Polished plaster in the UK is not just an emerging trend; it has been around for centuries. Invented by the early Romans, this plaster would be used to decorate the walls of important structures. Even the Egyptians used to crush gypsum and mix it with water to make a paste which they used in the pyramids. With the passage of time, people began to improve this beautiful product and made it better.
Traditionally, the gypsum plaster was applied in three coats. The first coat was called the “scratch coat”. The reason for this name was that it had an approximate thickness of ½” and then it was scraped up with some kind of rake to make a scratchy surface. This scratchy surface made a base for the second coating. The second coat was also known as the “brown coat” and it was applied to flatten the wall. It is smoother than the first layer but just a tad rough to allow the third and final layer to sit on it.
The thickness of this layer is almost the same as that of the first one. The third and last coat was called the “finish coat”. This coat was to make the wall smooth and silky and even any rough edge there might be. The last layer was usually painted but in the time when paints were not available, the plaster was left to the color of the natural raw materials with which it was made. In the UK, most people would call it polished plaster, faux finish or Venetian plaster.
When people think Venetian plaster, they assume that it is a wall with a smooth finish and color variations. In reality, Venetian plaster is more than that. It is a technique of applying plaster in thin layers to give it the appearance of depth. Some plasterers apply plaster in very thin layers over dry walls.
If the plaster coatings are going to be thin then they should be done 4 to 5 times i.e. 5 coatings should be applied on the drywall to eradicate any imperfections. But the lesser amount of coating is required if you are going to use a thicker base with the plaster. In thicker bases, the second-last coating will require some treatment before a finishing coat.
Today, techniques for applying polished plaster techniques in the UK have greatly improved and material like clay, gypsum, cement, acrylic, and lime are available. Each has its own specific finishing effect. The most popular one being acrylic plaster which is widely available at supply stores and can also be bought online. The best thing about it is that it is easy to apply. It can be just as easily patched up and is very durable.
The installation price is low and affordable for most people. Compared to other types of plasters, this can be tinted to any color for a very low cost. The reason is that coloring agents are readily available and this product is very thin.