Natural plasters (lime plaster and clay plaster) are seeing a huge resurgence in popularity as more people are thinking about the chemicals used in building a house. Most modern building materials are made with highly toxic chemicals. This is especially true in products such as paint, cement-based plasters, adhesives, sealants and other products where chemicals are used to help the product dry and set quickly. Even products that are “Low VOC” can be loaded with chemicals, solvents and synthetic ingredients that release harmful toxins into the air for years after application. Lime plaster is a completely natural, safe, zero-VOC, environmentally sustainable and beautiful product that can be applied to almost any building and will last a lifetime.
Why use lime plaster in your home?
1. Lime provides a comfortable living environment
Lime plaster is a porous material and helps to stabilise the humidity of the indoor environment by absorbing and releasing moisture. This helps to keep the humidity at a more comfortable level and reduce condensation and mould growth. This is completely different from standard gypsum GIB plasterboard. Gypsum is unable to release any moisture that it absorbs and will eventually crumble and grow mould when the moisture in the wall builds up.
2. Lime allows buildings to breath
The breathability of a building is extremely important to keep it dry and stop mould growth. Limes porous nature allows any moisture that gets trapped in the walls to slowly release. This is the opposite of cement-based plasters and many synthetic paints which prevent moisture from escaping.
3. Lime is a low-energy, sustainable alternative to cement
Lime forms part of The Lime Cycle, where limestone is fired to create lime which is then used in plaster. During the curing of the plaster, the lime reacts with CO2 in the air to reform itself into limestone. Compared to cement which requires a huge amount of energy to make and releases a huge amount of CO2 which never gets reabsorbed, lime is a much more energy-efficient and sustainable product.
4. Lime plaster is highly durable and continues to get stronger over time
Lime plaster has been used for thousands of years all over the world. Historical examples of lime have lasted for more than 1000 years. Lime plaster is relatively slow to cure when applied (2-4 weeks), but unlike other materials which start to degrade as soon as they are applied, it continues to cure over time and increases in strength over many years. When compared to a painted finish it is much more durable and any colour is present the entire way through the plaster so minor scratches, dents or damage have little or no effect of the overall appearance.
5. Lime is naturally anti-bacterial
Lime is a caustic material and has been used for water purification and often in building for its disinfecting properties. It prevents bacterial growth and keeps surfaces hygienic and clean.
6. Lime plaster contains no harmful chemicals
Lime plaster is made entirely with simple, natural and safe materials. The most basic mixture contains lime and aggregate (sand or limestone), but other materials such as pumice powder, hemp/flax fibres, clay and natural pigments can be added to increase the strength or change the appearance of the finish.
7. Lime plaster is safe to work with and can be lived in immediately
Lime plaster is safe for the plasterer to work with (although covering skin is advised due to the caustic nature of lime) and newly plastered walls can be lived in immediately with no smells or toxins in the air. This is a welcome relief from paints which require a house to be aired out for weeks to remove the smell.