History of Plaster

Lime plasters have a history that spans thousands of years. The fact that lime plasters, renders, stuccos, and washes have lasted to this day gives building lime a track record that is unmatched today. Because lime cures over a long period of time it is an ideal medium for long term repairs. That being said, maintenance is not to be forgotten. On exteriors the outer most layer must be considered a sacrificial layer. To protect that layer would mean using lime washes.

In an interior repair context, the important factor is material and building systems compatibility. This makes a bigger difference the more extreme or aggressive the environment. If the interior of the building has large range of humidity or temperature swings the compatibility issue becomes more critical.

In-kind replacements are considered the appropriate method of repair, the repair should be the same or softer than the original plaster, so any loss that occurs, occurs from the repair not in the original material.

Building lime, specifically limestone burned in a kiln to form quicklime, CaO, then hydrated to form Ca(OH)2, or lime putty, mixed with sand and then allowed to cure by exposure to (atmospheric) CO2 to form CaCO3. This is used to fabricate lime plasters, mortars, and washes.

Historically lime was used to plaster floors at least as early as 11,000 B.C. It was used in Imperial Rome,13th Century England, 11th Century Mayan Cities, Japan, Germany, Colonial America and I’m sure other places I have not mentioned.