When deciding on the best interior wall material, there are a few things to consider. Among them are the cost, look, and durability. A plastered wall can increase the value of a home.
It’s a specialized skill and not something most homeowners can do on their own. Before you start, it’s important to prepare the space. This includes removing radiators, skirting boards, picture rails, and anything else that’s nailed to the wall.
Plaster has an impressive tensile strength, which makes it far harder to damage than drywall. You can hardly even scuff the surface of a plaster wall & Merseyside Plasterers, let alone punch a hole in it. It’s easy to see why plaster walls have stood the test of time and remain popular in historic homes and in luxury business spaces that emphasize unique design elements.
A plaster wall is also much more breathable than a drywall wall, which can reduce problems with mold and mildew. This is because a plaster wall absorbs moisture vapor and then releases it. Drywall, on the other hand, tends to hold in humidity and can contribute to rot and mold.
A plaster wall is made of a putty-like substance mixed with water, lime, sand and animal hair. The first layer of plaster is called the scratch coat and is hand-troweled on top of the lath. The brown and white coats, which are often textured, are poured on the wall, creating “keys” that help the plaster to grip the lath and keep it together as it dries.
If you live in a home built before 1940, chances are the walls are plaster. It was the standard wall covering until drywall became popular after WWII. It’s still considered a high-end finish and can add a luxurious look to your home.
If your home has plaster walls, it’s important to note that they may contain asbestos. Asbestos was commonly added to plaster walls because of its insulation and fire-retardant properties. If you have any plaster walls, it’s essential to hire a professional to test for asbestos.
One easy way to tell if your walls are plaster is to stick a pushpin in the wall and see if it punctures easily. Plaster walls are made of a hard material that has a lath behind them for support, while drywall is thin and doesn’t have a lath. When hanging anything on a plaster wall, it’s important to use drywall anchors to ensure that the item doesn’t crack the wall.
It’s easy to install
Plaster walls are easier to install than drywall because they don’t need to be cut to fit the space. It also doesn’t need to be sanded, which makes the job much quicker and cleaner.
Traditional plaster was applied over wood lath, which were thin strips of wood nailed horizontally to the studs, leaving 1/4” gaps between each strip. The worker then layered the scratch coat, which was a rough mix of lime or gypsum, sand, fibers (horse hair, straw, or wood pulp), and water. This layer was forced into the gaps to create a “key” that would hold the plaster securely to the wall.
Asbestos was also commonly added to the plaster for its insulation and fire-protection properties. When these old buildings are disturbed, remodeled, or moved, microscopic asbestos particles become airborne and can be inhaled. This can cause life-threatening illnesses such as mesothelioma. It’s important to have your house inspected for signs of asbestos to protect your family.
It’s easy to repair
Plaster walls are gorgeous, and they can add a lot to your home’s interior design. They’re also long-lasting and more environmentally friendly than many other types of walls. However, if plaster walls get damaged, they can be difficult to repair. It’s important to know how to properly repair plaster walls so they last a lifetime.
First, make sure to use a stain-blocking primer to block residual contamination. Then wash the area thoroughly with clean water and allow it to dry. Next, use a putty knife to remove any loose material around the crack and vacuum away any remaining debris. Once the crack is cleaned, you can patch it with a stiffly-mixed joint compound and sand it down between coats.
Keep in mind, though, that older plaster walls may contain asbestos. It was once a popular additive to plaster walls because of its insulation and fire-retardant properties. Consequently, it’s vital to have them inspected by a professional before making any repairs or renovations.