Figure 5-1: (C) J Wiley, S BlissBest Practices for Installing Interior Plaster Veneer

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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.

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Specifications & Installation Guide for Interior Veneer Plaster Ceilings & Walls

As described in the book, Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction Chapter 5, Interior Finish:

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 good performance.

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 /1 6 to 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:

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 1/8 -inch plaster grounds at the baseboard and around all door and window openings to guide the trowel and produce an even finish.

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

Industry & Trade Associations

-- Adapted with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.

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