Travertine Plaster Finish
When looking at lime platers such as Venetian Plaster, or Tadelakt, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking these plasters are only intended for use where a smooth, luxurious finish is required.
The glass-like finishes of something like Marmorino or olive soap-treated Tadelakt are visuals that people remember most when thinking about lime plasters, and that can lead to lime plaster being overlooked when something with a more earthy quality is required.
Travertino Stucco is a decorative lime-based plaster that is often used to create a highly textured finish, adding a sense of depth and subtlety to a surface. It can be used in interior or exterior settings and boasts a range of desirable attributes. But what is Travertino Stucco wall finish exactly?
What is Travertino Stucco Wall Finish?
Travertino Stucco is a traditional Italian lime plaster that has been in widespread use throughout Italy since the Renaissance. In more recent times, the plaster has seen growing popularity across the world. One of the things that make Travertino Stucco unique compared to other lime plasters is that it is often used to create pitted finishes that look worn and aged.
This is achieved by applying a layer of the stucco to the surface, and then carefully dabbing it with a rough tool, like a sponge. Before the stucco has a chance to set, it is smoothed over with a trowel to create an effect that is both smooth to touch, but that has the aged appearance that is so desirable with this kind of plaster.
Despite the popularity of the aged, pitted look, it is also possible to achieve other styles with Travertino, such as smooth, dragged, and faux-brick cladding. Another popular use of Travertino in modern times is as a multi-part finish to a surface.
For example, rather than having an entire wall be the same finish, a plasterer might have the upper and lower parts of the wall be smooth, while the middle section is pitted. This helps to add detail to the wall and generally make an area a little more interesting.
Travertino can be pigmented to get a range of different colors, of course. But it is the physical texture that makes this plaster so appealing.
Being a lime plaster, there are many beneficial traits that Travertino Stucco possesses that modern cement plaster does not. For example, Travertino Stucco is water permeable, or “breathable.” It is also naturally resistant to mold and algae.
Perhaps one of the most significant benefits to Travertino Stucco—or any other lime plaster for that matter—over modern cement plasters is the carbon footprint it creates.
Cement is notorious for being bad for the environment due to the fact that a lot of carbon dioxide is released during the manufacturing process. Lime plaster not only releases as much as eighty percent less carbon dioxide; it actually reabsorbs carbon dioxide, meaning that the little CO2 it does release is offset somewhat.
Granted, this means very little to the finish of your walls and ceilings, but in an age when we are continually seeing the effects of our mistreatment of the environment, using materials that are less impactful on the environment is a positive at least, if not an ethical responsibility.
There are even modern Travertino products that exclude all chemical processes in favor of natural alternatives, such as vegetable oils and milk derivatives.
Travertino Stucco Styles
We mentioned above that there are different styles that can be achieved with Travertino Stucco. One of the most popular of those styles is the Tuscany Travertine effect, which was a popular style in Tuscany, Italy. This effect resembles marble but with a sandier hue, and is commonly found as a pattern on floor tiles.
Another very popular style is the crocodile effect. This effect creates a kind of strata-like pattern of horizontal lines. The typical color used and the detail of the pattern make it similar to the detail you find on a picture of the planet Jupiter.
Travertino Stucco is just one option in a long line of traditional lime plasters that you have at your disposal. Yet, despite this plethora of options, each lime plaster manages to be unique and distinctive. Travertino Stucco is no different in that respect.