As with every other industry in Australia, the plastering scenario too has undergone a sea change over time. Different types of plaster for internal walls have evolved since the early 18th century. These can be broadly classified into plaster used exclusively on masonry walls, lath and plaster on timbre framework, plasterboard on timbre framework again and dry lining which is plasterboard on masonry walls. However, these materials are not interchangeable and the repairs carried should be with the same material as on the existing wall. For instance, modern gypsum plasters should not be used to maintain or repair walls of common lime putty plaster as it is much softer than gypsum.
Before going to interior plastering options for home, it will be relevant to look into a specific plastering method that enhances the interior aesthetics of residential or commercial premises. It is known as solid plastering and prepares exterior and interior wall surfaces to accept coverings of plaster, cement or acrylic mixtures. It consists of fixing pre-fabricated decorative layers for cornices, attractive mouldings around doorways and arches and ornamental embellishments on ceilings. This is intricate work and requires high skill sets. Experts in solid plastering in Melbourne or any other city or town in Australia have to work closely with the architect and builder and implement the designs as laid down by them.
Here are a few plastering options that have been prevalent down the ages and can be used in your home –
- Lath and plaster walling – This technique has stood the test of time and has been in vogue right from the middle of the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century. Laths are horizontal strips of wood about one by one-fourth inches that are fixed by nails to the main vertical upright timbre which forms the face and framework of the wall. The laths are nailed one-fourth inches apart and the whole surface covered in lime putty mixtures. There are three steps to it. The first entails covering the gap between the laths with putty. The second coating over the whole wall is applied to make way for the final and third phase which is to apply a smoothed coating of plaster thereby making the wall receptive for a suitable decorative finish.
Each layer takes around 3 weeks to dry out so from the end of the nineteenth century, cement or gypsum has been added to the putty to speed up the drying time.
- Plasterboard on timbre framework – This technique was introduced around the middle of the twentieth century with plasterboards replacing laths. The plasterboard is directly fixed to the framework and the small gap between boards as well as the whole surface is skimmed with a setting plaster mixture. Later improvements in this method included adding a plastic tape or fine flexible jute fabric over the joints and gaps between the boards so as to reduce the possibility of cracks appearing at the joints.
- Plaster on masonry – Here unlike the other two, another external element such as lath or plasterboard is not fixed over the basic framework, instead the originally masonry wall of brick, block or stone is covered with plaster. To quicken the plastering process, traditional lime plaster has been substituted by three different layers – the first two being sand and cement and the third a setting layer of gypsum plaster only. Plasterers of today use a premixed gypsum based render to make their task easier.
- Dry lining – This is the latest option of plastering interior walls of a home. The masonry wall is layered with dabs of adhesive placed horizontally about 16 inches apart. Pre-fabricated plaster sheeting is then pushed on to the adhesive and carefully adjusted end to end of each board and levelled. The joints between the boards are covered with a thin application of a gypsum based sealant. There is no necessity to cover the surface with plaster again.
These are some of the options that homemakers have for internal plastering.