ALL THE EXTRAS...
There are natural sealer and synthetic sealers. Read more on sealers in our maintenance and sealers section.
Are used when you don't need waterproofing protection but a mild resistance against minor dirt, stains or dust. These sealers include natural beeswax and soap. When you seal plaster, it's often much harder to repair the plaster and some of the environmentsl aspects are lost.. Don't use these on exteriors, shower stalls or more 'extreme' areas. These sealers prevent any possible 'rubbing off' of really dark tinted colors off the wall or lime dust refusing to get off the wall.
Natural beeswax can be applied with a rag, applying small amounts then buffing it out right after. Beaswax is a very traditional way of sealing plaster only on interiors. You can use clear beaswax, or try different colors for more variation and depth (mostly for accent areas). Wax gives it great dirt and minor stain protection. Wax is very easy to reapply any time. Wax / colored wax is great to on polished plaster to give it a more uniform sheen, covering all the areas which weren't burnished. When waxing Veneziano, it's easy to get streaks. Dampen a soft rag with Lacquer Thinner and go over the wall polishing it at the same time. This will give you a mirror like sheen and also take away any accidental heavier spots of wax.
The biggest downside with wax is that it stinks. It smells really bad. Once it dries the odor completely disappears withing hours and there's no off gassing. Wax has solvents. You have to wear a respirator and gloves when applying.
Colored waxes go really well over colors you want to deepen in tone, like deep reds.
We recommend BriWax. Try getting the Toluene free version for less odor. Unfinished furniture stores almost always carry the stuff (as it's great for raw wood). Ace Hardware always carries it.
Some waxes will darken your plaster too much, so apply clear wax first, then your colored wax. You can even color your own waxes out of the clear wax and even add pearlescents and metallic powders.
There are lots of waxes out there. Our customers are always finding new products we haven't tried yet.
And as always, try the sample board first. Wax is a real committment. Once it's on, its on. If you ever have to go over wax, you have to scuff / sand the whole wall with 180 or lower sanding paper until every inch has plenty of 'tooth'. You can replaster it right on top, or you can prime it, paint it, or whatever you need. If the wax was very heavy, scrub it off first with a rag and lacquer thinner.
Soap is great and easy traditional way of sealing plasters in interiors. It takes away the 'dustyness' of the plaster and give a little more deepening of color. It also feathers out the variation. Here's an interesting and inexpensive way to make your own soap sealers: buy unscented, uncolored pure castille liquid soap. These totally natural soaps are hard to find in most stores. The best one (we think) is called Dr. Bronner's Pure Castille Soap. This is available in most natural fancy food stores. Cut it with about half or more with water, and apply it with a rag trying not to let it streak down the wall. Carerfeul going around corners. If you double it up too much, it might darken a little more in those areas. This is a really great way to finish plaster.
Tinting soap doesn't work very well, so don't bother.
You can seal it if it need the waterproofing protection. The downside of sealers is that it's harder to fix or change the wall once you do this. You shoudn't have to do it in whole houses. This is best done in kitchen backsplashes, shower stalls, public areas, some high traffic exteriors, extreme weather exteriors and alike.
We recommend solvent based penetrating sealers. The same ones used for natural stone tile and countertops. These are found at most tile stores. We sell sealer, but it's just as easy to go to the store and get smaller quantities. Make sure you but 'non'enhancing' sealers that won't permanently darken the plaster (unless you want to).
Follow the instructions on the sealer can on how to do this. You can usually wipe our brush it on. For extra protection, do 2 coats.
There are many synthetic sealer products on the market today. Many acrylic and many don't seal as well as they should. So far our favorites are Miracle Sealants 511 Impregnator (or Penetrating Sealer) or Dry Heat products from Australia. Use other sealers at your own discretion. Test them out before you do a large area. Acrylic sealers (and there many) will tend to darken your wall by 5-100%. They will leave a plastic sheen behind, whereas the solvent based usually are completely invisible. Acrylic sealer on the other hand can significantly improve the durability of a wall, whereas solvent based just give really great water protection. Sealer technology is always changing and improving. It's a technically complex industry. Try it what you think might work, and as always, on a sample board first.
TROUBLE SPOTS AND FIXES
GETTING STRAIGHT EDGES
If the line where you taped wasn't straight or was unmasked with a jagged edge, either wipe clean any excess plaster / paint with a rag and water, score dried edge with a blade. Add water to the plaster, making a slurry out of it, and dab small ammounts of the plaster with a small brush.
'Double-mask' spots like edges re-tape the area and run your brush or finger along the tape. Double taping means that you masked both sides of the trouble spot exposing only the sliver of the spot. That way, you won't have a smudge or an obvious looking fix.
If the plaster takes on damage, like a major ding or nail hole, simply take the plaster and apply it onto the spot like putty. Even it out level to the wall. Let it dry, and then sand it, or wipe it with a damp rag, or plaster slurry to make it look seamless. Remember to wipe away sealer or wax before doing this. If using an acrylic sealer, sand the area a bit, patch, then re-seal or re-wax. Try the wet sanding method if your not getting the results you want.
If the plaster drags or peels when burnishing, stop and let the plaster dry a bit more. If this still persists, spray the area lightly with water and try burnishing again. Usually peeling is a result of over-burnishing an area or burnishing when it is too wet. Otherwise, it is an adhesion problem with the wall. Sometimes, the first coat is scraped on and there's not enough plaster for the second coat to adhere and absorb into, crackling or peeling might happen.
Bubbles mean that the base coat is expelling gas. If you mix your own colors, sometimes using an electric drill at high speeds can whip tiny bubbles into the mix. You can usually cut them down by floating them out, or you can reapply another thin coat over the area. Once in a while you get tiny bubbles from minor chemical reaction when certain aspects of the products didn't have a chance to settle out. After a a few days or sometime a few weeks, your plaster should 'settle' and stabilise.
PLASTER IS NOT ADHEREING TO PRIMED WALL
It could be that the plaster was layered much too thick. At some point, the plaster gets too thick and will crack. It's designed to be applied in thinner coats. Another issue may be that the primer was too chalky (cheap product) or the base coat was oil-based instead of acrylic, or there was dust on the wall.
Sometimes, the room or wall was too cold: do not apply plaster in less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Another weather related issue is that the plaster can freeze, thaw out and be degraded. The plaster dried too quickly or is too near a heating vent or direct hot sunlight. The base coat sucked the moisture out of the plaster too quickly. Wet the base coat next time.
LIGHT SPOTS AFTER BURNISHING
If after burnishing, if there are undesirable lighter spots that you missed; spray water on the areas and polish them with 600-grit sandpaper, re-burnish the area with a trowel as you go. Small trowels work great for this.
OVER BURNISHED AND THERE ARE DARK SPOTS
First try lightly sanding the area with 600-grit sandpaper and wiping it with a damp rag. If this doesn't work try 400-grit sandpaper. If that doesn't do it, wet the area, and repeat the sanding. Be gentle. Wipe with a damp rag afterwards. Then, make the plaster into a slurry by mixing with water. With this slurry, dab the areas with a small brush, or trowel a very thin layer over the area and sand it out when it dries.
GAPS BETWEEN WALLS AND TRIM
This is because the trim is not caulked or the wall and trim are separated. You can prevent this by caulking larger gaps before you start. The smaller gaps can be filled with plaster on the second coat. Often on new construction, wood is not fully dried and the trim shrinks. This is why after a year or two, you see cracks in the caulking of the trim. In older homes you usually don't have to worry too much about this. For newer homes, try taping the trim a little closer to the wall, so if it does move, it's not too obvious of a defect. Try the 'double taping' where you mask only revealing the sliver of the gap and caulk or plaster it then.
CLEANING AND MAINTENENCE
Veneziano is easy to maintain. There's nothing to do unless it needs cleaning. You can wipe it with a damp or even wet cloth. Always try your worn sanding sponge over the area to erase minor dirt, then 400 grit or lower. If it's burnished, you don't want to scratch it with low grit paper. Un-burnished Veneziano, because it's not polished, can take 220 grit or lower. If that doesn't work, just put another skim coat on the area and then sand it. You can also add water to the plaster making a slurry, then dab it on with a brush or rag. If Veneziano is unsealed, do not clean the adjacent trim with oil. If it gets on the plaster, it will discolor. Wipe walls only with water, unless cleaning difficult dirt. If it is sealed with any type of sealer, then you can clean the trim with oil.
If you're applying plaster where you don't intend to have floor trim, make sure you seal the bottom 5 or 6 inches with an invisible non-enhancing stone sealer.
For tougher stained areas, try rubbing the spot out with Lacquer Thinner.