Lath and plaster may be dated and haven’t regained popularity since the 1950s, but the techniques are still very popular. They are integral in adding a classic touch to old buildings and homes. Restoration projects, both professional and amateur, benefit from having a good plaster job on their walls and ceilings. This is because there is an art in applying the plaster and render, to maintain the texture of the original wall—whether to replicate or to repair requires an extensive knowledge of the different styles.
Since it is dated one might think that tools and equipment are hard to come by or have not changed since the 1950s. But you can still find a plastering machine for sale. Plastering isn’t as old-fashioned as we think.
Keep It Clean
Working with plaster can become very tricky. It must have the right consistency – not too wet, not too dry. If the mixture is not done right it affects the way the plaster will set. Plaster also is very difficult to clean up when it hardens. In areas with carpeted floors, if you are repairing a wall, it might become a permanent eyesore. To prevent all this from happening, keep in mind that preparation is just as important as the application.
Lay out drop cloths on the floor and use painter’s tape to seal the corners and edges. Make sure all your tools from your bucket to your trowels are as clean as possible. Even the walls have to be free of debris to ensure a smooth and clean application. Dirt, old plaster, and the like may hinder the plaster from setting properly and will result in a patchy job.
Another thing to look out for when working with plaster is to keep time. The job cannot be rushed because this creates mistakes that pile up and at the end of the day may ruin the overall look. Repairing a shoddy job takes time because you have to wait for the plaster to dry before you are able to repair your mistakes. However, working too slowly is a problem on its own. The plaster will harden and as much as you try to keep it moist, spraying water on it is not the ultimate solution. You will end up with hardened plaster in your bucket and on your hawk.
Having professionals come over to do it is the most convenient way to get the job done. They have the experience and expertise and have had enough years to overcome beginners’ bad habits. The only downside is that they might have their own bad habits. It doesn’t matter if you are a veteran or not, everyone can fall into the trap of cutting corners (even if the corners don’t involve money).