Build fireplaces, walls, and chimneys with brick and mortar.
At first glance, few things are as simple as a wall. Anyone who’s familiar with “The Three Little Pigs,” however, knows just how complicated — and how fragile — walls can be. A Plasterer knows better than most, as it’s his or her job to help make them by applying a plaster coating to the interior surfaces of homes.
Although drywall is the go-to building material for most modern interiors, plaster was the standard until the 1950s, and remains popular today for its unique properties, which help strengthen, soundproof, insulate, and fireproof walls better than drywall.
Especially popular in vintage remodels and restorations, plasterwork is as much building art as it is building science. As a Plasterer, you first apply what’s called a “lath,” a backing of wire mesh or gypsum board to which the plaster sticks. Then you apply three separate coats of plaster, which is a mixture of lime and water with either sand or cement. The first coat is rough and covers the lath, while the second coat is smooth, in preparation for the final coat, called the finishing coat.
Along with basic walls and ceilings, a Plasterer may be called on to do exteriors — stucco, for instance — or to create decorative enhancements and textures, which can be achieved by mixing sand, marble, or stone into the finishing coat, or by using tools to etch patterns into it.
At the end of the day, both you and your plasterwork must be strong and sturdy, but also delicate and discriminating, in order to stand up to the world’s Big Bad Wolves!