Plaster & Fiberglass Mesh
A plasterer is a tradesman who works with plaster, fiberglass mesh , stucco and other materials, using various tools creating smooth or textured surfaces. The creation of plasterwork, called plastering, has been used in building and construction for centuries.
Plasterwork is one of the most ancient crafts in connection with building & construction. The earliest evidence of plastering dates back to primitive man, building huts and other dwellings of sticks, covered with mud. The Pyramids of Egypt show evidence of plasterwork from over four thousand years ago. Egyptians used plaster made from Gypsum.
Very early Greek Architecture used a plaster of a fine white lime, Stucco. Stucco has been found at Mycenae. The art of stucco had reached perfection in Greece more than five centuries before Christ. Plaster & stucco have been used worldwide to cover temples internally and externally, even those constructed of marble. This craft involves a large variety of implements. Materials of the plasterer include laths, lime, sand, hair & a variety of cements to name a few. Stucco can be combined with other ingredients, like pigments, to form color washes.
Most laths are narrow cut strips of straight grained wood, typically American or Baltic Fir, in lengths of two to four feet and from 1/8″ to 1/2″ thick. Thicker laths are used on ceilings to support the weight of the plaster, while the thinner laths are used on vertical partitions, such as walls.
The lime used in internal plastering is from chalk, oyster shells or pure limestone. Hydraulic lines are also used for external plaster work. Hair is used in plastering as a binding medium. Traditionally, horse hair & ox hair was favored by plasterers worldwide, as the hair functions like fiberglass resin, controlling & containing any small cracks within the mortar as it dries & is subject to flexing. Stucco, or render, is a material made of an aggregate or binder, & water. Applied wet, stucco hardens to a very dense solid. Stucco has been used to cover less appealing construction such as concrete, cinder blocks, clay & brick.
There are differences between stucco, mortar & plaster, and it’s based more on the use rather than the composition. In the latter 19th century, plaster was used inside of buildings & stucco on the outside. Stucco & plaster consist of the same materials, lime and sand (also used in mortar). For additional strength, plant & animal fibers were often added. Traditional stucco is made of lime, sand & water, while modern stucco is made from Portland Cement, sand & water. Lime increases the permeability and workability of modern stucco. Structural properties can be improved by adding acrylics & glass fibers. Traditional stucco is durable, attractive & weather resistant. Paint should never be applied over stucco, as stucco needs to breathe, & removing stucco requires expensive sand blasting. A stucco home can be finished with a color pigment added to the concrete when it’s originally placed before curing, & thus concrete will never require painting.