Venetian plaster

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RobJack

Well-Known Member
Morning all. TPF was built for plasterers about anything related to plastering. Over the years the forum has asked and answered pretty much every question regarding plaster and surrounding topics. Tied together with an abundance of photos, so to set things off for the coming year I'm writing a little article about venetian plaster as it's different from the normal daily spread.

I'm not going into the history of venetian as it's a little hazy. Some think it was created in the Renaissance period in Venice when natural stones and marble and such was running out. Others say it dates back to ancient Egypt. I don't really know. I just know it looks good.
Venetian plaster isn't typically just one finish like a lot think. Anyone who's heard of it commonly only know about the high polished finish. This has many names depending on manufacturer, supplier etc. Stucco, classic, lucidity, grasello to name but a few. It's true name is marmorino and the grain is fine. Fundamentally they are all marmorinos with different sizes of grain. There are quite a few with fine being top of the scale down to larger grains used for thicker, heavier textures such as travertine. I have it broke down into 3 typical sizes though to try and explain the basics. The first is the fine. This creates the high polished plaster finish, typically the hardest finish to get right, second would be varying grains in a middle category to create marmorino as a whole. These flat stone like finishes have different pattern variation depending on the actual size of the grain. Something like pul refine (pulverised) wouldn't show much pattern at all whereas a carrera for example will have texture detail including chattering (this is done purposely and looks good. Nothing like lazy trowelling on a multi finish wall). The 3rd is the largest grain to create travertine. It's not only larger but the viscosity of the product is also a lot thicker than the others. This helps to hold itself together when applied and it can be applied much thicker than the others. It doesn't stop there though. The thicker textures can be heavier still depending on what the manufacturer wants for the product end result. They can be made to look like thick rock like texture. You can also mix additives such as other coloured grains, glitter, metallics etc into marmorinos to change the effects further and on top of this you can colour the plasters to suit.
Most companies have a set colour chart to work from but colour matching is available. You find a lot of designers want something a little different with colour and end up giving you a tile sample of wallpaper sample and ask you to match it or one particular colour from it.
There is a standing argument with purists about lime plaster and acrylic plaster. Some will only use lime. Personally I do prefer lime but I have played with both. I feel some acrylics can appear plasticcy. The flip side to this is lime plasters have a certain colour depth they can reach whereas acrylic can go that bit deeper to enrich a colour. It comes down to individuality. You should always give it a try though and make your own mind up. When all said and done, if the client likes it, what difference does it make what it's made out of.

Primers and sealers.

There are two primers I currently know about. Quartz and resin. Resin primer needs little time to dry and you can apply onto it within an hour of putting it onto a wall. Quartz primer requires a minimum 8 hours after application. The quartz it the venetian equivalent to blue grit and Plas prime. It's got very fine aggregate within it. It can be applied to pretty much any surface and venetian plaster can go on the top without concern. As far as sealers go there are many depending on the product used. Clear coat sealers that are penetrative and soak into the product and sealers that sit on the top. We also have an array of waxes and to take it deeper, waxing procedures. The lacquers (sealers) are fairly straight forward. They can be rolled on or put through a spray gun. They are versatile and quick and easy to apply. They come in different finishes such as matt, satin and gloss. Waxing is a little different. There are many to choose from and play about with and application and buffing varies depending on which you choose. I won't go into this as it's a large subject and I'd be here all day. One thing I get asked a lot is Can venetian plaster go in a shower area? The answer is a clear cut Yes. These products are breathable and will absorb moisture and fire it back out. When the correct sealers and waxes are used venetian plaster will last a long time in a wet area. I did some work recently in ibiza where a marmorino was used on several shower wet rooms in a villa. It was sealed and waxed correctly so will stand the test of time. I've done wet areas in the past using venetian and they are still great today.

This is probably the most I've wrote since school and I don't want to rabble on any further without losing the audience so here my closing piece. Venetian plaster is a beautiful thing. It's naturally elegant and there is becoming more and more requirement for it as time goes on and people learn what it is. Here's a couple of pictures with a few different finishes to hopefully keep you interested

Rob Jack
Venetian applicator and trainer

Photos courtesy of Chris Wells and myself

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RobJack

Well-Known Member
I wish Vince. I could take some of the paddling pool but it's just not the same magnatude.

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jamesthefirst

Private Member
Nice work rob, i really like the coccio pesto finish look and walls with banding of marmorino. heres a job on pillars i did 2 years ago.
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themucky1

Well-Known Member
Some nice work there lads well done, Venetian is something id like to try just to have a go at really as I can't see a market for it round my neck of the woods but fair play to you lads doing it for a living tho hats off to ya
 

Skimgraft

New Member
Definitely wet my appetite to try this, always wanted to do. After I watched the guys that done selfridges In Birmingham . They offered to teach but my mate said its just a fad and turned them down
 

Danny

Administrator
Definitely wet my appetite to try this, always wanted to do. After I watched the guys that done selfridges In Birmingham . They offered to teach but my mate said its just a fad and turned them down
definitely not a fad :D
 

jamesthefirst

Private Member
Definitely wet my appetite to try this, always wanted to do. After I watched the guys that done selfridges In Birmingham . They offered to teach but my mate said its just a fad and turned them down
The entrance to toilets in bullring are also done and one of the theatres in black which both look nice.
 

markj

Active Member
One question I did a wall at home and I am happy with it but I want to try some other finishes on this wall as its in the downstairs toilet and I use it as my practice wall lol
So questions is after 2coats of paraffin wax and a couple coats of cera wax how do I prep it to try different colours and finishes. .
 

markj

Active Member
One question I did a wall at home and I am happy with it but I want to try some other finishes on this wall as its in the downstairs toilet and I use it as my practice wall lol
So questions is after 2coats of paraffin wax and a couple coats of cera wax how do I prep it to try different colours and finishes. .
@RobJack sorry forgot to tag you
 

Skimgraft

New Member
I did a week last year and I loved it :D but I need more training as I spent the time filming and photographing etc rather than paying attention :D
That must the multi tasking thing :D

I've emailed golden trowel , but may prefer to be nearer the midlands
Any other places to train you could recommend ?? Over my neck of the woods or as neae
 

Danny

Administrator
That must the multi tasking thing :D

I've emailed golden trowel , but may prefer to be nearer the midlands
Any other places to train you could recommend ?? Over my neck of the woods or as neae
yup lots to take in at the best of times :D

Nope sorry... only GT :D by far the best :D
 

RobJack

Well-Known Member
@markj You can break down the wax with white spirit on a cloth. A good wipe over will diminish the wax. Then if you have done a polished finish you will need to give it a light sand to remove the sheen before going on again.
 

markj

Active Member
@markj You can break down the wax with white spirit on a cloth. A good wipe over will diminish the wax. Then if you have done a polished finish you will need to give it a light sand to remove the sheen before going on again.

Thanks @RobJack
That means I can continue to play and practice at home.
All the best
Mark
 
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