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What Is the Difference Between the Roman Clay, Venetian Plaster, And Lime Wash?

Plastered looking walls have been having a moment for few years now. Historically plastered walls became a popular form of interior decoration during the Renaissance period in Western Europe and it has been spreading since then. In the interior design world, it is considered a traditional wall finish that creates an elegant and timeless look.


I'm personally a huge fan of the plastered wall look and have incorporated it in many of my designs through the years. However, it has one pretty significant downside, IT'S EXPENSIVE. Both the material and the labor to get the look will cost you quite a bit of $.


Nowadays there are a few different ways to get "plaster" looking walls without using the plaster itself. A lot of, those who don't know much about the composition of the compounds say that their walls are plastered, however, when you see "The Plaster Look" in the picture, it can be either Plaster, Roman Clay, or Lime-wash. However, it's not all the same and they look very different in real life.


Below is the rundown of the differences and characteristics between the 3 main "Plaster" compounds :


// Roman clay //

Can be only used indoors. It is a type of natural earth plaster that is made from clay, sand, and water. It is typically applied in multiple layers using a metal or plastic spatula and can be smoothed to a fine finish. The walls usually end up having a stone-like appearance.


Our home office wall finished with the Portola Paint's Roman Clay
Our home office wall finished with the Portola Paint's Roman Clay

My home office with the Roman Clay walls
My home office with the Roman Clay walls

I personally used Portola Paint's Roman clay and know about the compound from this particular brand.


Accessories Used For the Roman Clay Application:



// Venetian plaster //


Venetian Plaster can be used for both exterior and interior surfaces. It is also a decorative plaster that is made from slaked lime and marble dust. It is often used to create a smooth, marbled glossy finish and can be tinted to create a variety of colors. Compared to Roman Clay, consistency of the venetian plaster is much thicker and is also applied to the wall using the metal or plastic spatula.


Venetian plaster texture on our living room fireplace
Venetian plaster texture on our living room fireplace

Our living room fireplace with venetian plaster covering
Our living room fireplace with venetian plaster covering

Venetian Plaster Paint and Supplies:



// Lime-wash //


Can be used for both interior and exterior walls. Unlike the Roman Clay and Venetian Plaster, Lime-wash has the consistency of a paint. It basically is natural paint that is made from slaked lime and water and has no chemical pigment added to it. Due to its thinner consistency it's applied to the wall using the spacial painting brush using rounded strokes. Once applied to the walls, It has a very translucent stone like matte look .



Overall the core difference between these three materials is that Roman clay is a natural earth plaster, Venetian plaster is a decorative plaster, and Limewash is a paint.


Limewash Paint and Supplies:




Xoxo


Mariam

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