Italian Lime Plaster Decorative Wall Finishes Add Old World Charm

This Seattle Painter takes some time to educate his readers on the benefits of using Lime Plaster.

The use of Italian decorative plaster has become an increasingly popular decorating technique in homes across America. It’s a versatile medium that can be used in a number of ways to create dramatic wall and ceiling effects, and its use has been growing in recent years around the country.

Italian decorative plaster generally consists of a thin veneer of slaked lime putty, which is then mixed with quartz, marble, or kaolin and colored with pigment. It’s then applied in a variety of ways to produce room treatments that resemble those that used to be found almost exclusively in northern Italy for nearly a thousand years.

However, even though it has been commonly used in northern Italy for millennia, lime plaster is among the world’s oldest building materials. In fact, there is evidence to show that its use may date back as far as 9,500 years in the area that is now known as Jordan. Over the centuries, the Romans began to mix lime plaster with marble dust as a fine application over a coarser type of lime and sand aggregate, similar to the technique used in modern decorating techniques. Its use has been nearly continuous around the world from that time on, especially in Italy and other parts of Europe.

One of the most common phrases used when referring to Italian decorative plasters is the term Venetian, although it’s also used to refer to nearly all types and techniques of decorative plaster work by many decorators. In America, Venetian plaster refers to both pure slaked lime and lime plaster that has been modified with acrylic polymers. The latter type of plaster is quite durable, but a number of Venetian plasters that are sold in the large home improvement centers bear little resemblance to true Italian plaster. Some of those products may contain no marble or lime, which means they aren’t really plasters at all. In fact, there are no American companies that make true Italian decorative plaster.

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This entry was published on September 11, 2010 at 2:19 pm. It’s filed under Lime Wash, Marmo Antico, Marmorino, Venetian Plaster and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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