What is polished plaster and how is it used today?

Polished plaster is a general term that is used to refer to a specific type of plaster application where the finish is highly polished. This includes both glossy and rugged surfaces featuring a variety of textures, colours and aesthetic outlook.

Polished plaster is also used interchangeably with Venetian plaster which is one of the many types of polished plaster. Other varieties of polished plaster include Marmorino sgraffito, and scagliola.

Polished plaster usually comprises of slaked lime along with other additives such as marble dust and chips. The type and amount of additives is carefully considered to achieve the desired effect.

Why use polished plaster?

Polished plaster is used for the finishing of various surfaces. Historically, it has been an inexpensive material to work with. More recently, however, polished plaster is prised as a preferable finishing option because of the exceptional looks that can be achieved with it. Unlike regular stone, marble or limestone, polished plaster is a lot more flexible material to work with. A qualified artist can achieve various tints and textures when using it. Marble dust, sand and other particles are used to create a more rugged look that more closely resembles stone or marble. Natural and synthetic colourants are also used to tint the plaster with various colours as required.

The sheer range of colours, tints and textures possible with polished plaster also means that a completely original and unique finish can be achieved with it. You can have a wall or ceiling finished to an outlook that is unmatched and fully complements the other elements. The glossiness and luminosity of the plaster can also be controlled to achieve surfaces that are bright, mute, matte or earthy.

Polished Plaster Applications

Polished plaster is most commonly applied on interiors such as walls and ceilings. The finish has a kind of vibrancy and luminosity that is hard to achieve in other finishes. Once the plaster is set, it is also incredibly hard and durable which makes it a very viable finishing material in a variety of buildings. A stand-out quality of the polished plaster is that it is versatile enough to be used on unusual or curved surfaces such as columns, curved walls, fireplaces and corbels with ease. This makes it a particularly viable choice in contrast to other materials like marble which is either too inconvenient or too expensive to be cut and applied to curved surfaces.

How to use Polished Plaster?

Before polished plaster can be applied to a surface, a primer and a basecoat are applied. Plaster is then applied to the surface in multiple layers. In all, one to four layers may be used depending on the type of surface and the intended finish. Once the plaster has been applied, a steel trowel is used to smooth it for a clear sheen. Depth and texture may further be added to a plaster application by burnishing it which creates a beautiful aesthetic effect. When not burnished, the plaster has a more matte finish.

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