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.



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How to apply Venetian plaster to inside corners

How to apply Venetian plaster to inside corners

So what’s the easiest way to finish your inside corners? Usually we go around the whole room and just turn the corner on our first coats, but those finish coats can get real fussy in the corners.

Best way we’ve done and seen done is to put material on your finger – latex glove or finger condom nice to have here – and run it into your corner just like caulk. Easy. Then clean up the wall face you are not working on before proceeding to finish the wall face you are working on. Make sense? I’ll do a short video on that soon.…

Posted in Tips & Tricks, Venetian plaster
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Plaster Preparation for Venetian and Lime Finishes

Plaster Preparation for Venetian and Lime Finishes

Here are the 5 biggest issues out there concerning plaster preparation work:

1 - Stop the cracks – Can you do an exterior?  Sure!  Can you do a shower?  Sure!  But you gotta stop the cracks.  So you have to know what you are doing.  Or hire someone that does.  And a very important point to bear in mind – lime does not crack by itself.  But it cannot bridge cracks. It adheres to whatever substrate it attaches to.







So when the substrate cracks, the lime plaster cracks with it.  And never promise a crack free finish, because if you do not actually do the substrate construction and preparation, how can you guarantee the thin veneer of decorative plaster we apply will hold?  This often falls outside of our area of expertise and responsibility.

That being said, EIFS mesh and primer systems usually work pretty darn well, in my experience.


2 – Penny wise pound foolish  (AKA prep with the good stuff, you’re worth it!) – You gotta fill a wall that has orange peel texture because you want to run a nice shiny plaster over it.  So you get out the joint compound because it’s cheap.  You skim.  Then you sand.  Then you prime.  Twice.  Then you can apply your lime plaster.  Hey, but wait a minute, why didn’t you just skim with our Marmorino Classic and then do your finish right over it?  Because it’s so expensive you say?  But think about it -  if you skim with the good stuff you’ll already have your first coat of lime plaster on.  You’ll have the proper suction and you can do your final coats the next day.  The money you spend on materials (joint compound vs lime plaster) should be more than offset by the money you save on labor, no?

3 – Scrape don’t sand – Got some excess gunk on the walls before you start?  Or did you get some trowel lines from your first coat?  Before you throw up the giant cloud of dust with that sandpaper, try breaking out a putty knife and scraping.  Less work, less dust, more better.

4 – Taping – it’s not paint – Yes, it’s not paint so don’t tape right up to the inside edge of where your wall meets your baseboard, or crown molding, or whatever you are protecting.  Otherwise, you’ll bury your tape underneath your plaster, and it will chip or crumble off when you remove your tape.  Allow for the thickness of the plaster material you will be using, and tape away from the wall by 1/16″ or more depending on what material you are using.




5 – Do not assume the people doing your prep are going to do it properly.  Unless they work for you. And then only if you know what you’re doing.  Which is debatable.…

Posted in Prep Work, Tips & Tricks, Venetian plaster
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Lynn Kriley Applying Marmorino Carrara

Hi out there, I haven’t posted for a while – I’m being a bad blogger. I’ll do better this year.

Check out this cool stop-motion video of our friend Lynn Kriley applying Marmorino Carrara to a wall up in Anchorage Alaska, He says it’s something like 35 below there at night – yikes.

Stop Motion movie of me applying Stucco Italiano Marmorino Plaster from Lynn Kriley on Vimeo.

If only we could work that fast, right?…

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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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