As you might infer, Venetian plaster comes from Italy. Actually, Venetian plaster comes down to us from the ancient Romans, and for centuries it has been a popular and high quality building material. While physically demanding, it is a great material to use to finish a wall. It gives a really great finish to a wall and looks beautiful.
How to Apply
Okay, first you need to do some careful prep work; the wall you are going to apply Venetian plaster to needs to be as smooth as possible, and free of any blemishes that might mar the final finish.
So, use some drywall compound to fill any holes and / or gaps, and then sand the wall thoroughly. It may take several treatments and sandings to get the wall perfectly smooth, but it is vital to get as perfect a surface as possible to begin your plastering if your plaster is to look right.
Once you are satisfied that the wall is smooth, you need to coat it with flat paint and then allow it to dry for at least a full day. Also, if you had to use any drywall compound to fill some holes, be sure to put some primer on before the paint. There is an old builder’s trick to avoid that: just use primer, but tint it to the same color of your Venetian plaster.
The correct tools are vital to apply Venetian plaster well. Get a good set of Japan scrapers and a trowel, one with rounded corners, all in stainless steel. Again, the rounded corners trowel is important because a regular trowel will scratch your wall.
When ready, mix the plaster, and then start in the top corner of the wall and work down and towards yourself so that you can see what you’re doing. Here again, an important point: only apply a very little plaster at a time and then work in a crisscross motion.
The idea is that you apply the Venetian plaster on the first pass, and the spread it on the next swipe. Continue this pattern until the plaster is perfectly smooth, and then keep it up as you progress across the whole wall.
Here are two more important tips when applying Venetian plaster: you don’t want to leave any ridges of thicker plaster; they will end up spoiling the look of the wall, and you must get the plaster on quickly. The thing about Venetian plaster is that it dries very fast. The reason for this, just so you know, is the thinness of the layer you are applying.
Once the wall is done, you must sand it immediately; 1000 grit sandpaper is best. If you can’t get that, 1600 is fine. Sand the entire wall, and then you are ready to add another layer of plaster. Once the second coat is on, sand it and then apply the third coat.
When the third coat is on, sand it down immediately and then burnish the plaster with your trowel. You do this by pressing the trowel into the wall as firmly as possible in a circular motion. As you do this, you will start to see the layers of plaster start to shine through. That is what makes Venetian plaster truly special.
Then comes the sealer. A coat of sealer should be applied with the trowel, to protect the plaster finish. After that, you have to burnish the wall one last time.
Now, here is where the real payoff comes. Once you have finished that last burnish, if you have done everything right, you should be able to stand back and your reflection should be visible in the incredible wall you have just created. It may be tough and time-consuming to apply, but these Venetian plaster application tips will give you something to be proud of.