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HELP ... yet another "plaster" or finishing question

Posts: 3
Location: north central Alabama
duck solar
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almost 30 years ago, an older gentleman who was stacking the block for my basement, showed me a "lime plaster" I could apply over the concrete blocks. This was not a slaked lime plaster: we mixed it up together in the wheelbarrow right before I tried it.  I only tried it out on one part of one of the walls.

older myself, I cannot remember what the ingredients were (I think it had salt in it?) or the instructions for how to make it. None of the local folks around here, now much younger, know what I am talking about.
 All of the blocks in the basement have some kind of scratchy coating (could it be fiberglass?//, nah, surely not???) all over them (except the little part of the wall I practiced on).

I need a solution for what to cover the blocks with, that will have a softer, more skin friendly feel. Sleeping up against the wall is downright uncomfortable.
I have seen the book Using Natural Finishes by Weismann and Bryce, and it is way over my head.

If anyone can help me with as many suggestions or options and point me in the direction for more information, I would be ever so grateful.
Thank you.
Posts: 3058
Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
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I don't know anything about your mystery lime plaster, but if you have concrete/cinder block walls, especially if they were dry stacked (without mortar in the joints), they may have "surface bond" cement plastered over them. This has fiberglass reinforcement fibers, and can easily feel scratchy if not finished extremely smooth. Any paint or coating that will adhere to cement could be used over your walls if this is what you have. The best material would depend partly on just how rough or smooth the existing finish is.
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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It sounds to me like it was a lime putty that you describe.

Lime putty can be made with hydrated lime, salt will act as a hardener. The recipe is simple, water, lime, sand, salt if desired. Mix the lime and water till you get a "loose batter" consistency then add sand to thicken, or you can simply use the lime putty with out any sand.
The salt would be added after you have the consistency you desire for spreading with a stucco knife, it doesn't take a lot of salt should you want to use it.

I never mix this stuff by measuring I put 2-3 gal of water in my wheelbarrow then start stirring in lime from the bag, when I start getting trails from the wood paddle I use I add sand until I can just see grit in the mix.
If I'm not able to spread it right then, I add water until the putty is covered, it will store like that for weeks if necessary.

Posts: 39
Location: Baja Arizona
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The best results with lime plaster occurs when it sets up very slowly. Salt was often added to the mix to help the plaster retain water longer and set up more slowly.   Salt has disadvantages in some applications, especially in areas where the water and aggregate has a high ph.  The salt can also negatively affect some non-compatible finish plasters you might try and put over it.  Even paint may be negatively affected.  I'd just go with a nice "fat" lime mixed with a "sharp", 30 grit silica sand.  The sharp grit will key-in better to your coarse wall than a rounded mortar sand. On an indoor application there is no need to go with anything more expensive than that.
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