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Plaster Challenge: Using Plaster in a Barn (or building that may take some abuse)  RSS feed

 
Matt Vader
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Hi Dan,

I have an old barn that someone began to close in with cement based stucco. I would like to retrofit the barn and finish with plaster. Is plaster up for this type of abuse, or is it mearly a "sisy" type of finish for gentle use situations ?

I live in temperate Northern California (20" of driving rain, freezing temps in the 20's, and 110 degree summers) and the barn will be used for animals and hay storage. What do i need to consider? I will also be constructing some additional walls and was planning on sheeting with osb or plywood just as a quick way to give some rigidy and shear strength to my modifications.

Things I am curious about:
Is this even an acceptable use for Plaster?
Will it hold up to some abuse as an animal enclosure or hay storage?
My overhangs are currently rather small. Do I need to retrofit with large overhangs to protect the plaster from wind and rain.
What do I need to do/prep to coat over cement based stucco or OSB sheeting?
Since I am not terribly worried about a perfectly beautiful interior grade finish, are there any corners I can cut to make the whole process lower effort?

Thanks!
Matt V


 
tim Trammell
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Pk, that this for what it's worth, because I know next to nothing about natural plaster. But isn't natural plaster basically adobe? If that is correct, I would say it would hold up fine, they have been using adobe in the SW forever.
 
Dan Chiras
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HI Matt,

My guess is that an earthen plaster would probably not be advisable for the exterior of a barn, especially with driving rain. Earthen plaster dries pretty hard but turns to mush when it is wet. You could try and earthen plaster with a thin layer of lime plaster as a finish coat, but lime is tricky, so I'd read everything I could about it, try it on some smaller projects or hire a professional who works with lime. This stuff is bomb proof. Lime plaster is a mixture of calcium hydroxide and sand that over time turns to limestone. It can last for hundreds of years, but it has to be prepared properly and applied properly and kept moist for several weeks afterwards so it cures properly. We have a chapter in our book on Natural Plasters, the Natural Plaster Book, just on lime. At the risk of sounding immodest, it's the best source of info you will find on lime-sand plaster. I did tons of research and attended several workshops and talked to the experts when writing that chapter.

Good luck.

Dan
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Is this even an acceptable use for Plaster?

I am afraid in your case it is not, and I would get that stucco off the barn as soon as possible as it is most likly OPC in nature. Cement is a vapor inhibitor and leads to interstitial moisture issues.

Will it hold up to some abuse as an animal enclosure or hay storage?


NO!


My overhangs are currently rather small. Do I need to retrofit with large overhangs to protect the plaster from wind and rain.


Yes, if you pursued a natural plaster.

What do I need to do/prep to coat over cement based stucco or OSB sheeting?


I would not condone or support the use of either. Try traditional wood board and batten with a nice lime wash paint or casein paint if you want color.

Since I am not terribly worried about a perfectly beautiful interior grade finish, are there any corners I can cut to make the whole process lower effort?


Hmmm, cover with just rough green lumber and leave it....

Regards,

j
 
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