Venetian Plaster

Venice, Italy is famously called “the city of canals”.  Uniquely situated over one hundred small islands in a lagoon of the Adriatic sea, the architecture there is able to withstand the exceptionally wet and damp conditions due to the utilization of lime plasters.  The Egyptian Pyramids and many ancient temples were also 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 lime putty which may be mixed with linseed oil and various aggregates such as crushed marble grains.  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: 

  • Great alternative to paint and wallpaper
  • Incombustible alternative for fireplaces
  • Low thermal conductivity
  • Highly flexible
  • Highly customizable
  • Vapour permeable
  • Long lasting durability
  • Resistant to fading
  • Wash and scrub resistant
  • Absorbs structural movements
  • Withstands thermal cycles
  • Highly resistant to mold and mildew (ph 12.4)
  • Insect/pest deterrent (highly alkaline)

There is no limit to Venetian plaster formulations, and we are constantly designing new finishes for our clientele.

The early Romans used lime and volcanic ash to create a cement-like material known to be superior in its durability and sustainability as compared to our modern-day cement.  The technology has not changed since then, though modern additives and better grading of marble aggregates etc has allowed for a thinner application nowadays. Essentially this trade has been proven through the ages and is now popular again on a global scale.

The plasters we offer which are not purely lime are limited in many ways and do not have the range of finishes we offer under the banner of Venetian Plaster.  Venetian Plaster is typically more decorative than cement-based products, having the amazing quality of being birefringent.  When light passes through limestone and marble (Calcite), it is split into two rays that travel at different speeds and in different directions. (This phenomenon is known as birefringence).  Lime plaster consequently exhibits double refraction which can be observed with the naked eye.  It can be very interesting to look at all the varying visual and textural aspects of a lime plaster wall.

Because lime tends to shine and polish more than cement, and is used in areas where extreme durability is not required,  we have more freedom to design plasters with fine marble powders that produce finishes which are soft to the touch, reflect light, and have many color variations.  We can also add in any types of aggregates for decorative effect creating many unique finishes for our clients.  We can make finishes with cement just the same, however cement cannot produce such a refined finish as lime allows.  Many of our clients love our cement-based plasters for our “concrete effect” finishes but these are limited to certain effects.  Venetian plaster has many more formulations than Microcement, allowing for a variety of finishes for interior and exterior vertical surfaces.  Lime plaster may be utilized as stucco, slap dash, in bathrooms/wet areas, and in outdoor BBQ areas, but is not used on floors.  Venetian plaster is typically left as a breathable surface, allowing for vapour transmission which is desirable in many instances.  Pairing high end nano sealers with waxes can result in surfaces that exhibit good stain and water resistance.  

Of the great number of possibilities, typical formulations are lime, marble powder and marble aggregates, which when finished can be enhanced with glazes, waxes, and pearlescence.  Typical Venetian Plaster formulations are known as Veneziano, Intonachino, Marmorino and Carrera.  Custom formulations can involve heavy sand and even pea gravel, and special additives to allow for heavy finishes that look like old slap dash, or rock stucco that is adhered over new drywall.  Other custom formulations can use mica flakes, colored sands, matte marble powders and glass flakes as aggregates.  Provided that some lime and marble powder are used in the formulation, and the polymers are meant for walls, these plasters are classed as Venetian Plaster.  They may come in matte, shiny, paper-thin, very thick, and everything in between.

Strength 450-1450 psi
Decorative Based 100%
Water and Stain Resistant 70%

Up to 4 layers with wax and sealers


Cost sq ft

$ 15-20 / sq ft
  • Bespoke walls and ceilings
  • Custom Fireplaces
  • Exterior Features and BBQ
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