Katy Elliott

A daily design journal about new england life, home decorating resources, and renovating a 257-year-old house in Marblehead, MA.

Base Coat Plaster Ceiling

Posted on | February 17, 2011 | 34 Comments

We have a new ceiling! Our plasterer arrived early Wednesday morning and attached blueboard to the beams. Blueboard looks more gray then blue and has special absorption qualities that aids plaster in adhering to the surface and not peel away versus using dry wall. After the blueboard was hung, mesh tape was applied to each joint and then a scratch coat was applied over the tape. The scratch coat dried for about 45 minutes and then the base coat got mixed up with water.

This is where the process got a little funky; the base coat (we used Imperial Basecoat Veneer Plaster) was our final coat—normally you would add another layer of plaster. Under the recommendation of Pierre using just the base coat would give our ceiling a look that was similar to our horsehair plaster walls. Pierre felt the second coat would make our ceiling look too polished, smooth and modern. Above and below photos of the ceiling in progress.

Related Posts:
Installing Soundproof Insulation in Ceiling
Passed Beam Inspection
Ceiling In Progress: Installing LVLs
Getting Estimates For New Ceilings
Working On Removing Old Ceiling

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34 Responses to “Base Coat Plaster Ceiling”

  1. Stephanie
    February 17th, 2011 @ 3:55 pm



  2. Josephine
    February 17th, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

    Wow! It looks like a finished room now that just needs painted! Congrats!


  3. veronica
    February 17th, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

    So excited for you! It looks great!


  4. Celia
    February 17th, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

    How exciting! I’m sure you love seeing it all come together. I can’t wait to see it painted!!


  5. Jane Flanagan
    February 17th, 2011 @ 6:03 pm


    Has the reflected light from the new ceiling changed your perception of any of the paint samples?

    I’m so excited to see you making all this progress. Congrats to you both!


  6. Liz Noonan
    February 17th, 2011 @ 6:43 pm

    omg the guy walking on those stilts – that is so cool!!!


  7. Ashley
    February 17th, 2011 @ 6:56 pm

    How exciting, Katy! Congrats on all the progress!


  8. Katy Elliott
    February 17th, 2011 @ 7:10 pm


    Good question. I’m having moments of falling for mizzle. Wish it was a touch greener but I’m wondering if I could persuade it with a wall color that brings it out more? I’m sure I can but not fully convinced.


  9. Mary
    February 17th, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

    Wow – congratulations! I absolutely love watching plasterers work – they are such masters at their craft. It’s truly an art form, the way they glide around the room on those lifts, smoothing the walls in big swoops. Awesome. So exciting to think about seeing these rooms decorated!


  10. Nataliya
    February 17th, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

    Congratulations! It looks so great. Must be so exciting so see the progress. It’s even exciting on this side of the computer screen. the stilts are funny looking.


  11. Margaret
    February 18th, 2011 @ 12:32 am

    Ahhh!!! It’s amazing! I’m so exciting for the painting! Congratulations.


  12. annamaria potamiti
    February 18th, 2011 @ 1:13 am

    Congratulations! It all looks brilliant! Can’t wait to see it painted!


  13. emily @ thirtyeight20
    February 18th, 2011 @ 8:31 am

    Hooray! I’m so happy for you!


  14. Alicia
    February 18th, 2011 @ 10:46 am

    It looks so gooooood!


  15. Leah
    February 18th, 2011 @ 10:52 am

    Congratulations! It looks awesome. Looking forward to the painting posts!


  16. Susan
    February 18th, 2011 @ 11:56 am

    WOW! Looks so great. Sidenote…so funny to see the shot of the guy behind something–he looks ginormous. :)


  17. Wendy
    February 18th, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

    Looks great! You must be chomping at the bit to start painting! How long does it have to dry before the brushes come out? And what about the floor? Dustless sanding?


  18. Paul
    February 18th, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

    How long is it taking to dry?


  19. Katy Elliott
    February 18th, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

    Wendy & Paul,

    Takes about a day for the ceiling to dry. I don’t necessarily have to paint it, still thinking.

    We still want to sand the molding more, our weekend project for the next couple weeks.

    We’re not doing the floors ourselves. Someone gave me a name of a guy that does them in my town. The cost (what I hear) is low enough that it’s not worth it for us to attempt. The floors will get some kind of clear poly coat.

    Waiting till this summer so we can open up all the windows and not be in the house for a least a week – it’s crazy toxic stuff.


  20. Wendy
    February 18th, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

    The ceiling might look nicer left unfinished…but I have a feeling when everything else is painted that it might look too rustic….About the floors. I used Peel-Away 7 on my floors because of the lead paint. It is unpleasant so awesome that you can hire it out but tell the person about peel-away because it isn’t toxic at all and it worked really well. What’s great is that it cleans up with water and steel wool pad so you get to keep all the original dings and patina of the wood which you’d lose if it were sanded. It also gets between the planks which you couldn’t do if it were sanded. I used “Waterlox” on our floors it’s much less plastic-like than poly. It combines tung oil with a epoxy so it’s kind of the best of both worlds. I know that’s it used in historical houses all the time.


  21. Katy Elliott
    February 18th, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

    I really don’t know too much about floors, yet. But it’s a bridge we are going to have to cross in the next few months. Thanks Wendy for your insight.


  22. moparbrownstoner
    February 18th, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

    Congratulations, you must be thrilled.

    And thanks for the info on this new plaster method — never heard of this approach. Looks great from here.


  23. Steve
    February 18th, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

    Looks really nice. How great to find a craftsperson that can tell you that the scratch coat replicates old horsehair. They’re a keeper!

    If you’re liking the mizzle but want it to be a little more green, why not mix two paints? As long as you test using certain proportions and keep track of those; e.g., 4 parts mizzle to 1 part verte de terre, you can easily reproduce them. Really liking the paint colors on the wall though.


  24. Rachel
    February 18th, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

    What a difference a ceiling makes! Looks much cozier and approachable. I’m so excited for you, congratulations!


  25. Dina
    February 18th, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

    I bet that is a huge relief! Looks lovely.


  26. Laura.
    February 19th, 2011 @ 12:09 am

    katy! it’s starting to look like a real room! i mean, it’s always been a real room, but now it’s looking almost ready to LIVE in! i can’t wait to see what colors you go for, i’m kind of with steve on testing out mixed colors–adding some green to the mizzle, but also i do like the verte de terre. . . oh, you’ll figure it out, i know.
    i also keep forgetting to say how much i LOVE that glimpse of bright blue and the sunlight from that hall/stairway on the left of the room in some of the photos. it’s perfect (though maybe you are not keeping it that way?)


  27. Anonymous
    February 19th, 2011 @ 2:50 am

    Congratulations!! You are starting to make great progress.


  28. Uncle Bill
    February 19th, 2011 @ 8:05 am

    Great job!! Looks fantastic. I could really use your input on my kitchen redo;)


  29. abby Belknap
    February 19th, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

    It looks really great and looking around the room now I know I am going to really miss the rustic look when it is all spit and polished. that is just me.


  30. Katy Elliott
    February 20th, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    Thanks for all the support! We’re busy this weekend stripping doors and sanding the molding.


  31. quintessence
    February 20th, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

    Plastering is such an art – I’m sure they know what they are talking about. When we had our last house done, the plasterers are the same company that works at Yale. They said they are always there – because as soon as they have finished the campus, it’s time to start over. All the things you never think about when you’re paying your tuition bills!!


  32. Christian
    February 22nd, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

    Hi Katy, Pic’s look great. I like to wait a few weeks before painting new plaster, but do seal it. I use a high-quality acrylic primer and latex ceiling paint. It’s just a couple coats and will show plenty of detail. Caulk ceilings/moldings after priming both, then paint. (I like oil-based paint on woodwork – just my 2pennies)


  33. erin
    February 23rd, 2011 @ 11:12 am

    beautiful! I also rally like the green second from the right. Its so fresh.


  34. Poppy Gets a Life
    March 1st, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    Wow! What are those radical stilts the plasterer is standing on?! Very effective! And the walls and ceiling look fabulous!

    Poppy xox


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