Plastering Applications

Evidence of the use of lime in plastering applications dates back to the construction of the Egyptian pyramids about 4000 BC.

Hydrated SA

Plastering methods were refined by the Greeks and Romans. Early plaster systems could contain lime, gypsum, marble dust, fibers and sand in up to three coats.

Modern plasters can contain portland cement or gypsum products. Exterior plasters, often called stucco, normally contain portland cement because of its low solubility in water. Interior plasters usually contain gypsum. The advantages of these plasters in modern construction include the following:

  • Lime is cementitious - Hydrated lime absorbs carbon dioxide from the air to chemically convert to limestone. This creates a hard-finished surface and enhances long-term durability by sealing hairline cracks.
  • Type S Hydrated Lime is water-retentive - This property enhances the workability (plasticity) of the plaster as it is applied to walls. Since water is needed for gypsum or cement to set, the water retentivity of the lime maximizes the cementitious reaction of these materials.

Product Application

Prior to 1900, lime was used for all three coats of the plaster system. Lime-based basecoats typically contained a small amount of Keene's cement or portland cement to assist with the development of initial strength. These plaster formulations often included hair or fibers as well.

Modern interior plaster can be applied in one to three coats. Basecoats are normally made with gypsum-based products, however lime is an important ingredient in the final coat, often called the "finish coat." Common mix designs for interior plaster can be found in ASTM C842 (Specification for Application of Interior Gypsum Plaster). Interior plasters can either be sand finished or smooth troweled.

Exterior plaster can also be applied in up to three coats. Exterior plasters or stucco can be made with portland cement, Type S hydrated lime and sand blends. Proportions of cement and lime are varied with each layer to provide a strong base and a flexible finished surface. Recommended mix designs for exterior stucco can be found in ASTM C926 (Specification for Application of portland cement-based plaster).

In both applications, hydrated lime enhances the workability as well as the durability of the plaster. The fine particle size of lime products helps in the retention of water in the plaster. This enhances workability while providing water for proper gypsum or cement hydration to occur. Gypsum or portland cement provide the initial set and early hardness for both types of plaster. Hydrated lime absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to chemically change it into limestone. This reaction increases the strength of the plaster over time.

Graymont Products

Graymont building lime products are manufactured at the Company's plant located in Genoa plant in Ohio. This area of Northwest Ohio is considered to have one of the best deposits of dolomitic limestone for the production of finish lime products in the world. Graymont Dolime (OH) Inc. offers several different types of lime products for plastering applications.

Ivory® Finish Lime and Snowdrift® Finish Lime are products that are autoclaved for immediate use with gauging plasters and portland cement, without soaking or slaking. These Type S hydrated lime products offer the high plasticity, tight bonding and smooth troweling sought by plasterers.

Grand Prize® Finishing Lime is a single-hydrate (Type N) product designed for use with gypsum or portland cement. It requires a minimum of 16 hours of soaking to develop sufficient hydration for use. Grand Prize features high plasticity and exceptional body for smooth application.

Bondcrete® Stucco Lime is an air-entraining hydrated lime that is pressure-hydrated for immediate use in stucco applications. Bondcrete meets the requirements of ASTM C207 for a Type SA hydrated lime. When properly combined with portland cement and sand, it creates a stucco known for its superior performance, economical results and ageless durability. Bondcrete Stucco lime should not be used in smooth-coat plaster applications.

Niagara® Mature Lime Putty is a high-purity dolomitic lime putty fully slaked and screened for immediate use. Niagara Lime Putty is slaked for a minimum of two months and complies with ASTM C1489 (standard specification for lime putty for structural purposes). This product is available in 45-gallon drums or three-gallon pails.

Did you know?

Lime is among the oldest and most vital materials used by humans. Most ancient languages have a word for calcium oxide. In Latin it is calx, from which the name of the element calcium is taken.