When you are working on your home on your own, you have total freedom of creativity. However, when considering plaster finishes, you may face choice paralysis since there are many ways to achieve dimension and create an interesting look and feel for your walls or ceilings. Plaster finishes come in many different types, and those types all offer a wide range of textures. Depending on the purpose of the wall, you may prefer one type of plaster over another.
Different Plaster Finishes
Plaster can be cellulose, cement based, mud based, stucco plaster, lime based or acrylic. Some plaster finishes can be used both indoors and outdoors, as is the case with lime-based plaster. Lime-based plaster is mold resistant and is not prone to crumbling or cracking. You will not have to worry about light changing the plaster's color or outdoor weather conditions making it change form.
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Cement-based plaster is durable and resistant to most types of weather and related moisture. It creates a visually interesting look as well. It is best to use when an area will have a lot of exposure to weather.
Acrylic-based plaster is very easy to work with and is also water repellent. This means that it is easy to patch and is washable, making it an excellent choice for those on tight budgets or those who are new to working with plaster. Acrylic is another type of finish that can be used both indoors or outdoors. Acrylic is also durable, and because of this, it is an excellent choice for high-traffic areas in your home.
If you're looking to dampen sound or have instruments that require temperature control, you may want to use cellulose-based plaster, which is a bit more effective in these scenarios. However, due to its composition, cellulose is only good for use on interior walls.
Is Plaster Better Than Drywall?
There are good reasons for using either plaster or drywall depending on your project. Drywall is the cheaper option of the two and is a newer material. It can also be installed far easier and much faster than older plaster options. Because it comes in thin sheets, drywall is easy to insulate between the wall of the home and the drywall. However, because it is thinner than plaster, drywall does not provide sound dampening on its own.
Plaster is a more high-end wall treatment and takes a great deal of time and skill to install. The labor-intensive process of installing a plaster wall pays off when it comes to adding texture to your walls. Even though plaster is an older method, it is still superior to drywall in texture application and for sound dampening due to its thickness.
Various Wall Finishes
Some plasters are used as wall finishes. You have a number of plaster wall finishes from which to choose. There are, however, a number of other materials that can be used as wall finishes.
As the name may suggest, wall finishes are what you put on the wall when you are finished with your construction to enhance its appearance and that of the room it is in. Depending on your finish, the wall may need regular maintenance. In fact, there are some wall finishings that are very delicate and do not react well to extensive light or to having nails driven into them.
Examples of Wall Finishes
Most wall finishings require a careful application since they will be easily seen when complete. The two most common are wallpapering or stencils. The application of these finishings can even differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, so make sure you read the instructions.
When you are putting up wallpaper, be cautious in your measurements and take special care to match up any sort of patterns in the wallpaper to ensure continuity of the design. When you prep your walls for wallpaper, it is important to first clean your wall with soap and water to ensure that there are no bits of dust that can leave a bump in your wallpaper. After that, follow the instructions provided with the product since some wallpapers will shrink or stretch depending on the brand. When you are satisfied with your wallpaper's appearance, use a brush or clean rag to smooth the surface.
Stencils as Wall Finishing
Stencils are a type of wall finishing that also require extreme precision. When you are looking to stencil a wall, you need to make sure that you take your wall's condition into account. If you have a crack on the wall or some of the bumps that come with older homes, this will affect how your finished product looks.
Once you are sure that you will get the outcome you want, press your stencil into the wall and then apply your product or paint over it. It is recommended that you test out how much product or paint you will need without having it bleed out of the stencil before moving to the wall. This way, you won't have any unsightly problems or be forced to redo too much of your hard work.
Decorating Your Walls
There are countless types of wall finishes that come in and out of popularity as styles change. For example, wood panels and canfor or faux finish were popular in the 1970s, but you rarely see such design elements in use in modern homes. The faux finish was used to give the look of brick or stone without actually having the full texture of those wall finishes. The popularity of it in playrooms or other rooms with high traffic explains the appeal since you get the look without the risk of children hitting the wall and harming themselves.
Other types of finishes that have come and gone are tile finishes, mosaic finishes and stained glass finishes. Some of these sorts of finishes are coming back in style for public buildings. If they are in modern homes, typically it is an upcharge on the build and something that the homeowner needs to request. Plastering in construction is also often an addition requested by the building owner.
Stucco as a Wall Finish
Stucco is still very popular for homes in the southern part of the United States. There are two basic kinds of stucco systems: hard coat and exterior insulation and finish system, or EIFS. Hard coat stucco systems are cement based. These systems typically have to have a cement base coat before the finishing stucco is done.
There are three-coat or two-coat hard stucco systems, and either one or a combination of both could be appropriate for your project, so make sure you have the project planned out well before you begin. The depth for hard stucco is dependent on the type of system you are using and the surface on which you are working. Typically, you should get a base coat anywhere from ⅜ inch to ⅞ inch.
EIFS does not require a hard base coat and uses thinner layering than a hard coat system would. It is well used outdoors because it is known to have better water barrier and is more insulated than traditional hard-coat stucco systems. Unlike hard coat, EIFS will not absorb water and instead will keep it on the outside of the building.