Is Polished Plaster expensive? This question is only relevant to the budget set aside for the wall finishes on a particular project but we will do our best to answer it clearly and explain what alters the costs.
Our finishes, supply and install are generally charged by square meter and range from £45.00pm2 - £140.00pm2 depending on which finish is specified. Small projects are subject to a minimum charge.
What is a small project you may ask? We class anything under 18m2 as too small to charge per square meter so this is when our minimum charge is enforced. Wall sizes or widths under 300mm are charged on a linear meterage rate as opposed to the square meter as they tend to take longer to apply the polished plaster to.
As seen on our website the range and variants of polished plaster finishes seem endless and different application techniques are used to create each finish with varying levels of skill. Some of our finishes are quicker to install and less labour intensive than other finishes or require fewer coats of plaster to achieve the end result. In turn this affects the cost per square meter for each finish. The more labour intensive the finish, the higher the rate per square meter.
Our plasters start off as slightly off white due to nature of the natural lime used to create them. To achieve the wide range of colours that we have available we add waterbased liquid pigments which are mixed into the plaster to create the desired colour. To achieve the dark and deeply luxurious colours, such as blacks, deep reds and blues much more of the pigment is required to turn the white plaster to the desired colour so therefore a black polished plaster finish will work out slightly more expensive than fore example a white plaster finish due to the extra material costs involved in turning the plaster black.
Polished plaster is considered expensive compared to conventional plasters that are subsequently painted over. The raw material used to create the materials that are then transformed into our polished plaster finishes is Lime. The process of evolving the raw material of lime into a workable plaster paste or powder is a lenghtly one. Below is the journey the lime takes:
Lime is an ancient, eco-friendly, renewable and highly resistant material. It originates from pebbles rich in calcium carbonate which are transformed into slaked lime in a journey through tradition and technology.
Just as in ancient times, wood is still the fuel used for baking the pebbles in the kiln. Not a single tree is cut down. Large amounts of scraps from local carpentries are collected and turned into sawdust. The sawdust is blown into the oven and burns without using gas, petroleum, coal or electricity.
Tradition and innovation combine in the baking stage. An automatic control system oversees every step of the process, in a continuous cycle lasting for about a week. The temperature is kept stable by metering the addition of sawdust and highly sophisticated filtering systems dampen the emissions into the atmosphere
The pebbles, crumbled by backing, become quicklime. Immerged in water, they are dissolved in a dense liquid, grassello or slaked lime, which is filtered before being poured into the maturation tanks. Unbaked portions, “calcinaroli”, that would otherwise jeopardize the product quality, are here discarded.
In the tanks, almost like a good wine, the slaked lime rests for at least six months. This is the minimum time for the material to turn into the chemical structure of matured slaked lime.
The slaked lime
It has been a long journey, but it is just the beginning. The slaked lime is now chemically balanced, pasty and of utmost quality. Before it enters the manufacturing process, it is micro-filtered once again, to remove the smallest impurities and make it creamy. Venetian Polished Plaster has been created.
Its one hell of a process which produces the finest materials. In our opinion, for the product that is achieved which then is used to create beautiful polished plaster finishes we do not consider this to be expensive.
The wide variety of polished plaster finishes are very labour intensive, as mentioned previously, some more so than others and install times can vary. It could take upto 3-4 days just to complete a small feature wall because of the layering process. When choosing Marmo for a project and maybe querying the labour costs we need to remember - Each of our applicators has a minimum of 7 years experience spent honing his craft, perfecting it, learning about the different materials, how they behave, the timings, how the environment affects the application, the list goes on. Not to mention the material we use and the lengthly maturation process it goes through in Italy to become the exquisit polished plaster that we will install for you.
In short, you are paying for the dedicated craftsman that has spent years honing his craft and the finest quality polished plaster material to create a beautiful masterpiece.