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Veneer Plaster: An Affordable Alternative

Veneer Plaster: An Affordable AlternativeThis week’s Ask The Craftsman question comes from Phil.

“To repair a damaged wall [drywall] seems so out of place, but hiring a plasterer to do lath and plaster is way too high a cost.  Is there an in-between solution?”

There definitely is an in-between solution Phil and it’s called veneer plaster.

A veneer plaster wall is like a hybrid of standard drywall and traditional lath and 3-coat plaster. It also hits the middle ground in terms of pricing. Here’s how it works:

Plasterboard (which is much the same as drywall except usually 5/8″ thick and has a special paper surface that is designed to hold plaster) is installed just like drywall by being screwed to the studs.

The plasterboard is then coated with a layer of veneer plaster. And that’s it! The plasterboard functions like the the old scratch and brown coats of plaster so all the plasterer has to do is apply the finish coat of plaster over top of the whole assembly.

Veneer plaster gives a very hard, durable finish and is hand troweled on in a variety of textures to match whatever you originally had on your walls.

With veneer plaster you get the look of traditional lath and plaster in a shorter time and with less expense. And once the finish coat is on, no one will ever know the difference.

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6 thoughts on “Veneer Plaster: An Affordable Alternative

  1. When patching the plaster on lathe walls in our c1833 house instead of sanding the joint compound I use a spray bottle containing tap water to mist the repaired area surface and work the compound with a flexible putty knife to a smooth finish. No dust and the resulting surface blends with the surrounding plaster.

  2. Our 1926 home in Des Plaines Illinois – thankfully just out side of the flood zones – has been settling after having pier work done 2 years ago. This being my first plaster & lath home – I had no idea what my husband had signed us up for. There are cracks growing in all the walls and ceilings. Do we wait to do any repairs, or would veneer be something to explore in the interim?

  3. I have a 1900 Victorian house in Utica, NY. I’m in the process of repairing the walls. I’ve removed all of the old layers of wallpaper and have patched holes with imperial board. I started plastering the walls with a blend of 90 joint compound and venetian plaster. For the finish coat should I just use diamond veneer plaster or keep the blend of modern plaster? Thanks

    1. The modern plaster will give you better adhesion but you will trade off some hardness to the finish. Either way is fine but if you just use the veneer plaster you’ll have to apply a bonding agent first to prevent the plaster falling off the walls.

  4. Hi Scott. We just purchased a home built in 1900 in Greater Boston. Based on what we see in the basement the walls are constructed of lath and plaster. However, the entire home is covered in diff wallpapers (none original) which we will be taking down. After tackling the wallpaper and who knows what else underneath it, with a steamer, we are assuming the walls will need to be repaired. There is also some visible cracking in the ceiling. We were considering having a contractor come out and just do a skim coat over everything. What are your thoughts on this? Is the veneer necessary?

    1. A skim coat and veneer is essentially the same thing. Just make sure the cracking plaster is reattached to the lath if that is the case before you skim otherwise the cracks will come right back.

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