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Venetian Plaster Home /  Plaster Finishes

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 About Venetian and Italian Plasters

venice-2Venetian Plaster, also known as Italian Plaster, is an ancient building material comprised of lime and/or marble, which is applied by hand in translucent layers which harden over time to stone. Perfect for walls and ceilings, Venetian Plaster can be applied to any room in your home or business to stunning effect. When sealed, it is durable enough for kitchens, bathrooms and high traffic areas.

The term Venetian Plaster is commonly used in the United States, for what the Italians call Decorative Stucco or Stucco Veneziano. Not to be confused with faux finishes, authentic Italian lime plasters are derived from a hydrated lime powder.

Natural lime plasters have been around since ancient times, but reached a new level of art form during the Renaissance in Venice,  where building structures could not support

the weight  of marble and stone. Plastered walls created the look of polished stone without the weight, and could withstand the dampness and protect both interior and exterior walls from the elements. These lime plasters give more breathability and permeability to the substrate beneath the finish, and are resistant to the moisture and the saltiness that is typical of Venice.

Venetian Plaster is first custom tinted and then hand applied by trowel. The first layer is applied as a thin skim coat and subsequent layers are troweled with translucent layers of plaster until the desired texture and dimension is achieved. The plaster can be brought up to a high polish -  as in a Grassello or Veneziano finish, a low polish - as with a Stucco Milano, or matte finish - as with a Marmorino, and ranges in texture from cool, glassy smoothness to a rough, granular finish.

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The applicator's skill in applying each layer is critical to the look and feel of the finished work. Infinite color combinations are possible, from cool Mediterranean blues and greens, to warm Tuscan reds, golds and terra cottas, to clear alabaster whites and ivories. Colors can be combined for a richly opulent effect, and decorative mica waxes and sealers provide extra shimmer as well as durability. With color and texture you can create a look that is very old world, or dramatically contemporary.

Surface hardening takes place over weeks and months as the plaster is exposed to the carbon dioxide in the air and turns back to its original state: stone. It is an ecological finish: it contains no toxic chemicals and creates a dust-free, natural surface that is mold and mildew resistant, with colors that will age gracefully over generations. The finish breathes, absorbing and releasing humidity. Many of the finishes can be used for interiors and exteriors, making them not only beautiful but also profoundly practical for both commercial and residential areas.

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We recommend FirmoLuxTM Italian lime plasters. FirmoLux plasters are imported directly from Italy, with their manufacturing company located just 40 km from Venice. The limestones used in their plasters are not mined from the earth like other companies, but are dredged from river beds which originate in the Dolomite mountains of Northern Italy. The plasters are created from family recipes passed down from generation to generation, with more recent formulations adapted for application on modern substrates.

Nothing compares to genuine Italian plaster.  However, authentic Venetian plaster is not a technique to be attempted by the novice.  It requires careful surface preparation, mastery of specific tools, and training in the application of Italian plasters to achieve the desired effect. Our FirmoLux system of products is a natural lime plaster that is made from lime, marble and other natural aggregates from Italy. Most importantly, our materials are completely authentic, safe and will last for decades--just like they do in Italy. Invite Veneshe Master Venetian Plastering to apply a little bit of authentic Italian artistry to your home or business.

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