What is Polished Plaster Finish?

by | May 18, 2023 | Polished Plaster

Updated 31/08/2023

Polished plaster is a beautiful finish that’s also called Venetian plaster. It offers a timeless, luxurious wall treatment that has been used for centuries to create visually stunning surfaces. This decorative technique originally came from Rome and gained popularity during the Renaissance in Italy.

In this article, we review the many benefits of polished plaster, its application process, and more.


What is Polished Plaster?

Polished plaster is a plaster made from natural materials, including lime putty, marble dust, and additives. The main components of this beautiful finish include the following:

Lime putty: lime (not the fruit) is a key ingredient in polished plaster. It’s made from limestone that’s burned and then slaked with water to create lime putty.

Marble dust: fine marble dust is typically sourced from crushed marble and added to the lime putty mixture. Marble dust gives the plaster its distinctive smooth, marble-like appearance, creating an elegant finish.

Additives: various natural additives can be used in the plaster mixture. These create specific characteristics or effects. The additives can include minerals, pigments, or other organic materials. They can influence properties such as colour, texture, adhesion, and workability.

The specific properties of the lime putty, marble dust, and additives can vary, depending on the desired defect and the manufacturer’s formulation. Some manufacturers may also offer pre-mixed polished plaster products, which can make the application process easier by providing a consistent, ready-to-use mixture.

The plaster is applied in thin layers to the desired surface. Each layer must dry before applying the next layer.


The Application Process

The application of polished plaster involves several steps that contribute to its unique look and texture. It all starts with the surface being prepared. The surface must be clean, smooth, and free of imperfections. A primer or base coat is applied to enhance adhesion and create an even base.

Next, the polished plaster mixture is prepared according to the desired colour and texture. The mixture is applied in thin layers with a trowel, with each layer carefully smoothed and levelled. After the desired number of layers are applied, the plaster is allowed to cure. Once it’s completely dry, the plaster is burnished, which involves vigorous rubbing of the surface to create a polished finish.

Finally, a protective layer of sealer or wax is applied to make the plaster durable and make it more shiny.


Enhancing Polished Plaster

Polished plaster can be enhanced in the following ways:



It’s possible to add colourants to the plaster to achieve the desired colour. It’s also possible to create a colour that’s already in your existing room, to create a seamless effect. You can choose from neutrals to vibrant colours and everything in between.


Creative Paints

Creative paints can also be used to enhance the look of polished plaster. The paints come in a wide range of bold colours to neutral tones. The paints add to the durability of the plaster’s surface, create textures, and more.


Wax & Protection

Wax and sealants can also be used to protect the surface of polished plaster. They help maintain the plaster’s quality and appearance, as the protectants also keep dirt and grime from damaging the plaster.


The Benefits of Polished Plaster

What makes polished plaster so popular? Check out these benefits that go with this fine, elegant finish.

Aesthetics: people love polished plaster for its beauty. They want a smooth, glossy finish and natural colour and texture variations to add sophisticated elegance to any room. Polished plaster can also be customised with a broad range of effects, making this a versatile wall finish for any interior design style.

Durability: when properly applied and maintained, polished plaster can be highly durable. The lime content in the plaster makes the finish resilient, allowing it to withstand minor impacts along with normal wear and tear. In addition, the sealer or wax coating applied to the finish adds more protection against scratches and stains.

Breathability: polished plaster is a breathable material that allows moisture to pass through it. This characteristic is especially beneficial in spaces that have high humidity levels, such as a bathroom. The plaster works to regulate moisture and prevent the build-up of bacteria and fungus. For these reasons, polished plaster creates a healthier indoor environment.

Versatility: polished plaster can be applied to various surfaces, including walls, ceilings, columns, and furniture. This adaptability makes the plaster suitable for residential and commercial settings, such as living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, restaurants, hotels, and more.

Eco-friendly material: polished plaster is also an eco-friendly material that’s made from natural materials, such as lime and marble. In addition, the finish doesn’t release VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air after installation.


Polished Plaster FAQs

How is Polished Plaster Applied?

The plaster is applied with a trowel and has the consistency of thick yoghurt. The plasterer spreads the plaster thinly, layer by layer. Each layer must dry before the next can be applied.


Is Polished Plaster Waterproof?

Polished plaster is not naturally waterproof. However, you can apply a wax or sealant to make the plaster water-resistant.


Can Polished Plaster Be Used in the Bathroom or Shower?

Polished plaster can be used in a bathroom; however, it’s not waterproof. For this reason, it needs to be carefully applied. And the plaster can be sealed with wax or a sealant to make it water-resistant.


How Do You Remove Stains from Polished Plaster?

Start with a soft damp cloth and apply a small dot of liquid dish detergent in the centre. Very lightly, use the cloth to buff over any spots of dirt or minor stains to remove them. Remove soap residue with another damp cloth if necessary.


Summing It Up

Polished plaster is an amazing way to create a decorative wall treatment in almost any room. This time-honoured technique creates a stunning, sophisticated finish for interior and exterior walls. The smooth, marble-like appearance adds a touch of elegance to any space.

If you’re searching for a bespoke, elegant wall finish, you may want to consider polished plaster. If you need assistance applying the plaster, be sure to reach out to a professionally trained plasterer who can offer professional advice to your project.

Polished Plaster Finish FAQs

Q: Is polished plaster suitable for both residential and commercial spaces?
A: Absolutely! Polished plaster can add a touch of elegance to homes and create a luxurious ambiance in commercial settings.

Q: Can polished plaster be applied to outdoor surfaces?
A: While polished plaster is primarily used indoors, some weather-resistant varieties can be used for outdoor applications.

Q: Is professional installation necessary, or can I DIY?
A: While DIY is possible, achieving the perfect polished plaster finish requires skill and practice. Professional installation ensures optimal results.

Q: Can polished plaster be customised to match specific colours?
A: Yes, artisans can create custom colours by mixing pigments into the plaster mixture.

Q: Does polished plaster require special maintenance?
A: While polished plaster is relatively low-maintenance, it’s important to avoid harsh cleaners and excessive moisture to preserve its finish.

Q: Can I apply polished plaster over existing paint or wallpaper?
A: It’s recommended to apply polished plaster to a clean, primed surface for the best adhesion and results.

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