Category Archives: lime plaster

Special Applicator Course in Vancouver, Canada

Special Applicator Course in Vancouver, Canada

Later this month we will be traveling north to teach a special 2-day class in Vancouver. Our friends at Greenworks Building and Supply will be hosting this class on the 26th and 27th of April, 2013. Students will get to work hands-on with our Venetian plasters as they learn proper application methods and techniques. This a really great deal that even includes in-store credit for materials to work on your own projects after the course. 

Anyone with an interest in working with decorative finishes, whether you are a contractor or do-it-yourselfer, will want to take advantage of this opportunity. We don’t always go to Vancouver, but when we do, you can bet we have some fun with plaster.

We are really looking forward to working with you Canadian plaster pros, so get signed up quickly while there is still room. Since pre-registration is necessary, you will want to visit this page to enroll and get all the details about the course.

Posted in Green building, lime plaster
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Fact or Fiction: 5 Things You’ve Probably Heard About Venetian Plaster

A Prime Candidate Inside or Out

A lot of people throw around the term “Venetian plaster,” but what does it really mean?

5 things you’ve probably heard about Venetian plaster, and why they are wrong:

1. You’ve heard: “Venetian plaster is a faux finish.”

The truth: Authentic Venetian plaster is not a faux finish. In fact, it’s the most authentic veneer wall finish you can have. When natural, lime-based venetian plaster is applied it will eventually return to it’s original state, which is lime and marble, AKA stone.

2. You’ve heard: You can buy Venetian plaster at Lowes or Home Depot.

The truth: You will find products labeled “Venetian plaster,” but they are actually composed of acrylic polymers and fillers such as gypsum and/or clay. While these synthetic Venetian plasters made by paint manufacturers may look somewhat similar to the real thing to the untrained eye, it’s been our experience that these synthetics will ultimately fade and become “tired” looking over a relatively short period of time, just like painted walls. Unlike real Venetian Plaster, synthetic Venetians are more closely related to paint than to stone, so this should come as no surprise.

3. You’ve heard: Venetian plaster can’t be applied in the shower, on exteriors, or on any surface that will get wet.

The truth: True Italian Venetian plaster is actually a wonderful choice for surfaces that will get wet. Lime plasters perform extremely well in wet climates by simply allowing any water that is absorbed into the plaster to quickly evaporate and exit the structure. That’s why they’re called Venetian plaster, because they can tolerate rising damp and canal-side applications like in the lagoons of Venice that would cause failure in acrylic and cement plasters. Traditional Moroccan lime plaster Tadelakt has been used in the Hammams (the traditional Moroccan steam baths), and in the riads of Marrakech for centuries. 

4. You’ve heard: Anyone can apply Venetian plaster in their home.

The truth: Well, it’s true that anyone can apply it. But applying it well is a different story. While we definitely aren’t saying you’ll be a pro after one day, our new Introduction to Authentic Venetian Plaster is a good place for a beginner to start understanding the do’s and dont’s of Venetian plaster application. Also, consider hiring a skilled contractor to do the job.

5. You’ve heard: Installing Venetian plaster in your home will break the bank.

The truth: Unlike paints which must be reapplied over and over, Venetian plaster is a lifetime finish. The material is self-healing, much less likely to crack than cement finishes, and naturally mold-resistant, resulting in beautiful walls that will withstand the test of time. Green building will be a key part of America’s economic future, and authentic Venetian plasters are not only beautiful, they fit perfectly into the future of green building.

6. You’ve heard: Venetian plaster is really shiny.

The truth: OK that’s 6 things, not 5. You caught me. Just consider this as bonus knowledge. Yes, Venetian plaster can be brought up to a natural high sheen by compressing the material as it dries. The more compression, the higher the sheen. However, natural lime plasters can also be finished to a rustic matte or satin sheen, depending on which material is used and how it is applied. The possible looks and finishes for Venetian plaster are limitless!

Got any more questions about Venetian plaster? Feel free to ask and we’ll do our best to shed some light on the subject. Ready to experience authentic Venetian plaster for yourself? Visit our store and get all the materials you need, or sign up for one of our classes and learn how to plaster like a pro.

Posted in lime plaster, Tadelakt, Venetian plaster
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We get so many requests from contractors and homeowners asking for information on how to do showers these days.  Probably our single-most requested technical info item.  My answer is always a resounding “don’t ask me”.  But seriously, tackling a shower surround is a whole different animal than just putting up a nice finish over drywall, so this is no job for amateurs.

Fortunately there are now full start-to-finish systems available that seem to be working great as a substrate for Tadelakt or even Marmorino Carrara or Intonachino.  Our applicators have had excellent success over the past 4-5 years with the Wedi board system which is a lightweight alternative to cement board and include a special panel fastener that seems much more reliable than simple screws, as well as a paintable urethane caulking system to ensure cracking does not occur at the joints.


Click here to get to the Wedi site.


During last week’s decorative cement class one of our students gave me a brochure from Schluter, another leader in the wet area substrate industry (thanks Tamara!).  They now have a relatively new system similar to Wedi called Kerdi-board.  And they have seminars around the country for interested contractors.  In our area there is one coming up in Lynwood, WA May 17th, Tacoma on May 18th,  2011 and Portland on May 19th, 2011.  I’ll be at either the Lynwood or Tacoma one for sure.  Here’s a link to the page listing Schluter seminars.

These seminars are free.  So you want to install an incredibly beautiful Tadelakt or other lime-plaster finish in a shower and not sure how to do the substrate?  Maybe quit calling me and go learn how to do it right from a professional. 😉


Posted in lime plaster, Prep Work, Tadelakt, Tips & Tricks, Venetian plaster
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Plaster is Everywhere

Nice post from our good friend Randy Orr about lime plasters and the Renovation Hardware catalogue:

“…out 300 pages in the new catalog, 60% of the photos involve Plaster Walls and Plaster Mantels…” Read the whole post here.

Posted in Featured Stucco Italiano Installer, lime plaster, Venetian plaster
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Stucco Italiano Authentic Lime Venetian Plasters: Going even greener with Zero-VOC Colorants

We’re happy to report we will now be able to mix with only Zero-VOC colorants in all of our materials:

Press Release
Posted in About Stucco Italiano, Green building, lime plaster
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