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Very old plasterwork in Pompei

A plasterer is a tradesman who works with plaster, such as forming a layer of plaster on an interior wall or plaster decorative mouldings on ceilings or walls. The process of creating plasterwork, called plastering, has been used in building construction for centuries.

Plasterwork is one of the most ancient of handicrafts employed in connection with building operations, the earliest evidence showing that the dwellings of primitive man were erected in a simple fashion with sticks and plastered with mud.

The pyramids in Egypt contain plasterwork executed at least four thousand years ago, probably much earlier, and yet existing, hard and durable, at the present time. From recent discoveries it has been ascertained that the principal tools of the plasterer of that time were practically identical in design, shape and purpose with those used today. For their finest work the Egyptians used a plaster made from calcined gypsum just like plaster of Paris of the present time, and their methods of plastering on reeds resemble in every way our lath, plaster, float and set work. Hair was introduced to strengthen the stuff, and the whole finished somewhat under an inch thick.

In the more common operations of plastering, comparatively few tools and few materials are required, but the workman efficient in all branches of the craft will possess a very large variety of implements.

The finishing or setting plaster coat which is about 3/16 inches thick is worked with a hand trowel on the surface of the rendering, which must first be well wetted. The plaster is applied in two coats to slow the drying speed of the second coat and after drying must still be wetted and worked for a time to produce a thin film of watery plaster which has the effect of "Polishing" the finished surface. This finishing plaster is normally trowelled on two or three passes to achieve this.

Various plastering techniques include:-

*Plasterboarding and skimming

* Bonding and skimming

* Skimming over artex

* Lime plastering

* Decorative plastering and mouldings including coving and cornicing, ceiling roses, corbels, panel and dado.

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03 December 2020
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