Venice, Italy is famously called “the city of canals”. Uniquely situated over one hundred small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic sea, the architecture there is able to withstand the exceptionally wet and damp conditions due to the utilization of pure limestone. Venetian Plaster, as it has come to be known in our modern age, is actually tried and true across the ages in many areas of Europe and the Middle East. The Egyptian Pyramids and many ancient temples were fashioned with limestone! The plaster is created using a natural process of first heating the limestone, to release carbon dioxide. It is then placed into water, forming a putty which may be mixed with linseed oil and various aggregates such as crushed marble grains. Now the putty is worked into surface coatings of virtually any color, texture, and sheen, which can be applied to any interior or exterior surface. This results in seamless, marble-like sheets of plaster which have the following benefits:
A Purely Natural Material
Correctly formulated as a truly sustainable paint or plaster, a pure, natural lime does not include any artificial admixtures, plastics, or harmful chemicals. It is environmentally friendly and zero-to-low VOC (volatile organic compounds).
Low Thermal Conductivity
Lime helps to create optimal thermal protection, withstanding hot and cold cycles. When designed correctly, a building finished with lime will keep inhabitants warmer in cooler climates and cooler in warmer climates.
Lime is able to bend and move with a building's structure rather than remaining rigid like typical cement or acrylic Stucco. Cement-based or acrylic Stucco will crack under any movement, allowing dampness to enter and become trapped behind a coating which is non-breathable.
Since lime is a plaster that is able to set with various aggregates, tints and textures added, the possibilities for varying styles of finish are vast. As you mix and match different lime based products, you can create varying levels of textures and sheen, blending and overlaying colors and products for effect. No other products in the design field exist today that can create such a vast array of finishes. With glazes, waxes and pearlescent additives etc everyone can find a finish that suits their needs and tastes.
If small cracks appear in a lime exterior, rain water will naturally mix with unreacted lime within the walls and run into the cracks, gradually healing them. Another advantage is that if lime wash is used over the lime plaster, then instead of repainting you can simply heal your walls with one reapplication of a slurry of pigments and lime.
Lime is extremely breathable, allowing any water that has found its way into your walls to easily escape rather than cause rot, peeling, delamination, etc. With typical plaster, water can rise up your walls and become trapped behind latex paint and cement, causing failure. This makes lime an excellent choice for wet areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, and building exteriors.
Historically, lime has served as the principal binder in mortar, plaster, render, and lime wash. Dating back to ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, as well as during the golden age of lime in the 19th century and up to modern times–lime paints and plasters have proven themselves as extremely durable and resilient. The Pantheon, the classic temple in Rome is constructed of lime and has lasted nearly 1,900 years!.
Once lime is cured on your walls, it is exactly like having seamless tiles of real stone. It will age gracefully and retain their colorr and beauty for many years. The eco-friendly tints are locked into the lime as it dries, thus protected from fading. The plaster itself is tinted and the color is one with the coating.
Wash and Scrub Resistant
All beautiful lime finishes are very resilient to washing as they are compacted using a trowel, unlike surface coatings such as latex paint which can be rubbed off. Most of the plaster finishes are sealed with natural soaps or water based wax and may easily be cleaned with soap and water. They are naturally antiseptic, and no harsh chemicals are required nor should they ever be used to clean lime surfaces.
Absorbs Structural Movements
The building materials of today are extremely strong, brittle and water impermeable. Due to their rigidity and strength most of the cement based coatings and mortars do not allow for the natural movement of the buildings. Cement based mortar and Stucco inevitably will not bend but rather break as the buildings shift and move under normal conditions. Due to lime's flexibility, it is a better choice, allowing the building to ebb and flow without any structural damage.
Natural Waterproofing Capability
Black soap in Morocco has been utilised to create waterproof lime coatings known as Tadelakt. This is more of a technique than a type of plaster, and any pure lime plaster can be used on exteriors or bathrooms with the use of almost any soap. Coconut oil soap has become the standard in the U.S., with many finding it to be a better alternative. As the plaster is compacted and polished, the soap is added throughout the drying phase and further polished. This creates a waterproof surface via the reaction of calcium in the lime and the calcium in the soaps. Typically called lime soap, it ages particularly well with some added soap rubbed into the walls every year or two.
Does not Peel, Flake, or Bubble
Lime, unlike other products, is breathable and will not trap water as will latex paints, acrylic and cement stucco, etc. Hence this coating does not typically peel, flake, or bubble.
Highly Mold and Mildew Resistant
In addition to being breathable and resistant to moisture retention, lime is also very caustic, being a strong alkaline base (ph 12.4). These conditions make it difficult for mold and mildew to grow on lime plaster surfaces. Thus lime is a desirable choice for areas of high moisture, including shower stalls, back splashes and home exteriors. Though cement is also alkaline when dry, due to its inability to breath and tendency to retain water, mold is able to grow while feeding on any organic contaminants which may be found, gradually producing acids that lower the pH and permit deterioration.
Also due to its alkaline property, ants and other insects, as well as rodents, find lime to create an inhospitable environment for them. They are unlikely to try to chew the finishes, as the lime will burn their mouths and eyes.
Seamless Alternative to Tiles
Regardless of how beautiful tiles may be, there will always be joint lines and the inability to wrap up and over surface edges. Tiles are difficult to place over curves without using smaller-size tiles, leading to even more joint lines. With lime plaster, you can have all the benefits of tiles plus the beauty of a polished surface without the joint lines. Our lime plasters can wrap around and onto any surface, giving an elegant and streamlined effect. Free from grout lines, your walls are seamless and easier to clean.
Lime is a natural fire-retardant, making it a wise choice for timber-frame and thatch construction.
5 STAR FINISHES works with many different materials to bring each finish to life. We recommend working with lime due to its many advantages, including its adaptability. Drawing from the products we work with listed below, lime is able to take on many different looks simply and easily: