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What Are The Different Types Of Plastering?

Plastering is a versatile construction process that has been used for generations to give smooth, long-lasting, and aesthetically beautiful finishes to surfaces both inside and outside of buildings. There are many different types of plastering procedures, ranging from the old lime plaster to the contemporary gypsum plaster. Each of these methods is suitable for a specific use or environment. 

In this article, we will discuss the wide variety of plastering techniques, the distinctive qualities that each technique possesses, and the situations in which each approach is particularly effective. Whether you are constructing a new building or remodelling an existing one, being aware of the many forms of plastering will assist you in achieving the intended appearance and functionality for your project without sacrificing quality.

What Are The Different Types Of Plastering?

Several types of plastering techniques are used in construction, each with its characteristics and suitability for different applications. Here are some of the most common types:

  • Lime Plaster: Lime plaster is one of the oldest types of plaster used in construction. It is made from lime, sand, and water, and it offers good breathability and flexibility. Lime plaster is often used for historic restoration projects due to its compatibility with older building materials.
  • Gypsum Plaster: Gypsum plaster, also known as plaster of Paris, is a widely used modern plastering material. It is made from gypsum powder mixed with water, resulting in a smooth and easy-to-work-with plaster. Gypsum plaster sets quickly and is suitable for both interior walls and ceilings.
  • Cement Plaster: Cement plaster is a mixture of cement, sand, and water. It is durable and provides a strong, hard finish. Cement plaster is commonly used for exterior walls and surfaces exposed to harsh weather conditions due to its strength and resistance to moisture.
  • Clay Plaster: Clay plaster is an eco-friendly alternative made from natural clay, sand, and fibres. It has excellent thermal properties and regulates indoor humidity levels, making it suitable for sustainable construction projects. Clay plaster is often used for interior walls to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
  • Venetian Plaster: Venetian plaster is a decorative plastering technique that originated in Venice, Italy. It consists of multiple layers of polished plaster applied with a trowel to create a smooth and glossy finish. Venetian plaster can be tinted to create a wide range of colours and textures, making it popular for high-end interior design projects.
  • Acrylic Plaster: Acrylic plaster is a modern plastering material made from acrylic polymers. It offers excellent adhesion, flexibility, and durability, making it suitable for interior and exterior surfaces. Acrylic plaster is resistant to cracking and fading, making it ideal for long-lasting finishes.
  • Sand Plaster: Sand plaster is a traditional plastering material made from lime, sand, and water. It is similar to lime plaster but contains a higher proportion of sand, resulting in a rougher texture. Sand plaster is often used for exterior walls and surfaces where a more rustic appearance is desired.

These are just a few examples of the many types of plastering techniques available. The choice of plastering method depends on factors such as the desired finish, the environment, and the specific requirements of the project.

What Is The Standard Plastering For Walls?

The standard plastering method for walls often depends on the specific requirements of the project, the environmental conditions, and the desired finish. However, one of the most commonly used plastering techniques for interior walls is gypsum plaster (also known as plaster of Paris). Gypsum plaster is popular for its ease of application, smooth finish, and relatively quick drying time.

Here’s why gypsum plaster is often considered standard for wall plastering:

  • Ease of Application: Gypsum plaster can be easily mixed with water to form a workable paste, which can then be applied directly onto the wall surface using a trowel.
  • Smooth Finish: Gypsum plaster naturally dries to a smooth surface, requiring minimal additional work to achieve a level finish. This makes it suitable for painting or wallpapering directly after application.
  • Quick Drying Time: Compared to traditional lime plaster, gypsum plaster typically dries relatively quickly, allowing for faster progress on the construction project.
  • Versatility: Gypsum plaster can be applied to a variety of wall substrates, including brick, block, concrete, and plasterboard (drywall). This versatility makes it suitable for a wide range of interior wall surfaces.
  • Fire Resistance: Gypsum plaster offers inherent fire resistance, making it a popular choice for interior walls where fire safety is a concern.

While gypsum plaster is commonly used for interior wall plastering, other types of plastering materials such as cement plaster or lime plaster may also be used depending on factors such as project specifications, budget constraints, and aesthetic preferences. Additionally, specialized plastering techniques like Venetian plaster may be employed for decorative finishes in upscale interior design projects.

How Many Levels Are There In Plastering?

In the context of plastering, the term “levels” typically refers to the stages or coats of plaster applied during the plastering process. There are generally three main levels or coats involved in traditional plastering:

  • Scratch Coat (First Coat): The scratch coat is the first layer of plaster applied directly to the substrate (such as masonry, brick, or lath). It is called the scratch coat because once it’s applied, it’s scratched or scored to provide a rough surface for better adhesion of subsequent coats. The scratch coat is typically a thicker layer designed to fill in gaps and provide a base for the subsequent coats.
  • Brown Coat (Second Coat): The brown coat, also known as the levelling coat or floating coat, is applied over the scratch coat once it has set but is still slightly damp. The brown coat is thinner than the scratch coat and is used to level and smooth out the surface. It provides a base for the final finish coat.
  • Finish Coat (Third Coat): The finish coat is the final layer of plaster applied to the surface. It is usually a thin layer of plaster that is carefully smoothed and textured to achieve the desired appearance. The finish coat can be left as is for a smooth surface or textured for decorative effects.

These three levels or coats of plastering ensure that the surface is properly prepared, levelled, and finished to meet the desired aesthetic and functional requirements. However, in some cases, additional coats or layers may be applied depending on the specific requirements of the project or the desired finish.


Plastering is a multi-purpose building method that entails covering surfaces with layers of plaster to make them smooth, long-lasting, and visually beautiful. The many plastering techniques that have evolved throughout the centuries each have their special qualities and are best suited to certain tasks.

A variety of plastering materials are available, each with its own set of benefits and things to think about, such as modern gypsum plaster and more classic lime plaster. Project specifications, weather, and desired finish are some of the variables that should be considered while deciding on a plastering process.

Three primary coats—the scratch coat, the brown coat, and the finish coat—are typically applied during the plastering process. To achieve the desired look and functionality, the surface is prepared, levelled, and finished with a series of coats.

Learning the various plastering techniques and when to use them is crucial for any building project, whether it’s a renovation or a new construction. Plastering, when done properly, can improve the aesthetics, longevity, and structural soundness of both interior and external surfaces, adding value to the building as a whole.

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