Fact or Fiction: 5 Things You’ve Probably Heard About Venetian Plaster

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.

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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. application

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.

Aaron making magic

This entry was posted in lime plaster, Tadelakt, Venetian plaster and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

153 Responses to Fact or Fiction: 5 Things You’ve Probably Heard About Venetian Plaster

  1. Pingback: Faux-cus on the Pros: Aaron Cohen of Stucco Italiano- Fauxology

  2. Sue Arceo says:

    Can you apply this over any type of wall? Or does it require a certain type of backer board>

  3. mark lambard says:

    Where can I purchase your products?

  4. Aaron Cohen says:

    Hi Mark,

    We are located in Seattle, WA. We ship all over the country. Small quantities are available for purchase through our online store. For larger orders call us for pricing.


  5. Vicki Vinton says:

    Hi Aaron. Am very interested in your product but can not make it out there. How can I best test out your products? I have been doing plaster finishes for about 10 years now. Using products from Kokastico, Faux effects, Modern Masters and yes Behr. I think I have tried a few others in the name of research. I am of course interested in the greeness of your product. Am interested in any advice on products. THX Vicki

  6. Aaron Cohen says:

    Hi Vicki – We have some pretty inexpensive sample kits if you’d like to try our materials. What part of the country do you live in?


  7. Diana Kwasniewski says:

    I am looking for something to put on my ceiling to cover up slight crack fix……can you apply this to celing? also can this work over bricks that were painted and cement bricks…….in basement, please let me know , i like the green idea and am a creative person and would like to try your product and look……thanks Diana

  8. Aaron Cohen says:

    Hi Diane – yes you can use this on a ceiling. You should fix the cracks first. Same with the bricks – you should level your surface prior to using our materials.

  9. John Leeper says:

    I would like to plaster a shower, but I don’t want a product that will absorb too much moisture as I prefer to ventilate with bathroom fan for a short period to save energy. Can I use Vasari products? Any problem with sealing them to block too much absorption, or should I just use tile? Thanks.

  10. I am consulting on a job in Maui. The plasters said they use the product “USG Plaster” . What is this? Is it different than a product you recommend? I have to provide colors, but need a deck of colors available. Do you have such a thing? Joanie

  11. Jeff Donkers says:

    When you say that lime plasters are self-healing, what does this actually mean?

  12. Abraham says:

    please on this lime used for venetian plaster.

  13. Abraham says:

    wwplease emphasize on this lime used 4 venetian plaster

  14. kay says:

    If the wall were it’s applied gets stained, can d stain be washed out using may be water & detergent? Hw do I get sample to test & any distributor in W. Africa Nigeria in particular?

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  16. samuel okon says:

    hello,am an applicator in nigeria,i use product from france and dubai which i will like to use venetian plaster.i ant to know the distributors you have in nigeria and am informed that the floor stucco is now available,please enlighting me more on that…thanks

  17. David says:

    Hi, we have Venetian plastering in our bedroom and I love it…however my wife doesn’t like the colour which is a light sand . My wife wants antique white colour instead. My question is: can you Venetian plaster over existing Venetian plaster? Please say no. Thanks.

  18. Joan Keller says:

    We are purchasing an old log structure. The kitchen addition walls are not log and therefore can be plastered. Can you please e-mail info and guides,as your product seems a good choice. The structure is in the mountains of WV. Are there distributors in the area of Bridgeport, WV?

  19. andrew says:

    David, even though you asked nicely and said please, the answer is yes. You certainly can apply our Venetian plaster over existing Venetian plaster. Your wife will probably be happy to hear this.

    Joan, unfortunately at this time we don’t have an distributors in the Bridgeport, WV area. The good news is that we can ship our product anywhere if you buy directly through us. Feel free to email us (info@stuccoitalianoinc.com) with any questions, or just give us a call (206-838-5888). Check out our online catalog (http://www.stuccoitalianoinc.com/download-our-catalog/) or just poke around our site in the meantime to get more information. Hope to hear from you soon!

  20. ken says:

    I would like to find a product that I can apply to stucco to give the wall the look of plaster. I am doing this on an exterior wall that I am converting to an interior wall as part of a room addition project.

  21. Aaron Cohen says:

    Hi Ken,

    Any of our materials should be able to be applied over exterior stucco – what type of sealer is on the stucco?

  22. Eve says:

    Can Venetian plaster be applied on a mantle (which could get hot)? Are there any temperature restrictions before applying this product?

  23. Laurie says:

    Hi, I had this plaster applied to my walls in my house. I have changed the color 3 X and now it is cracking. The worker who applied the plaster blamed it on the heat of my house???? Is this possible or his he trying to rip me off?

    Thanks for any advice

  24. Yvanna says:

    I have a wall that has Venetian plaster and I want to if I can use regular paint over the Venetian painting?

  25. Jeffrey Horn says:

    The home we just purchased has venetian plaster throughout (https://picasaweb.google.com/avantiplasterllc/SzakachResidence) We need to touch up some walls. The prior owner left us with some cans of the plaster that was used..but, it has dried out. Where can I get venetian plaster to match? Ideally, in the Scottsdale area?

  26. Claudia Martin says:

    I am looking for a certified Venetian plaster in Norther CO. Do you know of any?
    Can it be placed on drywall?

  27. Sean says:

    Is there a way to repair water stains on venetian plaster without re-plastering the entire wall?

  28. Mr Zanna says:

    Hi I produced some highly polished venetian plaster one opulent of mdf boards 8ft x4ft. I primed the board twice. I put my first coat on and the waited 24hrs before applying my send coat. I now waited 12 hrs before my third coat. I burnish with a trowel. The shine and refection is excellent. I have waited 24hrs before giving two coats of bees wax to the board. The board is finally on display after 1 month and have now noticed that the material seems to be soft. How has this happened?
    Also after burnishing I’ve come o wax another board and have found that I’m unable to wax this board as the product is still soft. It has been 5 days. Please help me to resolve this problem.

  29. Anne says:

    Mr Zanna,
    As you described your plaster I assume we talk about the acrylic product , the lime polished plaster would have cracked. Tell me if I’m wrong.
    If you apply your acrylic stuff too thick its takes ages to dry and sometime never dry properly but it’s really depends which type of acrylic product you use.
    I would try to apply thinner coats next time.

  30. Aaron Cohen says:

    Mr Zanna,

    What material did you use?

  31. Belinda says:

    Am interested in applying your Venetian plaster to exterior stucco wall….I saw that you ask about what sealer was used on original stucco. What do you do if you don’t know what was used. I live in So. Louisiana and wonder if different types of sealer are used depending on region of the country due to heat and humidity for that region. Can you enlighten me?

  32. Aaron Cohen says:

    Hi Belinda,

    Hard for me to say what sealer would have been used on your existing stucco. Is it absorbent? If you put water on it does it absorb the moisture?

  33. Walt says:

    I’d like to do a raised venetian plaster stencil on a vertical metal surface (steel painted with high heat enamel). Most of the design will be far enough away from the gas stove that it seldom gets over 90 F, but there is another part of the design I would add if its practical that is much closer where it can get 125 F at times.

    Thanks in advance..

  34. Kathleen Hope says:

    can you mix venetian plaster with fine grit cement and will it hold up on exterior surfaces?

  35. Exceptional article. I’d been reviewing regularly this site that i’m prompted! Helpful data specially the very last part :) My spouse and i cope with like information a lot. I became seeking this type of details for any very extended time frame. Many thanks and finest associated with good fortune.

  36. wyn wales says:

    Is it possible to tile over as I do not like the colour. I have recently moved into a new home and it is on all the walls in the bathroom and someone has tried to paint it badly. My builder thinks I should have it plaster board on top then plaster skimmed then tile. does this sound possible, or is there a simpler way to get it off. mine is on in panels and stuck SOLID. many thanks Wyn

  37. Rebecca says:

    I have applied Venetian plaster to behind my aga and applied cera wax over but it is still absorbing some fat splashes from cooking. Is there another product I can applied over that to protect it from stains ? Many thanks

  38. Tom Pupo says:

    I saw on your catalog, pictures of floors done in the Moroccan plaster. Can this be applied directly over porcelain tile in a bathroom if a bonding agent is applied first?

  39. joanna says:

    I did a Venetian Plaster jobs yrs ago for a client and now they would like me to darken it up with more color. I burnished and wax it. Can I apply another coat of wax with more color . Ideas please? Ive left the business but have kept a handful of clients so Id like to be able to give her what she wants.

    Need advise. Thanks J

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  41. Jennifer Danielson says:

    I want to do an exterior wall with the Venetian Plaster. What should I use as backer board and will it hold up in Denver?

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  46. Justin says:

    Can this product be applied over cement board (Hardie backerboard) in a shower? Is there a primer or base that should be applied first? And what should be used to seal the product? Thanks!

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  48. Melanie says:

    A bit of an odd ball question – but it has been reported that “tens of thousands of dollars” of damage was done to the venetian plaster on Justin Bieber’s neighbour’s house when he threw eggs at it – would this be the case? What kinds of substances might cause enough damage that the finish needs to be reapplied/repaired?

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    What pricing are you seeing that contractors charge for this type of finish per square foot?
    I have 7292 sq in walls and 2216 sq in ceilings I need to do.

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  109. diane sculley says:

    can venetian plaster be applied behind a cooktop

  110. Will like to try your material. Can you send us sample kits. And we need your color chart too.

  111. Nancy- Cincinnati, OH says:

    I have a major issue. I hung up some birthday decorations with tape on our tinted venetian plaster (BEHR). (I now know… bad idea.) The adhesive from the tape looks like it was absorbed into the venetian plaster and is significantly darker than the rest of the wall. I have sanded the stickiness off but the dark spots still remain. Our venetian plaster is about 8-9 years old. Any tricks? I have a feeling redoing all the walls is in order. THANKS!

  112. Mary says:

    I would like to paint over my venetian-plastered wall, accent wall. The reason being over the time I have had to touch up areas and the color is not exactly the same as the original color. How and what technique is the best for repainting the wall and get somewhat the same effect of the venetian plaster. I had originally applied a glazed topcoat that enhances the trowel markings. I do not want to use the plaster again with repainting.

  113. Rona Chai says:

    We have a floating or cantilevered fireplace hearth that is granite. Can I hire a contractor to apply Venetian plaster right over the existing material or do I need to have a frame built over it.

  114. Андрей says:

    Very useful article. Thank U.

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  116. Eco Stucco says:

    Its better to apply Venetian plaster on a poster board as practice before the actual wall. This will not only bolster your confidence but also help you perfect your plastering skills.

  117. Marie says:

    I would like to apply venetian plaster on an old ceramic, behind a wood stove. How do I make sure it will stick to a ceramic? And is it heat safe? Thank you.

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  119. This is truly a good informative blog on Venetian Plaster. The blog seems to erase all the myths about Venetian plaster that people have heard or have in their minds since long time. Even I thought to this day that Venetian plasters could not be used in showers or wet places. But after reading this blog, i have come out of this notion. All the Venetian plaster lovers who have queries regarding using it in home should go through this post to get a clear idea about it.

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  122. Angie Kruse says:

    I was wondering the cost and where to purchase in Florida?

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  126. Sam says:

    Can this be used in hot countries? – Barbados?

  127. Sangi van den Nouweland says:

    I am renting a place in Manhattan that has Venetian plaster on all the wall. The landlord is very attached to it. We don’t like the colors. Can we have the walls stained by a professional and what would be the base of the stain?
    I am aware that I will first have to find out if they used the real Venetian plaster or the acrylic version.

  128. Gail Green says:

    Is it appropriate for a building lobby? And, how would you repair, if necessary?

  129. Craig says:

    I just got a quote to cover my existing saltillo brick floor with lime-based plaster. The area is about 400sq ft. I’m wondering what the plaster actually costs per unit and how much area that unit covers. Can you please give me a ball park figure on materials for two coats to cover the above mentioned square footage?

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  132. mehrdad Davoudi says:

    Hello .l am mehrdad Davoudi .I am looking for marmarino or grasello lime based formolation .do you help me

  133. steve says:

    I am repairing a Van Heusen Clothing store exterior wall what plaster I use and what color? Where can I purchase the product?

  134. Sarah says:

    I used modern master Venetian plaster (red) I think I applied it to thick.
    What should I do?

  135. Solange says:

    Hey, want to know if I can aply venitian plaster on my shower walls ? Can I have a phone number to call ?

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  139. Marti says:

    After taking your class, I completed the tadelakt walls in my bathroom and am really happy with the outcome. We’ve installed a custom cement sink against the wall at one end, and there are some small gaps (1/8 – 1/4″) between the wall and sink, as the wall is not a perfectly flat surface. I’m looking to seal the gap, possibly using a row of bullnose tiles.

    Do I need to be concerned about using thinset on the wall behind the tiles? Would there be any incompatibility between the thinset and tadelakt? Is there something else you would recommend?

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  142. justsouthern says:

    Can these products be applied over a wooden mantle and slate tile surround?
    I very much want to update our fireplace by giving it an old european plaster look in a neutral taupe to cream variation of colors. Could you recommend which products might help me achieve this?

    Thanks for any advice.

  143. Jennie Chamberlain says:

    Hi! Thanks for the blog – great reading. We had Venetian plaster applied in our kitchen. We were told it would look similar to (but different of course) to the American Clay walls we have in our living room. Instead the installer compressed it until it is quite shiny…. we would much prefer a more rustic, earthy finish. What can I do to achieve the desired finish?

  144. Richard Haithcoat says:

    Can you adhere other wall types to venitian plaster?

  145. jason says:

    hi, my name is Jason and am writing from Ghana. I have heard a lot about this Authentic Venetian Plaster. is there a formulation for producing the Authentic Venetian Plaster and stucco paint?

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  147. Ben Chase says:

    Hi, any thoughts on installing a shower grab bar through Venetian plaster? Thanks!

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  149. Angel Lopez says:

    This information if correct. I have been taught this trade since I was a child. There are many more Italian plaster finishes than just basic Venetian. I read that some contractor blamed the cracks on the heat of the house and a few others making excuses. True Plasterers are rare. If you want your house done properly. Make sure to really test your supposed applicator. If you want to just cut out all the b.s and get it done right and even get more creative with Marmorino, Tuscany, and custom plasters then check out my website. Venetzian.com.

  150. Angel Lopez says:

    My product is shipped in from Italy. The main ingredient is lime. Which preserves the plaster for hundreds of years. That is the way it should be but sadly in America contractors like to be cheap. These plasters can be applied to glass, wood, plastic, metal and drywall. They are algae proof (not Venetian) but other tougher types of Venetian plasters such as Tuscany and Marmorino. Which I can make resemble tree bark, stone, aged rustic custom finishes. And even put implants of moss, glass or whatever else you might like. If you want plaster done right check me out at venetzian.com

  151. Angel Lopez says:

    Venetian Plasters are semi waterproof. This article will not be 100percent. Correct . I’ve been around these plasters and used just about every manufacturer. For those of you using modern masters. That’s synthetic. As well as the valspar brand from Lowe’s and the Home Depot mark. If you know what your doing it will come out nice but def. fades. The best product out there is something I can’t disclose but if you want real answers by an actual experienced plasterer visit my website Venetzian.com

  152. Angel Lopez says:

    Btw, if you leave a Venetian finish untreated with a wax sealer it is definitely not waterproof. This article doesn’t mention that. But you try for yourself and see what I mean. Plaster is darker when wet and stains easily if untreated. Even if wax sealed Venetian is not as resilient as other Plasters with more aggregate.

  153. Kotolena says:

    Thanks for helping out, superb information.

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