What is Fibrous Plastering?

Fibrous plastering is decorative and placed on interior walls and ceilings. It has been given the nickname ‘stick and rag’ because it involves laying plaster on a backing of canvas stretched upon wood. It is used for circular and enriched casings to ornamental work, girders and columns which are worked upon in the shop before being placed in position. The advent of fibrous plastering is accredited to a Frenchman named Desachy in 1856 when he took out a patent for producing works of art such as ornaments with surfaces of plaster aided by glue, wood, wire and canvas. However, fibrous plaster was actually used by ancient Egyptians and evidence of this can be seen in Egyptian coffins. Experts suggest that the practice is around 9,500 years old.

Type of Plaster & Tools

Fibrous plastering still involves the use of traditional tools such as lathes, trowels and scratching tools though adaptations have been made with the arrival of new materials. As a consequence, there are now trowels made from polycarbonate while some of the other tools are finished off with a layer of foam or expanded polystyrene. Fibrous plaster is a combination of sand, water, lime and even ox-hair! The amount of each ingredient varies depending on the task at hand.

Believe it or not, the ox-hair is actually an important part of the plaster as it works as a binding medium to prevent the wet plaster from falling off. Less reputable fibrous plasterers may try and use cheaper alternatives however. A base coat is applied to interior walls and ceilings in order to cover seams and studs. In most cases, paint will be used unless a customer specifically asks for a more specialised finish.

Your Career

Fibrous plastering is deemed to be the most interesting aspect of the entire industry and an estimated 50% of professionals in this trade are currently working in TV and film! This certainly proves that fibrous plastering is in demand and if you want to get into the industry, you can take a specific course that should teach you the following:

  • How to create a mould
  • How to prepare the mould and take a casting
  • Using existing plasterwork to take a profile
  • How to repair plasterwork
  • How to install moulded plasterwork and set out a room

As always, you should seek out City & Guilds and NVQ qualifications in order to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth. For example, you could take an intensive 5 day course that will probably cost in the region of £480.

Fibrous Vs. Dry Lining vs. Solid Plastering

Fibrous plastering involves being indoors and uses a particular kind of plaster whereas solid plastering mainly takes place outdoors and although small buildings are dealt with, solid plastering tends to involve larger scale projects. Fibrous plastering involves tailor-made projects and often involves contracts in the private sector. Dry lining is a much easier version of plastering and has the advantage of drying much faster. Whether you are already a plasterer and want to branch out or else you are just getting started, fibrous plastering is an exciti