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Plastering techniques for buildings:
This article series discusses and provides a best construction practices guide to the selection and installation of building interior surface materials, carpeting, doors, drywall, trim, flooring, lighting, plaster, materials, finishes, and sound control materials.
Interior finishes are the most visible and, on a square-foot
basis, often the most expensive components in a house.
However, since many of these products and materials are
marketed directly to consumers, they are often not well
understood by builders and designers. Making good decisions
on such finish materials as flooring, carpeting, and
lighting fixtures can make a critical difference to homeowner
satisfaction. The builder or designer can play a key
role in helping the homeowner choose finishes that are
well-suited to the intended use, as well as providing the
structural support and prep work the materials require for
Veneer or skim-coat plaster has, for the most part, replaced
traditional three-coat plaster in residential work. It consists
of a single coat of plaster 1
/8- inch thick over a special
type of gypsum board, commonly called blueboard, which
is treated to bond well to plaster. Although the finished job
costs 30 to 50% more than standard drywall, veneer plaster
has a number of advantages over drywall:
A pleasing, smooth texture that is very similar to
traditional three-coat plaster.
A harder, brighter surface that resists dents and nail pops.
No raised seams, tape bubbles, or other imperfections
associated with drywall.
Greater mass reduces sound transmission.
Quicker installation: about two days for a typical
house, and it can be painted 24 hours later.
Requires no sanding, making it particularly good for
Surface Preparation for Interior Veneer Plaster Ceilings & Walls
Skim coat prep work is similar to drywall
with a few exceptions. Because the finish coating is less
than 1/8 inch thick, the boards must lie flat in a plane. Other
than that, the board can be hung pretty quickly with few
concerns. The screws can be left flush with the surface,
and butt joints can fall anywhere. Expanded metal corner
bead goes on all outside corners and self-sticking mesh
tape goes over all seams.
Some plasterers prefer to apply the finish with baseboards
and door and window casings already in place, protected
with masking tape, so the plaster can fill in any
waviness in the board behind the trim. Otherwise, install
-inch plaster grounds at the baseboard and around all door
and window openings to guide the trowel and produce an
Application Procedures for Interior Veneer Plaster Ceilings & Walls
Using a 12- to 16-inch plaster trowel, a
first scratch coat goes over all flat seams and then the finish
coat is applied right away. If the seams are allowed to
dry overnight, they will need to be wetted first or the dried
plaster will suck too much moisture out of the finish coat,
leaving a weak joint. The same is true of cold joints along
a wall. If a wet edge is allowed to dry out, it should be
rewetted. Otherwise it will be difficult to blend the new
plaster into the cold joint.
Different brands and types of veneer plaster get
slightly different treatments, but in general, the finish coat
is troweled on in one or two passes and troweled smooth.
Once dried, small imperfections or voids can be misted
with water and fixed with standard joint compound.
Resources: Manufacturers, Industry Associations, & Sources of Indoor Wall Materials, Flooring, Carpeting, Lighting, Sound Control Materials
Drywall Trims and Accessories
Clinch-On Products, A Deitrich Metal Framing
Nail-on and clinch-on galvanized metal corner beads
Con-Form International/Strait Flex
Strait-Flex fiber-composite mud-on corner bead for
inside and outside off-90 degree angles
Drywall Systems International
No-Coat prefinished drywall tapes for inside and outside
corners, off angles and bullnose trims
Curved metal top and bottom plates for curved wood or
metal stud walls
Grabber Construction Products
Drywall screws, corner clips, and fiberglass mesh tapes
Insta Arch Corp.
Galvanized steel preformed and custom arches for drywall
National Gypsum Co.
ProForm tapes and finishing compounds
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Questions & answers or comments about installing plaster veneer walls or ceilings.
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Steve Bliss's Building Advisor at buildingadvisor.com helps homeowners & contractors plan & complete successful building & remodeling projects: buying land, site work, building design, cost estimating, materials & components, & project management through complete construction. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Steven Bliss served as editorial director and co-publisher of The Journal of Light Construction for 16 years and previously as building technology editor for Progressive Builder and Solar Age magazines. He worked in the building trades as a carpenter and design/build contractor for more than ten years and holds a masters degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Excerpts from his recent book, Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, Wiley (November 18, 2005) ISBN-10: 0471648361, ISBN-13: 978-0471648369, appear throughout this website, with permission and courtesy of Wiley & Sons. Best Practices Guide is available from the publisher, J. Wiley & Sons, and also at Amazon.com
Gypsum Construction Guide, National Gypsum Corporation
Construction Handbook [purchase at Amazon.com] H17, Technical
Folder SA920 and PM2, PM3 and PM4, United States Gypsum Company, 125 South Franklin ST., PO Box 806278, Chicago, IL 60680-4124,
Lath & Plaster Systems, 092300/NGC, National Gypsum Lath and Plaster Systems, National Gypsum Corporation, 800-628-4662 describing National Gypsum's Kal-Kore brand plaster base
Plastering Skills, F. Van Den Branden, Thomas L. Hartsell, Amer Technical Pub (July 1, 1985), ISBN-10: 0826906575, ISBN-13: 978-0826906571 [purchase at Amazon.com]
Plastering, PM 5, Product & Systems Technology, US Gypsum, May 1998, web search 10.5.2010, original source: http://www.usg.com/rc/technical-articles/plaster/
United States Gypsum Company, 125 South Franklin ST., PO Box 806278, Chicago, IL 60680-4124,
Paraphrasing from this document: USG uses the term shadowing in this document in describing the visual effect over gypsum board joints caused by the lower moisture absorption rate (take-up) and lower capacity than gypsum base face paper. Shadowing at joints occurs where veneer plaster is applied over tape joints, requiring a second coat to completely hide the tape, providing a visually uniform surface. USG Advises: "This [second] cover coat must be allowed to harden and dry before plaster application is started.
Asbestos products and their history and use in various building materials such as asphalt and vinyl flooring includes discussion which draws on Asbestos, Its Industrial Applications, D.V. Rosato, engineering consultant, Newton, MA, Reinhold Publishing, 1959 Library of Congress Catalog Card No.: 59-12535 (out of print).
ASHRAE resource on dew point and wall condensation - see the ASHRAE Fundamentals Handbook, available in many libraries. The following three ASHRAE Handbooks are also available at the InspectAPedia bookstore in the third page of our Insulate-Ventilate section:
2005 ASHRAE Handbook : Fundamentals: Inch-Pound Edition (2005 ASHRAE HANDBOOK : Fundamentals : I-P Edition) (Hardcover), Thomas H. Kuehn (Contributor), R. J. Couvillion (Contributor), John W. Coleman (Contributor), Narasipur Suryanarayana (Contributor), Zahid Ayub (Contributor), Robert Parsons (Author), ISBN-10: 1931862702 or ISBN-13: 978-1931862707
2004 ASHRAE Handbook : Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning: Systems and Equipment : Inch-Pound Edition (2004 ASHRAE Handbook : HVAC Systems and Equipment : I-P Edition) (Hardcover)
by American Society of Heating, ISBN-10: 1931862478 or ISBN-13: 978-1931862479
"2004 ASHRAE Handbook - HVAC Systems and Equipment The 2004 ASHRAE HandbookHVAC Systems and Equipment discusses various common systems and the equipment (components or assemblies) that comprise them, and describes features and differences. This information helps system designers and operators in selecting and using equipment. Major sections include Air-Conditioning and Heating Systems (chapters on system analysis and selection, air distribution, in-room terminal systems, centralized and decentralized systems, heat pumps, panel heating and cooling, cogeneration and engine-driven systems, heat recovery, steam and hydronic systems, district systems, small forced-air systems, infrared radiant heating, and water heating); Air-Handling Equipment (chapters on duct construction, air distribution, fans, coils, evaporative air-coolers, humidifiers, mechanical and desiccant dehumidification, air cleaners, industrial gas cleaning and air pollution control); Heating Equipment (chapters on automatic fuel-burning equipment, boilers, furnaces, in-space heaters, chimneys and flue vent systems, unit heaters, makeup air units, radiators, and solar equipment); General Components (chapters on compressors, condensers, cooling towers, liquid coolers, liquid-chilling systems, centrifugal pumps, motors and drives, pipes and fittings, valves, heat exchangers, and energy recovery equipment); and Unitary Equipment (chapters on air conditioners and heat pumps, room air conditioners and packaged terminal equipment, and a new chapter on mechanical dehumidifiers and heat pipes)."
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TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
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