Venetian plaster is a type of plaster that originated in Venice, Italy.
It’s made from finely ground marble dust, limestone, and other natural ingredients typically applied in multiple thin layers, each of which is allowed to cure before the subsequent layers are applied.
Although you can paint over Venetian plaster, it does require some prep work to seal the surface before painting. Then if you take the time to finish the plaster correctly, the brightness and texture are nicely visible through the paint, which gives your walls a new life and dimension for years to come.
Painting Over Venetian Plaster – The Right Way
When you are getting started with finishing your plastered walls, the following steps will help you paint over Venetian plaster the right way:
Step 1. Prepare the Venetian plaster surface
Preparation is critical, so start by putting down a drop cloth or tarp to protect your flooring.
Next, using a slightly dampened microfiber cloth (in mild detergent and water solution), wipe down the surface of the plaster to remove any dirt or debris. Once the surface is clean, allow it to dry completely.
Step 2. Inspect & repair the surface
Once the surface is clean and dry, look closely for cracks, holes, or other damage. These imperfections will need to be repaired before you can continue.
Fill holes or cracks with the joint compound using a putty knife. Once the joint compound is dry, sand it with 80-grit sandpaper followed by 120-grit sandpaper. This will give your Venetian plaster a smoother, shinier surface to paint over.
Step 3. Apply the painter’s tape
Painter’s tape is helpful to create clean, straight lines and avoid the paint on surfaces you do not intend to get the paint on. Be sure to pick a medium-adhesive, multipurpose tape suited for most common indoor surfaces such as drywall and plastered walls.
Start by taping off any areas, such as door frames, windowsills, and baseboards. Then, cover any electrical outlets or switch plates.
Next, use the masking tape to create stripes (about 2-3 inches wide) on the wall. Also, firmly apply the tape to the edges of the wall where you’ll be painting.
Step 4. Prime the Venetian plaster surface
Applying a primer nicely with a natural bristle brush or a roller is essential as it will help create a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to.
Be sure to use an alkyd primer specifically designed for use on porous Venetian plaster walls. These come with superior stain-blocking abilities that help keep old stains from bleeding through the new paint.
Also, remember that if you choose a roller, pick a roller’s nap length according to the surface’s roughness. Smooth surfaces, such as Behr Venetian plaster, require a ⅛- to ¼-inch nap. However, lightly textured drywall will require a ⅜- to ½-inch nap. Textured surfaces, like stucco or brick, require a ¾-inch nap.
If you use a paintbrush instead, choose a natural bristle brush for water-based products and a synthetic bristle brush for oil-based products.
Step 5. Paint over the Venetian plaster surface
After the primer on your Venetian plaster walls is dry, use a paintbrush or roller to apply the paint evenly in thin layers, and wait for each layer to dry completely before applying the next one.
Latex paint like Rust-Oleum Flat White is one of the best options to use for finishing Venetian plaster walls. If this is not available, you can find something similar at your local hardware store. Just be sure to use a matt finish paint for best results.
Step 6. Apply a topcoat on your Venetian plastering
After the surface has been painted and dried, applying a water-based topcoat sealant is recommended to protect the paint and provide a glossy finish.
Usually, these sealers are transparent, but they can also be tinted to match your paint colors. You can also choose a satin, semi-gloss, or matte finish to create a marble or limestone look on your walls as desired.
Whatever you pick, apply the selected sealer evenly and thinly, and wait until it dries completely before using the area.
Step 7. Remove painter’s tape, inspect your work, and clean
After the topcoat has dried, take off the painter’s tape and check your work to ensure you’re satisfied with the outcome. If not, you can touch up any areas that need it.
Don’t neglect to clean up accidental paint spills or splatters on the baseboards and flooring. It’s much easier to clean the paint immediately after the job is done rather than waiting for weeks or months.
After all, is done, remember to fold up your drop cloth and rinse the paintbrush and/or rollers thoroughly for later use. To make your bedroom walls look even more attractive use some knickknacks or paintings, and appreciate the new look.
Is Venetian Plastered Walls Out of Style?
Although the popularity of Venetian plaster goes in and out of style, this age-old surface treatment has endured as a timeless choice among homeowners for living rooms, bedrooms, and hallways as an accent wall.
If you are considering applying Venetian plaster on your walls, be aware that they are more expensive than other wall treatments and can be applied in different types and finishes based on techniques, which include Marmorino, Scagliola, and Sgraffito. Behr’s Premium Venetian Plaster, Valspar Signature, and FirmoLux are some of the most popular brands you can consider.
For more information regarding these options, you can get in touch with stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot in your area. They would be more than happy to guide you through the process.
The best part is that the beautiful, unique finish can be personalized with various colors and textures (including faux marble finish), making it an excellent choice for anyone wanting to add personality to their space.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Venetian Plaster
If you’re considering Venetian plaster for your home, it’s good to understand the pros and cons of this surface treatment first.
- Venetian plaster is easy to clean and is resistant to stains.
- It’s durable, long-lasting, and can last many years with proper care and maintenance.
- It comes in various attractive colors such as gold, ruby red, emerald green, jade, sapphire blue, purple amethyst, and topaz.
- Whether looking for a classic or modern look, Venetian plaster can help you achieve the desired effect. It also helps to add value to your old home.
- Venetian plaster can be difficult and time-consuming to apply.
- Hiring a professional is crucial if you’re not experienced in this type of surface treatment.
- The materials and labor for the Venetian plaster project can be expensive and typically cost around $10–$25 per square foot.
- This type of plaster can crack and is not recommended for high-traffic areas or areas subject to excessive wear and tear.
How Can You Remove Old Venetian Plaster from Your Walls?
Just in case your style changes over time, your old flaking plaster is getting too bad, or you want to redecorate, you may need to remove Venetian plaster from your walls. Fortunately, it’s not as difficult as you may think.
In fact, there are a few different ways you can do it, depending on the type of plaster and the condition of your walls.
- If the Venetian plaster is still in good condition, you can remove it by sanding it down with a power sander.
- You can remove it with a putty knife or scraper if it’s flaking or peeling.
- For stubborn patches or hard-to-reach areas, you may need to use a chemical stripper.
- If the plaster is still new and wet, you can remove it by rinsing it with water.
Once you have removed the old plaster, applying a new layer of Venetian plaster or paint over the area is easy.
The Bottom Line
Venetian plaster is an excellent option for anyone looking to add texture and style to their home. It’s easy to apply, long-lasting, and can be customized with various colors and finishes. However, it can be challenging to apply and is more expensive than other wall treatments. Also, it is not recommended for areas where it will be exposed to high levels of wear and tear.
So, if you’re considering Venetian plaster, weigh the pros and cons before you contact a professional to get an estimate of the cost. With proper application along with care and maintenance, you can enjoy the beautiful results of this timeless home décor option for years to come.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.