Venetian plasters are very strong and hard wearing wall finishes, making them an ideal choice for the designer. Many of the finishes are totally smooth, making them very difficult to be damaged by dirt. The traditional recipe of lime and marble will in time “age” and “cure” in time to create a surface as hard as marble itself.
Care needs to be taken with the building surfaces used today as movement from beneath the finish is the most likely cause for any cracks appearing. The original wall coverings of Venice were applied over two coats of sand and lime plaster. This gave for a solid and surface for the marble plaster finishes to be applied to. With the use of plasterboard on stud walls or dry lining, it would be this substrate which would be the weakest point of the structure.
Whilst the finishes are easily sealed with natural beeswax when made, maintaining this protective barrier should be made by keeping free of dust and re-waxing when appropriate, usually every couple of years. Should it be thought that the finish with come into contact with regular water and dirt, in a kitchen or bathroom for instance, then the extra protection of waterproofing and paraffin wax is to be recommended.
Once properly sealed they should be cleaned firstly with a lint free cloth as most dirt will sit on the surface of the wax and therefore be easily wiped off. General dirt built up over time should not be removed by washing down with water. This will only serve to spread the dirt and possible be absorbed into the plaster should the wax be compromised. A special cleaning paste may be used which wraps around the dirt enabling it to be removed. The surface should then be re-waxed.