What’s Gypsum Veneer?

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Plaster veneer is a method of finishing interior walls using specially formulated plasterboards and a thin layer of plaster. It offers many benefits of traditional lath and plaster without the associated costs. The process is similar to the older lath and plaster method, but with less material used. Walls need to cure for several days to over a week before applying paint, wallpaper, or other touch-ups.

Plaster veneer, also called plaster shaving in some countries, is a method of finishing interior walls. The process of applying a plaster cladding begins with specially formulated plasterboards, which are nailed onto wall studs to create a flat interior surface. A thin layer of plaster can then be applied to the plaster, resulting in a smooth, seamless finish. Stains can be mixed into the plaster before it is applied if some color is desired, although it is also possible to apply paint or wallpaper at any time after the material has dried. Gypsum veneer is typically more expensive than drywall, although it offers many of the benefits of a traditional lath and plaster finish without the associated costs.

Prior to about the 1950s, the lath and plaster method was the most common technique used to create interior wall surfaces in the Western world. This was a very labor-intensive method that involved nailing horizontally oriented lathing strips to the interior wall studs. About 13 millimeters (0.5 inch) of plaster was then applied to the lathing in two coats. The first coat of plaster would be pressed through the gaps in the lath material, then the second coat could provide a smooth, strong surface. Drywall began to replace lath and plaster in the 1950s, although plaster veneer was also introduced as a combined method.

Early plaster cladding techniques were very similar to the older lath and plaster method. Instead of wooden clapboard, thin strips of plasterboard were used to anchor the plaster in place. Later developments resulted in larger sheets of this drywall, which were essentially just drywall with a different outer layer. These specially designed gypsum boards are covered in two layers of paper, one of which absorbs moisture and the other resists it. This allows the plaster to adhere to the boards, while the internal plaster core remains protected from moisture damage.

Gypsum veneer is applied similarly to the older lath and plaster method, although much less material is used. In some cases the plaster layer is only 3 millimeters (0.1 inch) thick, although different applications may vary. Walls typically need to cure for several days to over a week, depending on the thickness of the application. After they have cured, you can then apply paint, wallpaper or other touch-ups. It is also possible to mix the tints with the plaster before applying, which can lead to colored walls that don’t need painting or another type of finish.

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