Architecture Interiors

Healthy & Sustainable Design

Let’s get Plastered, Part 2

Clay Plaster Wall Covering.

Like Shukkui plaster, identified in part 1 of this 2-part series on ‘Let’s get Plastered’, clay plaster has been used in interior design for many years.    When I think about clay, I automatically think of  art classes at senior school.  Creating ‘masterpieces’ for parents, which (if your parents are anything like mine) may still be on display in their home today.  So, what is clay plaster and why is it becoming an increasingly popular material of choice within the world of architectural and interior design? 

As with Shukkui, clay plaster should not be confused with the widely available plaster used by the majority of tradesmen in the  building trade.  The plaster used by the building trade for skimming out buildings can contain acrylic, resins, and non-organic materials.  Clayworks (a manufacturer and supplier of clay plaster located in the United Kingdom) states that clay plaster comprises, ‘un-fired clays mixed with minerals and natural pigments’.  

Image provided by Getty Images.

Clay is a naturally occurring material found in the ground all over the world.  It has a positive lifecycle including its. manufacturing processes, which are minimal and only involves the mixing of raw materials.  As cited by Clayworks,’this uses a minimal amount of energy, requires no water and at the end of the process, leaves no waste’.   At the end of its life, clay plaster is 100% bio-degradable.  It contains no harmful volatile organic compounds and can absorb toxins and odours from the air within a space.  

Similar to Sukkui plaster, clay plaster allows the walls and ceilings to breath. 

Noting the need for a change in the way we design and build, clay plaster can be used to finish off straw bale walls.  This is due to the permeability of the clay plaster.  The finish of the clay plaster can be a smooth velvety finish or a textured effect.   Clay plaster wall and ceiling covering can last for periods of 50 years or more and is easy to repair should it become damaged.  

Installation of clay plaster requires the skills of a normal plasterer.  Most companies who manufacture the material, generally have or know someone who can install it. Clay plaster can be used to create a number of various design styles, from stylish modern to rustic classical interiors.  

It is a great product for creating healthy, sustainable and humane spaces.  A material as simple as its name suggests, with no hidden chemicals.  A VOC-free product, which has a positive effect on all buildings internal air quality.  A low maintenance and super alternative to traditional wall coverings, eg paint, wallpaper and wooden wall panelling.

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