Final Clay Plaster, Part 1

In January of 2020 we made a huge push to complete the middle floor of the addition, which are the bedrooms, hallway, and the connecting passage from the existing house. After finishing the ceiling and floors, we needed to complete the final clay plaster on the walls before we could build the closets and shelves and move in. In retrospect, moving into long awaited personal space a month before we were all ordered to stay home was a serious blessing. Our kids were now in grades 9 and 12 and completing their school year at home, so providing some study and private space was an immense step in handling the pandemic.

I have already described the details of mixing and applying clay plaster back in Sept 2011, when we completed the first half of the straw bale house~ read through Final Plastering for all those details. We used the same recipe, did the same procedure for colour sampling, and plastered alongside our friend and mentor Tracy Calvert once again.

We mixed up the estimated amount of plaster needed in 5 gallon buckets. The next day we started with the hallway, which we wanted to leave uncoloured and as bright as possible since it runs down the north side of the bedrooms. Working around all the swoopy sculpture definitely takes up more time! Tracy and I did the plastering, while Colin looked after keeping the plaster mixed and refilled into our work buckets, and doing the sponging and burnishing as the plaster dried slowly.

It took us one whole day to do the hallway, and two shorter days for each of the bedrooms. It is important to remember that the amount of open, large wall space is not so much a factor of how long it will take to complete, but rather the amount of windows, edges, and sculpture. Those are the features that slow down the process and thus require time management considerations of each person’s role, as the working areas of plaster need to be monitored for dryness so the completed area will have a uniform, continuous surface. It is also good to keep in mind the changes in colour as the plaster dries, so attempting to fix up areas that have already set will result in colour patchiness. We are very happy with these walls, the hallway is indeed nice and bright and the warm orange tones in the bedrooms are cozy.

We are looking forwards to completing the last section of the addition this year!

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