Of course that is a highly subjective question. If one were to restrict the meaning of a finish to wall and ceiling surfaces perhaps the only truly "real finish" may be the walls of a cave naturally formed.
Even simple structures of bamboo or mud i.e. are modified and formed by human hand. Mined and fired materials such as lime and gypsum, despite continuous use for thousands of years, require a higher level of modification and sophistication to produce a workable coating. Modern, 20th century coatings largely based on latex, acrylic and epoxies owe their existence to our modern day elevated scientific understanding necessary to create synthetic combinations of materials that would otherwise not naturally occur.
Therefore, for the purpose of this upcoming series of articles we presume to define "real finishes" as:
- Plasters and stucco renders that are applied as a wet paste and achieve a hard set
- Materials that are strictly mineral based. Neither exclusively composed of nor blends of synthetic materials
- Clay: clay plasters, cob, adobe, rammed earth
- Gypsum: stuc pierre, plaster of paris, Keene's cement, joint compound, GRG and many more
- Air lime plaster: lime putty, Venetian plaster, marmorino, cocciopesto
- Hydraulic limes: Tadelakt, NHL's, traditional plaster, portland cement
- Synthetic: EIFS, acrylic latex plasters
- Primers & topcoats: sealers, waxes, soaps
- Substrates and building systems: plasterboard, cement block, wire mesh etc.
What are the distinctive properties of these minerals?
Where do they come from?
How do they relate to our health and environment?
What makes them an appropriate specification for a given project?
These are some of the questions that this will be addressed. This blog is an educational resource that attempts to demystify and consolidate plaster and stucco coating information for craftsmen and artisans who utilize these finishes on interior and exterior walls and ceilings.
Collective knowledge is an advantage of the modern age. Please feel free to contribute your comments and experience.
Contributed by Patrick Webb