Plaster 101

A Few Things You Didn't Know
Jeremy Mistretta
September 28, 2022

Plaster is the name of the game at New Age Artisans, and many of our clients are shocked at just how much there is to know about this design favorite! From clay plaster to the coveted Tadelakt, our team is well versed in all things plaster walls.

Many plasters are made from limestone.

Exterior stucco, venetian plaster, and Tadelakt are an environmentally sound natural material that is derived from limestone and free of chemicals + VOCs.

Tadelakt plaster was passed down verbally from generation to generation over a thousand years ago.

If you have been doing any research on modern plaster walls, it probably comes as no surprise to you that the Tadelakt system has been around for thousands of years. However, you might not have been aware that Tadelakt is a specific type of lime plaster and was created by the Berbers in Northern Morocco.  The Berbers, of Northern Africa have no written language. Therefore, this tradition was passed down verbally from generation to generation.

Plaster of Paris is actually gypsum plaster.

Gypsum plaster was coined the 'Plaster of Paris' due to the French Queen's response to the 1666 London fire that left only one fifth of the English city standing. The French Queen ordered all wooden buildings to be coated in plaster as a safety measure. The coat of plaster gave surfaces a hard and durable finish that was ultimately fire resistant.

Clay plasters are bonded by mechanics rather than a chemical set.

Unlike other types of plaster, clay plaster bonds through mechanical forces during application versus a traditional chemical reaction that most other plasters have.

Tadelakt plaster is hydrophobic.

There is a reason Tadelakt is so highly coveted. Unlike other plaster walls, Tadelakt is a lime plaster that can be used to create a seamless, smooth surface in wet areas like bathrooms and showers! 

We are honored to have a course dedicated to adding this specific type of lime plaster in your home. We walk you through every step from prepping your space to adding the brown coat and ending with a highly polished finish coat!

Clay plaster is easier to fix.

Clay plaster walls breathe with changes in temperature and humidity, making them easier to fix compared to other plaster finishes.

Traditionally lime plaster was used to keep water cisterns pure and clean.

Over time, this waterproofing method evolved, and now modern tadelakt walls are known for their beautiful blend of form and function.

The addition of soap into the curing lime creates a hydrophobic surface.

Rubbing olive oil soap into the curing lime plaster creates a chemical reaction that renders a nearly waterproof plaster finish.

Plaster can be used for more than just walls.

Our original plaster art is an easy way to add intrigue and depth to walls.