Over the last thirty years or so it’s become more common for cornice, coving and ceiling rose work to be moulded from polystyrene, which is cheap and easy to fit. But period houses will probably still have traditional plasterwork, which is generally very hardwearing – after all, some of it will have been in place for well over 100 years!
Over time though, wear and tear will start to have an effect on the finish of these intricate pieces, and you’ll be required to show them a bit of TLC. This week on our blog we’re going to show you the process we use to restore these beautiful features back to their former glory.
A job for the pros!
Whilst we’re happy to encourage DIY wherever possible, it’s definitely best to leave plasterwork restoration to a pro. Old plasterwork that’s seen better days can be very fragile, and the clean-up and restoration process needs to be done with a steady and slow hand – there’s no room to rush this job.
Langlow Peel Away
We have always had excellent results using Langlow Peel Away for this work. It’s a chemical paste designed to melt away the old paintwork without damaging the plaster underneath. It has to be applied carefully, ensuring that every part of the paintwork has a good coating before being covered with clingfilm and left for 24 hours. This product works wonders and, if used correctly, can easily strip through 30 layers of paint!
After stripping back the paint, it’s crucial to treat the uncovered plasterwork with a neutraliser to stop the newly applied paint from coming away from the plaster. We use a proprietary solution, but the job can be done just as effectively with a solution of distilled vinegar.
We’re always amazed at some of the beautiful features we uncover during this process: it’s not uncommon for us to find original brass fittings and detail pieces that have been hidden away under layer after layer of paint for years – what a shame!
We treat these with a liquid paint stripper and then give them a new lease of life with a liberal application of Brasso to make them shine like new.
The right paint
Because of the delicate nature of this old plasterwork, modern paints rarely work, so when we work to restore them, we apply handmade and traditional paints from local Yorkshire companies like Womersley’s in Heckmondwick and Hicks and Weatherburn in Leeds. Both of these companies produce beautiful period paints made with traditional ingredients designed to stay up for years.
So if you live in the Leeds area and have some plasterwork that you’d like restoring back to its original beauty, then please give us a call and we’ll be happy to come take a look.