How To Apply Polished Plaster

How To Do Polished Plaster

When it comes to polished plastering, the specialists in its trade have its application down to a fine art. Polished plaster, also known as Venetian Plaster, is in fact a fine art form that has been perfected and honed over the centuries. Originating from Venice in Italy, Venetian plaster became exceptionally popular during the renaissance period, however it was widely used long before this with evidence of it dating back to Roman times. Venetian plaster is an unusual product to work with, as it is quite an unusual product to work with, it can be known for showing imperfections. There is a huge amount of skill and hours of labour that are required to complete a single wall or ceiling and is a skill that requires years of practice.


What is Polished Plaster?

Venetian polished plaster showcases an elegant mirror finish that will never fail to turn heads. If you are looking to add a statement to your home or commercial premises then polished plaster is for you, polished plaster comes in a variety of patterns and colours, including decorative logos and stencils. Many people choose polished plaster as it’s a robust material, known as a ‘lifetime finish’ as little maintenance is required, as the plaster rarely cracks or shrinks as opposed to other interior applications.


Preparation of Applying Polished Plaster

Before the application of polished plaster, the surface must be well prepared, cleaned and free from any imperfections. If there are any holes or cracks, the surface must be sanded to remove and rough textures and leave a smooth surface. Any dirt or grease should be cleaned away, to leave a smooth surface for the best possible application. Should any walls already be painted, it is possible to plaster over these, however if it is a gloss paint it’s best to give it sand to get rid of the sheen. It’s also important to round off the corners or the walls with sandpaper, so you don’t cut into the plaster with your trowel as this can look unattractive.


How to Apply Venetian Polished Plaster

When it comes to the application of Venetian Polished Plaster, it isn’t a job for an amateur and the material isn’t the easiest to work with. It takes skill and several hours to complete a single wall. It is crucial to use the correct tools or else you won’t be able to achieve the immaculate lustre that reflects the light. The tools you need include:
  • Steel trowel (or drywall knife)
  • Hawk
  • 400 and 600 grit sandpaper (or steel wool)
  • Dust mask
  • Dust sheets
  • Lint-free cleaning cloths
  • Mutton cloth
  • Protective coating

The application process is a coat by coat process that culminates in a three coat process.


Step One: The First Coat

The first coat doesn’t affect the overall finish of your surface, but it does play an important role when applying the next two coats. It’s best to begin at the corner of the room and work your way inwards, using your trowel and hawk to apply a thin coat of plaster. The coating may apply thin but don’t worry as long as it’s even it doesn’t matter too much. Your objective is to achieve a smooth surface. When you are satisfied with your first coat, leave it to dry for 16 hours.


Step Two: The Second Coat

Before you start your second coat, you need to sand the area you’ve just plastered. By using 400 grit sandpaper and then 600 grit sandpaper or steel wool. Start off in small areas with circular motions and very little pressure, re-tap where necessary and get ready to apply your second coat. Your goal with the second coat is to fill the first coat, the smoother your first coat, the easier it will be. Just the same as applying the first coat, start your second coat from the corner and work your way in applying in thin, short strokes for consistent coverage. Once done, give this coat a minimum of 24 hours to dry.


Step Three: The Third Coat

Should you be wanting a high end finish, then a third coat is needed. Just like the first and second coats you applied, you will want to apply the third coat the same - however you will not need to sand before applying the third coat. The third and final coat needs to dry until matte and should take no more than an hour, if you leave it too long you will find the polishing step very difficult.


How to Polish Plaster?

When it comes to polishing the plaster, take your trowel and hold it flat against where you have plastered whether it be the wall or the ceiling. Lightly press and move in small circles, the aim is to flatten and burnish the plaster, which brings out the contrasting colours that give Venetian plaster its unique finish. Be careful not to let the corners of the trowel scratch or nick the plaster, if this does happen be sure to repair it immediately, and leave to dry to a matte finish again. Next use a lint-free cloth to wipe away any dust. Just like applying the second coat, the finer the grain of the surface, the higher its sheen will be and the more light it will reflect. Wipe down again with your lint-free cloth to remove the final dust.


What Will the Finish of my Plaster be?

There are a number of finishes you can use to bring up the shine of your Venetian polished plaster to protect it against dirt and grime, making it easier to clean. Wax is one of the most popular, and the one most often used by polished plaster specialists, easy to apply simply use a mutton cloth to apply the wax until you see that stunning mirror finish you’ve been waiting for.