleaning the sides of the towel using a water-dampened sponge to discard the dried up paste.
Let the surface dry for at least 24 hours before moving further. The next day, sand the surface using 60 or 80 grit sandpaper to smoothen the surface and make it look softer and highly finished. After sanding, wipe the surface again with a wet rag to remove the sanding dust and let it dry again.
To deepen the colour and to get a more accentuated look, brush a few strokes of pre-tinted translucent glaze on the lighter areas. Use a paintbrush for this application and work in x shaped strokes in the same way you did with the joint compound. Also, pick a shade darker glaze colour than the joint compound to create a contrast.
Finally, preserve your homemade Venetian plaster by covering it with a layer of clear water-based sealant. Apply one coat of this product using a roller. If you want to achieve a marble-like finish, go for a sealant that has a satin or glossy finish. Similarly, to get a matte or rustic feel, choose a matte sealant. Once the application is complete, remove the tape from the edges and baseboards and you’re good to go!
Tips For Applying Venetian plaster
As we already discussed, applying the real Venetian plaster requires a skilled and experienced plasterer. This material is not something any immature can work with. It takes hours to finish a wall with the right skills and techniques. But if you’re a beginner and don’t want to spend a lot, you can go with synthetic Venetian plasters as they are easy to apply and anyone can use them with some instructions and planning. Below are some basic tips for using the synthetic resin-based Venetian Plasters :
1] Use The Proper Tools
You can’t simply apply the Venetian plaster without the right tools. They are very important to achieve the right texture and finish and they also make the application quick and easy. The first and important tool you’ll need is the drywall knife or a good quality steel trowel. Then, you’ll also need sandpaper, dust sheets, roller, rags, mixing drill, painter’s tape, etc.
2] Prepare Your Surface Very Well
The first step towards achieving a smooth and flawless finish is preparing the surfaces well. For this, clean your walls and get rid of all the hangings and other materials mounted on them. Fill the holes and cracks to get an even surface and then sand the entire surface lightly to smoothen it out. If your wall or ceiling has stains and grease, clean it using a dampened sponge. Moreover, if the walls are painted using glossy paint, you’ll need to sand it down to remove the shine.
3] Applying The First Coat
The first coat doesn’t need to be very perfect but it lays a base for the other finishing coats and hence needs to be applied in the right way. Begin from the top left corner of your wall by applying a thin coat of product using the steel trowel. Don’t worry even if you can see through the thin coat of plaster, it’s totally fine but don’t go overboard with the first layer. Keep the layer as even and smooth as possible. Once done, leave the first coat to dry for at least 10-14 hours.
4] Applying The Second Coat
The perfection of the second layer depends on the smoothness of the first layer. If you’ve done the first coat correctly, applying the second coat will be a lot easier and also quick. Apply the second coat in the same way you’ve done the base coat. Apply it evenly and keep it thin using a combination of short and long strokes. Once the entire surface is covered, let it dry for at least 24 hours.
5] Applying The Third Coat
Although you’re good with two coats, if you want an ultra-smooth, polished and luxurious finish, you can go with another layer of plaster. Apply this layer in the same way you’ve applied the first two layers. Start from the top corner and work your way down.
Venetian plaster requires polishing for a high-end finished look. You can either polish manually or by machine. The machine method is more easy and quick and offers great results. But if you don’t have a machine, you can apply polish with your hands.
So, this was our comprehensive guide on the most versatile and amazing Venetian plaster. It is undoubtedly one of the best and luxurious plasters available in the market right now. We hope it helps you.