Venetian plaster is a popular way of describing plasters that were manufactured in the north of Italy and primary in places like Venice. However, most people in this particular industry use the term Venetian plaster more as a technique or style rather than the actual product, and it can also be named marble plaster or polished plaster, although not all finishes are polished up, yes it can get a bit confusing.
A traditional Venetian plaster will be made with lime and marble dust, although lots of the modern-day Venetian plasters are synthetic-based and are made to imitate the appearance of authentic Venetian plasters, however, there are several purists who will exclusively use the traditional lime based Venetian plasters and in the end, it’s really down to what the consumer wants and is willing to pay for.
What’s the difference between Synthetic Venetian plasters and natural lime-based Venetian plasters?
That is a question that gets discussed quite a bit on many communities globally, and of course it has come up numerous times on the plasterers forums. Some feel that nothing is better than using all natural lime-based Venetian plasters, for example, the traditional way of doing things. On the other hand, many others believe synthetic Venetian plasters are better because they are more controlled, and you know how they’re likely to react, but then again, can a traditional Venetian plaster be beaten with quality not to mention the desired look and feel. There’s a good blog on this subject available here.
Venetian plaster is generally an extremely thin finish that you either apply using a small trowel or spatula, and the finish is built up over many layers. These layers are then burnished to create a smooth surface that gives the illusion of great depth and texture. When Venetian plaster is left unburnished it provides a matte finish.
There are lots of Venetian plaster techniques and a few of the ones you may have heard of are marmorino, and scagliola and travertine but the sky is the limit when considering designs and textures… When Venetian plaster is applied properly it can be used to produce a marble like finish as an alternative for the genuine thing when it’s impossible to use the actual marble, For example, making a column out of marble will be very expensive but employing a Venetian plasterer to create the marble effect will be a hell of a lot less, and you wouldn’t be able to distinguish the difference.
If you’re looking for Venetian plastering in the South of England, then I can really only advocate one company, and that is a plasterer in Weybridge named CES Coating. I’ve worked with them a few times over many years and over the years, their business has grown exponentially through word of mouth and repeat business.