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Are you debating whether or not you should give lime plaster a go? The truth is that this material has quite a few advantages:

  • It is breathable and can repel water
  • It is flexible
  • It is a good thermal insulation
  • Lime plaster is workable
  • Has high durability
  • Is a natural bacteria repellant
  • Has a few ecological benefits

However, there are also some disadvantages of using lime plaster.

  • It sets slowly and has an unpredictable setting time
  • Some types are caustic
  • The application of lime plaster might be time-consuming
  • There is a lack of qualified tradesmen who know how to work with lime

What is lime plaster anyway and do the advantages of this material actually outweigh the disadvantages?

We present to you “Lime plaster: all advantages and disadvantages” – a guide that will give you all the answers.  

What Is Lime Plaster?

Lime plaster is made out of water, sand, and lime and is the oldest form of plaster that was used by the Egyptians and Romans. 

Lime is usually recommended for the repair and renovation of old buildings. However, nowadays, such plaster can be used in modern buildings as well, mainly, because of the many advantages that it has.

Advantages of Lime Plaster

· Breathability ; Water Repellency

The structure of lime allows water to evaporate freely from its surface. That means that you are not going to deal with any moisture-related problems, such as mold growth and dampness, for example.

Lime plasters also assist in keeping humidity levels consistent. This helps minimize the occurrence of some health issues (cases of flu, skin problems, colds) as there is no sudden drop of humidity levels in the building. 

· Flexibility

Lime plasters are able to achieve relatively good strength, but, at the same time, they stay flexible and allowing for movement. That’s exactly why they are used a lot in older buildings that ‘move’ – this type of plaster will not crack like cement.

· Thermal Insulation

Lime plaster has large pores that are filled with air. This fact makes the material a good thermal insulator and a warm and cozy option (unlike the much colder cement).

· Good Workability

While still fresh, lime plaster has amazing adhesive properties and is extremely workable.

· High Durability

Once the plaster sets and hardens, it becomes incredibly durable. After all, some lime-plastered walls have lasted for literally thousands of years. 

Lime is also a good option for exterior plastering as it is weather-resistant.

Unlike cement plaster, lime cracks less and doesn’t require any expansion joints. 

· Aesthetics

A lot of people love the look of such plaster in their interiors. Moreover, the material comes in a wide range of finishes, so you will be able to choose the color, structure, and even grain size. 

·  Lime Is a Natural Bacteria Repellant

The material is alkaline which makes it a natural bacteria repellant. It is also an effective mold killer.

Fun fact: in the past, people would disinfect their cellars with lime wash.

· Ecological Benefits

Lime can be recycled after reaching the end of its lifespan. The material is also carbon-neutral as it is not made on giant plants that emit tons of CO2 into the atmosphere and lime is able to absorb carbon dioxide from the air.

Finally, this material does not release harmful substances, like VOCs.

Disadvantages of Lime Plaster

· Slow ; Unpredictable Set Time

Lime plasters don’t exactly have a standard set time. The hardening process can take a lot of time. It certainly does depend on the type of lime, but some plasters can take months to fully set.

As a result, the process is less predictable and it’s not exactly the best option for projects with strict timelines. 

· Some Types of Lime Plaster Are Caustic

Non-hydraulic lime does not only set slowly, it is also highly caustic when wet (the pH is around 12). That means that the workers should take extra care when handling the material and have to wear personal protective equipment to avoid chemical burns. 

The pH will certainly fall when the plaster dries, but the feature mentioned above might be a problem for some. 

· Challenging to Work With

Even though lime plaster is flexible, there are a few difficulties associated with the application of this material.

Non-hydraulic lime plaster, for example, needs to be kept moist, in order to set. In fact, it has to be prevented from drying for several days

So, at times, the workers would have to spend a lot of time and effort at keeping the conditions for the lime plaster just right.

· Lack of Qualified Tradesmen

A lot of tradesmen focus on gypsum veneer plaster and drywall nowadays. That’s why it might be difficult to find a qualified professional who knows how to work with the various types of lime plaster. 

It sets in the presence of moisture by absorbing CO2 from the air. Moreover, the plaster shrinks as it dries. If the tradesman is not familiar with these peculiarities, the results are going to be underwhelming.  

To Sum Up

When you’re considering using lime plaster, be sure that you understand all of its advantages and disadvantages before making your decision. You can learn more about this fascinating construction material by checking out our other articles by clicking here.

These were all the advantages and disadvantages of lime plaster. We hope our list has made it easier for you to make up your mind about whether or not you should use this material in your building.

In a nutshell, if you are able to find a highly skilled professional that has a lot of experience in working with lime plaster, then there should be nothing to worry about as this material really does have a ton of amazing pros.