Plastering – layer one… of many

We spend the majority of last week preparing our bales for their first coat of earthen plaster.
The seemingly endless tasks included, adding lathe wherever wood meets bale, putting tar-paper over all timbers that would receive plaster (a Utah code) cleaning up and chinking gaps between bales, adding a plaster stop to the top of our wall & adding some flashing over our foundation foam.

I think the reason this felt endless for me, was that I was so excited to get my hands in the mud and slap it on the wall!
Of course the preparation is necessary and will stop the plaster cracking and falling off the wall… but my inner child craved the mud!

It seems that the rest of the team felt the same way… Eric had scheduled us to take 4 days to plaster the whole outside of the house. We started on Thursday, and finished on Friday. We worked at a feverish pace, sometimes fueled by milkshakes, always laughing, singing and smiling.

I have done a fair amount of earthen plastering before, always finding a deep love in the meditative quality that comes from smoothing a wall to perfection. The change in surface texture, from rough bales to soft mud… then stepping back every few hours and seeing the house come together under one unified muddy brown skin.

Kate & Eric presented a couple of plastering techniques, of which everyone found a style that worked for them.

This is the first coat on the outside of the house. There will be 3 coats in total, the next two being a lime plaster.
The inside will receive 3 coats of earthen plaster. Our Earthen plaster mix is sand, clay & chopped straw – mixed together with water to create a smearable mud mixture that dries into a tough, yet moisture permeable skin.

Apologies for the lack of photos in this blog… it seems I was having too much fun to step away from the wall.

Eric & Kate give a quick demonstration in mud application

The team finishes up the North Wall before enjoying a delicious beer!

One Response to “Plastering – layer one… of many”
  1. Lili-Marie Collins says:

    Hey Stu 🙂 Wow ! Such exciting stuff dude ! What a sound and wholesome achievement to build a house ! I would lurve to participate in a project of a similiar nature, how incredible would that be ! I have been lucky enough to have a go at plastering and the satisfaction of creating that gorgeous smoothness when I worked as a builders labourer some years ago 🙂 I enjoyed it lots. Keep on working hard, laughing, singing and knocking back the milk shakes lovely and have tons more fun ! See ya one day ! X x

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