As many horse owners know, a good plastering job is crucial to the health and success of their horses. It ensures that the stall and barn are well-ventilated, free from mold, mildew, insect damage and pests, and provides an even grazing surface.
It also makes sure the stall is dry and warm, which helps horses perform better. In addition, a plasterer can inspect the horse’s feet and hocks to ensure that there are no injuries.
Stallion Plastering is a special skill that has been around for hundreds of years. It has been used to create decorative plaster moldings and medallions, coffers, and ceiling tiles. This art is rare and specialized, so if you are looking to add plaster moldings or plaster panels to your home, it’s best to work with a professional contractor who specializes in this field.
In the early days, plaster was made with a mixture of lime, aggregate and water. Animal hair was usually added to this mix to serve as a “bridging” agent, controlling the’shrinkage’ of the plaster and holding the ‘nibs’ together. This allowed the lime to adhere more effectively to the wooden lath.
The horsehair was added shortly before applying the mixture to the lath. This allowed the plaster to’stick’ better to the wood and reduce the amount of water that would need to be added after application to make it smooth.
Another advantage of horsehair plaster was that it cured faster than other common plaster mixes like Earth Daub and Adobe. This made it a more versatile choice for builders.
While horsehair plaster is no longer in use, it’s still a popular choice for historical restoration projects. It’s a relatively simple combination and an easy way to preserve the look of historical plaster walls.
The Homestead’s Federal Parlor is an excellent example of horsehair plaster. This wall was originally a part of the house in 1717, and John Marshall was able to tell us that it was a 300-year-old plaster.
When we consulted with Kelly about how he thought the plaster walls in our house were originally put up, he said that it is possible that the lower floor front rooms got plaster first, while the upstairs rooms and the back kitchen got wainscoting later.
However, we don’t believe that was the case because we saw that the ceiling of the Federal Parlor had only a few loose areas – not the entire ceiling!
We decided to take a closer look at this area. We removed the paper from the ceiling and noticed a patch of plaster with tiny hairs on it.
The horsehair plaster was still attached to the paper, but we could see that it was starting to fall off. This is a sign that the horsehair plaster was in danger of being damaged by harsh solvents or fabric softener.
We called in a local plaster specialist to assess the situation and provide us with a quote for repairs. We are happy to report that our expert plasterer was able to restore the wall and ceiling to their original condition! We would recommend the same service to any homeowner who wants to repair a horsehair wall in their historic home.