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The Modern World of Plaster

by Glen Hamilton
Plasterer Melbourne

As a construction material, the use of plaster can be traced back as far as the ancient Egyptians, but its time is far from over. While it has become less popular in recent decades, plaster has seen resurgence with designers and architects, as well as high-end homeowners. If you want a cost-effective, versatile and on-trend construction material, plaster is it.

So, let’s have a look at some of the benefits of plaster as a construction material.

Can be used to create textures

Because of the application method, plaster can be used to create a wide range of textures and patterns. An experienced plasterer can create a range of surface variations simply by changing up the application method.

In some spaces, plain walls or ceilings can create a bland, sterile atmosphere. Patterned plastering, even if it’s just the ceiling or a single feature wall, can help a space to feel more organic and inviting.

There is greater variation in plaster than ever before

Advances in plaster mixtures and application methods mean that plastering has moved beyond the traditional lath and plaster on timber frames method that was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries.

While plaster is still typically made from limestone or gypsum, experimentation with different elements has led to some developments in texture and colouring.

Adding marble dust and then polishing the plaster creates Venetian plaster, an on-trend plaster finish that adds depth and a natural tone to the walls.

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Plaster is a green choice

The energy required to make plaster is significantly less than many other construction materials, including cement. It even can absorb carbon dioxide as it cures. Choosing to use plaster is choosing a greener future.

Further, plaster can be recycled and reused for other construction work, as well as used to help with water purification and fertilisation.

Plaster is non-toxic

Unlike other building materials that can release harmful dusts, plaster contains no toxic materials and releases no harmful dusts, chemicals or allergens. This means that plaster won’t affect air quality the way paint can. This can be particularly important for anyone who suffers from chemical sensitivities.

Additionally, because plaster is essentially stone, it is highly unlikely that mould will grow on it. As mould can cause serious respiratory problems, its presence in homes is highly concerning.

Plaster is a more durable choice

Unlike plasterboard and other wall finishes and materials, plaster hardens almost to the point of stone, making it extremely tough and durable.

Additionally, unlike other construction materials, plaster is relatively flexible. Therefore, it can withstand some structural movement. Plaster can even be self-healing. If a crack appears, the plaster can close the crack over time. The crack may never quite go away, but it will reduce in size. On top of this, plaster is incredibly easy to repair, so even if cracks do appear, all it takes is a simple DIY job to fix the problem.

Unfortunately, these benefits come at the cost of increased construction time. Plaster can take up to 10 hours to dry and usually requires several coats before the job is finished. However, with such an effective end result, it’s hard to argue this is too big a price for something that will last for years to come.

Plaster is regaining popularity and it’s easy to see why with its multitude of benefits. From creating a unique and inviting space to its impressive durability, plaster is only going to become more common in residential and commercial spaces as time goes on.

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