Venetian Plaster

Training & Application

Venetian plastering is like the wall art beneath the art you hang on your walls. From shiny, smooth-as-glass finishes, to rustic and textured surfaces, I can help you create a stunning surface look and finish using all-natural, imported lime plasters from Italy.

Venetian Plaster is an ancient building material comprised of lime and/or marble, which is applied by hand in translucent layers that harden to stone. Perfect for walls and ceilings, Venetian Plaster can be applied to any room in your home or business to stunning effect. When sealed, it is durable enough for kitchens, bathrooms, and high traffic areas.

The term “Venetian Plaster” is commonly used in the United States, for what the Italians call “Decorative Stucco.” Not to be confused with faux finishes, authentic Italian plasters are derived from a hydrated limestone powder or grassello. Natural lime plasters have been around since ancient times but reached a new level of art form in Venice, where building structures could not support the weight of marble and stone. Plastered walls created the look of polished stone without the weight and could withstand the dampness and protect both interior and exterior walls from the elements. These plasters give more breathability and permeability to the substrate beneath the finish and are resistant to the moisture and the saltiness that is typical of Venice.

The plaster is hand applied by trowel. The first layer is applied as a thin skim coat and subsequent layers are troweled with translucent layers of plaster until the desired texture and dimension is achieved. Plaster can be brought up to a high polish, low polish, or matte finish, and ranges in texture from cool, glassy smoothness to a rough, granular finish. The applicator’s skill in applying each layer is critical to the look and feel of the finished work. Infinite color combinations are possible, from cool Mediterranean blues and greens, to warm Tuscan reds, golds, and terra cottas, to clear alabaster whites and ivories. Colors can be combined for a richly opulent effect, and decorative mica waxes and sealers provide extra shimmer as well as durability. With color and texture, you can create a look that is very old world, or dramatically contemporary. Surface hardening takes place over days or weeks as the plaster cures and turns back to stone. It is an ecological finish: it contains no toxic chemicals and creates a dust-free, natural surface that is mold and mildew resistant, with colors that will not fade over time. The finish breathes, absorbing and releasing humidity.