Saturday, October 17, 2015

Barnstable Village Antique Homes Open House

Now this is how to spend a beautiful crisp fall day!  Tomorrow, Sunday Oct 17 from noon to 3 PM, join us for a multi broker antique homes open house!  I'll be at 3688 Main St. w/Ellie Claus, armed with cookies and cider.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

When Getting Plastered is a Good Thing

Newly plastered walls and ceiling
If you haven't had work done to your home in a while, you may be surprised to learn that the dominance of sheetrock with mud and tape has slipped as many builders and homeowners choose blue board with a plaster veneer as their finish of choice for walls and ceilings.  This is especially good news for old house owners whose plaster is damaged or was removed and replaced with sheetrock.
If you do have original plaster, it is worth noting that in many cases it can be restored and resurfaced for less cost and better quality than replacing with newer materials.  Original plaster has a flexibility that modern replacements lack. Properly maintained it can last many years and have the added benefits of mold inhibiting characteristics and an unparalleled authenticity.

Though our house has much of its original plaster on lathe, the original plaster was removed on the ceiling and badly damaged on the front interior wall.  We felt that smooth modern sheetrock with mud and tape would stand in stark contrast to the subtle texture and visual movement of the original plaster.  So, we turned to Leigh Draper, a local plasterer with many years experience to help us with our restoration.  (Leigh services the Southern Massachusetts and Cape Cod area.  His phone number is 508-264-3497).

Though Leigh seemed a bit surprised by our request to leave the surface of the plaster less than perfect (he could make it as smooth as a mirror), he used his ample skills and talent to match the original plaster in our living room, dining room and entry.

Applying veneer plaster requires both knowledge and skill.  The plaster must be mixed and applied before it becomes too hard and unworkable.  Ambient temperature and humidity also play a large role in the success of the plaster finish.

Living room wall original plaster and blue board on right wall
and ceiling.

The top of the original plaster was badly damaged where
it met the ceiling.  Leigh filled the gap with plaster prior to the finish coat.

Mesh tape covers the joints on the new blue board on
the ceiling and right wall.

The plaster is mixed when ready to apply.

Detail of infilled area at top of wall where
it meets the ceiling.
First coat is put on seems

Finish coat turns a light grayish white when dry.
Ready for primer!

The ceiling reflects the light.  Plaster can be left
without paint and pigments can be added
to the plaster.
Painted with Farrow and Ball Slipper Satin on walls,
Elephant's Breath on trim, and Off White on floors

Dining room painted with Farrow and Ball Slipper Satin on walls,
Old White on trim and Off White on floors
For more information on the history of plaster and restoration of plaster:

Article on benefits of old plaster in Period Homes Magazine article "Plaster Perfect", March 2007.

The National Park Service has created this brief on the history and maintenance of plaster walls: "Repairing Historic Plaster Walls and Ceilings"