Removing Venetian Plaster

If you’ve just moved in to a property or are re-decorating your home, you may well decide that you don’t want to retain any Venetian plastering. Removing Venetian plaster is a straightforward job that any DIY home enthusiast can do for themselves. Of course, having removed the old Venetian plaster you’ll then need to consider how to put a new finish on to the surface of the wall.

Smoothing Venetian Plaster to Remove

One of the key features of Venetian plaster is that it is not smooth; it will at least have an undulating surface - if not a positively rough and broken looking one. It is possible, using suitable grades of glass-paper to smooth down a Venetian plaster surface; to the extent that eventually it just looks like an ordinarily plastered wall. However, it is unlikely that you’ll be able to flatten a Venetian plastered wall to the extent that you can immediately paint or paper it.

Having removed most of the relief, or feature, of a Venetian plastered wall; you’d then be well advised to put a skim of new plaster over it. This will serve two purposes: first it should give you a perfectly flat wall to then decorate and secondly, if you’re thinking of painting the wall - it will give you a uniformly consistent color, over any coloring that might have been in the Venetian plaster. If you are applying a skim of plaster you should use ‘one-coat’ plaster, on top of the old Venetian plaster.

As the name implies, one-coat plaster doesn’t require an undercoat or a top coat and is definitely to be recommended for DIY use. Plastering is an art in itself and you must use the correct equipment - if you hope to achieve a good finish. You can buy one-coat plaster in pre-mixed tubs or ready to mix yourself. Whichever you choose to use - read the manufacturers instructions before starting.

With a good portion of the plaster on your plastering hawk - position it near the face of the old Venetian plaster. With the trowel or float move some the plaster to one of its edges of the hawk, tilt the hawk so that the trowel or float picks up the plaster and then press it onto the wall. Use big arching strokes to cover the wall, constantly keep and eye on the smoothness of your work and its thickness.

Completely Removing Venetian Plaster

Probably a better idea is to completely remove the Venetian plaster by chopping it away with a hammer and bolster chisel. Take care creating the first cut into the Venetian plaster, so as not to damage the underlying masonry. After that, the old Venetian plaster should almost peel away as you ‘chop’ into it.

Presuming you’ve a masonry wall beneath the old Venetian plaster; unless you wanted to leave the brick-work exposed - you’ll need to re-plaster the wall. This can be very easily achieved by a confident DIY home enthusiast using drywall plastering techniques.

Using plasterboard, or sheetrock, is one of the quickest and easiest ways to plaster a wall. You could create a pattern of wood or metal battens, on to which the drywall can be screwed.

However, you can now buy adhesives that allow you to ‘stick’ the drywall sheets directly to the wall. Hold a panel of sheetrock against the wall and mark the edge of it on the wall with chalk. Use a spirit level or plumb line and draw a vertical, from that mark, to position the sheetrock against.

Apply dabs of drywall adhesive inside where the drywall panel will be fitted; align the drywall sheet with the markings and press it firmly into place. Joints in the drywall are filled with a jointing compound that’s overlaid with a jointing tape and smoothed down. Before decorating the new sheetrock, be sure to apply a proprietary drywall sealant.