A family run business in Kent : Quality fibrous plaster and external cast stone mouldings since 1976

Historic Plaster Restoration

Plasterite is a leading expert in historic plaster restoration having been in the fibrous plaster business since 1976. We have decades of experience in manufacturing, repairing, restoring and preserving heritage plaster and this can include mouldings, ornamental ceilings, picture frames or lath and lime plaster.

Decorative plaster mouldings have been used in building architecture since ancient Greek times, but we more typically associate them with the Georgian and Victorian periods of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when ceiling roses and cornice became more common in ‘normal’ homes.

The ‘lath and plaster’ technique was generally used to finish interior walls and ceilings from the 1700’s to the early-to-mid 1900’s before it was superseded by modern gypsum plaster and plasterboard.

image of decorative historic plaster restoration

Plaster moulding repair

The restoration of plaster mouldings begins with an assessment of the room to establish what external factors (if any) will have a bearing on the project. This can include the height of the ceiling, what is above it and any recommendations to ensure the plaster restoration is successful. Plaster is susceptible to moisture and excessive vibrations, so if these are factors in its deterioration then they should first be addressed.

Historic plaster restoration can take serval paths depending on the property, its heritage and listed status, or the will of the owner/occupiers. The most common practice is that referred to as ‘match to existing’ plaster mouldings. This entails the replacement of some or all the old mouldings with new plaster, which is cast from a mould made using an impression of the existing decorations. This provides the opportunity to replace like-for-like or improve presentation slightly by cleaning up the enrichments at the modelling stage where years of paint and deterioration may have affected the fine detail in the impression. The image above shows an example of how plaster enrichments can be restored.

In some cases it may be deemed suitable to add to or change the style of decorations used, as part of a wider building restoration. In such cases our staff experienced in heritage plaster restoration can advise which mouldings from our archive are period-correct and suitable for your application.

Read more about cornice repair. 
image of historic plaster moulding needing restoration

Heritage lath and plaster

The restoration of historic lath and plaster is usually initiated when a section of plaster falls away from the timber laths beneath it, leaving sagging in the case of a lath and plaster ceiling or even a hole if it fails completely. However, sometimes a survey typically employing visual inspection and tap & test methods, to establish the integrity of the plaster, will identify a requirement for repairs before total failure occurs. In either case the only way to properly restore the lath and plaster is to remove and reinstate it. This is done by replacing the laths with new hand riven chestnut or oak timber fixed in place with nails, then covered in three coat lime plaster. The topcoat can receive a different finishing effect depending on which tools are used – a wooden float, sponge or trowel for example, and is sometimes coloured with a lime wash.

image of heritage lath and plaster restoration

Kent plastering and restoration

At Plasterite, we specialise in quality fibrous plaster, lime plaster, and external cast stone mouldings. We welcome any enquiries for historic plaster restoration within our service area, which includes Kent, Sussex and Surrey as well as southern and central London. Our plastering and restoration workshop is located in Ightham near Sevenoaks and we welcome visitors by appointment to view mouldings and discuss designs. However, to fully investigate and explain the processes required by your restoration project it will almost certainly require a site visit. This can be arranged by calling the office on the number below. We can carry out ornamental plaster moulding repair and plaster ceiling repair jobs as well as heritage restoration projects. If you have a problem that needs attention, please email details and photographs to help us formulate an appraisal and plan of action.