Lime plaster has a notable place in the history of art, architecture and design throughout the world, from the Egyptian pyramids to the Italian Renaissance frescos. While lime plaster finishes have remained widely popular and accessible in many European countries, lime plaster in the U.S. has had a less consistent history and has been relatively unknown since the 1950s.
However, in the last several years, the popularity of Scandinavian design has shifted popular interest in the U.S. back to authentic lime plaster finishes. Influenced by design trends from Europe and equally inspired by America’s unique past producing and using lime plaster, Limestrong Mineral Finishes is a startup company that is proud to offer a new line of 100 percent U.S.-sourced authentic, high quality lime finishes.
Lime in America
America’s rich history of producing and using lime plaster is not very well-known. As European migrants settled throughout the U.S., they built small lime kilns next to their town’s respective local limestone quarries to address the community’s need for mortars, plasters and paints. As the preeminent binder for all construction at that time, local lime was produced with great success and built the towns and cities of America. In this time, one unique area in the U.S. put finishing lime on the map—Ohio.
On the southern shore of Lake Erie, an ancient sea bed of shells and coral make up a unique deposit of pure dolomitic limestone that is part of the larger geologic Niagara Formation. The lime from this deposit was extraordinary for its bright white color, purity, plasticity, workability and strength—all qualities for excellent finishing plaster. Mined beginning in the 1800s, lime from this Ohio dolomitic lime deposit was shipped as far as Los Angeles and New York for high-end finish plaster work.
With the advent of Portland cement and gypsum-based plasters in the 1920’s and 30’s, and drywall and latex paint in the 1940s and ’50s, lime as a building and finishing material fell out of favor. However, lime’s use as an additive to cement and gypsum materials, as well as agriculture industry, kept Ohio’s lime industry in business.
With current design trends making finishing lime plaster relevant again, Limestrong Mineral Finishes recognized the potential and benefits of using U.S. sourced lime to make high-end finish plasters. This author, co-founder of Limestrong along with Hess Pumice and decade’s long lime plaster professional and educator, was inspired to make U.S. based lime great again and blend the right aggregates and additives to produce an excellent quality plaster product. Synthesizing years of experience making lime plasters and his passion for lime plaster history, chemistry, and technology, he formulated Limestong’s line of finishing plasters with a combination of famed Ohio lime and a unique choice of aggregate: pumice. With pumice from Hess Pumice from Malad, Idaho, as the aggregate, a mild pozzolonic reaction occurs and increases the lime plaster’s durability. Testing Limestrong’s formulas exclusively in all of his plasterwork, it was discovered that lime and pumice were an ideal match.
Committed to Excellence
Limestrong’s finishing plasters are formulated for quality, durability and ease of workability, thanks to a winning combination of exceptional lime purity and plasticity and pumice’s added pozzolonic strength. These lime plasters are offered in three grades, providing a spectrum of finish options from polished-smooth to textured-matte. Also available are an authentic Tadelakt, a durable waterproof plaster finish for showers and bathrooms, and a Limewash paint.
The finishes are engineered to be applied directly over primed drywall on interiors and as a finish coat for exterior applications. Like all authentic and pure lime plasters, Limestrong Mineral Finishes are zero VOC and contribute to indoor air quality as they cure. Breathable and permeable, lime plaster does not trap moisture and has a natural high pH value that inhibits mold, mildew and bacterial growth. The mineral finishes are an excellent way to add natural beauty, depth, unique texture and craftsmanship into any space.
While European imported plasters tend to be authentic and high quality, they come with a high price tag, logistical challenges, and a significant environmental footprint from transcontinental shipping. By obtaining all of their materials from reputable U.S. sources, with an eye on formulating, manufacturing, and shipping to maximize accessibility and exceptional quality, Limestrong is achieving its mission to put lime plaster in the reach of more people, and make American lime great again. W&C