Plaster, paint, or what technique to use?

zagyzebraMay 11, 2011

I have a 1931 house that looks like a castle. It was seriously damaged in a fire and basically has to be gutted. The original plaster walls have been destroyed.

I have a few questions. Should we lathe and plaster the walls like they were originally, or go the cheaper route of putting up dry wall and then treating the dry wall to look like plaster? I'm looking for the advantages and disadvantages of each, and any personal experiences anyone has had.

I've been told by an artist/painter that Venetian plaster is the way to go, which can be applied to dry wall. From my limited research, there seem to be two kinds of plaster. One is acrylic based and the other is the eco-friendly real lime-based plaster. Has anyone had experience with either of these? I am concerned about patching either of these plaster techniques. What if, for example, you get a wall leak and have to do a major patch? Or just want to change the paint? Then what? Which achieves better results: acrylic or natural? And why?

I'm just beginning to research this and am interested in any and all input! Thank you.

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Wait till you price out plaster.

In areas that veneer pilaster is popular it can be not that much more than drywall.

2-coat plaster (over gypsum lathe) or 3-coat (over wire lathe) are painfully expensive.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 12:12PM
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That is a tough decision to make. I think the costs of plaster over drywall are pretty steep- at least in my area. Although I prefer plaster as it has better sound reduction qualities and just feels better, IMHO. On the couple of walls I had to tear out, I replaced with the thickest drywall I could find to at least attempt to get a thicker wall to fit with my moldings. The other thing to consider is that if you have a Tudor (castle style?), many of the ones I've been in do have a special type of texture on the walls, so to match that would definitely be best left to the pros.

I have used both the lime based plaster for Venetian plaster and the newer acrylic stuff. The first was tougher to apply and took a good bit of practice to get it to look good. If I didn't like it, I just sanded it down and started over. Huge mess! I just applied the acrylic on my breakfast nook walls. It was super easy to make it look good, but very time consuming. If, in the future, I want to repaint those walls, the texture will remain, but the burnished finish of course, will be gone. Which of the two is better? I'm not sure- I think it depends on the ability of whomever is applying it, and of course your patience level! If you are doing it, be prepared for it to take a good bit of time.

Where I live, they offer classes in the clay process at the local eco- home improvement store. If you are planning on doing this- that might be a route to try.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 12:14PM
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This won't be a DIY project, that's for sure. I will have to seek out and hire the right artisans to do the job. Any recommendations on where to source the pros to do the job? I'm the sort that will happily delegate but like to know as much as possible about the job before going into it. House is located in Los Angeles.

Thank you for the recommendation on plaster veneer...probably the way to go here.

I know what you mean about the plaster "just feeling better." Did you achieve the "feeling" of plaster walls when you replaced them with the thickest dry wall? What about shooting some of that newspaper stuff inside the wall before putting on the drywall to reduce noise?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 2:24PM
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