Veneer plaster, developed during the last century, was designed to compete with drywall’s reduced labor while still providing a genuine plaster surface. It achieves this by either eliminating or reducing the need for the brown coat associated with conventional plaster, and therefore, it is also known as “thin wall” or “one coat” plaster.
Veneer plaster is a good alternative product to use in the renovation of older plastered buildings because it looks like traditional plaster but is actually less expensive. It is also a strong plaster that is able to withstand structural movements which are common during renovations. In addition, veneer plaster has good fire resistance and can be used in radiant heat systems. However, these attributes depend greatly on the correct composition of the plaster mix which can be very manufacturer specific. Therefore it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s directions for both mixing and application.
The veneer plaster system commonly uses gypsum based 4’ x 8’ panels known as blue board that are covered with a special paper compatible with veneer plaster. After these boards have been put on the wall, the joints are taped by covering them with veneer plaster and then embedding fiberglass mesh-tape on top for strength. Next, a thin coat (1/16”) of high strength veneer plaster is applied to the entire wall surface. The surface can be left after this one coat or it can be covered with either a veneer finish or a gauged lime finish. This top coat can give the wall a finish that looks just like traditional plaster.
Veneer plaster has many advantages over drywall. First, veneer plaster is not sanded during application, but troweled smooth over several hours. This reduces the quantity of fine dust particles created, making it a cleaner project. Plaster is also more resistant to moisture than is drywall. This means it is also more resistant to mildew. Finally, veneer plaster is more fire-resistant than drywall.
You should also be aware of some of the disadvantages of veneer plaster. First, there are fewer tradesmen to do the work. It is more expensive than drywall. And, finally, because it is a plaster product, an entire wall has to be spread and completed at one time.