Clay | Lime | Earth Plaster | Recent Media Coverage

Daily Commercial News | April 14, 2011

Artisan aims to promote the re-introduction of plasterwork

Press Article by: Peter Kenter, Press Correspondent, Full Article

Before the days of gypsum board and drywall, lath and plaster was the material of choice for Canadian wall and ceiling construction. Toronto’s Lime Plaster Company aims to promote the re-introduction of traditional plasterwork into the Canadian consciousness at both the residential and commercial level.

Owner and lead plasterer Benjamin Scott learned his trade in Devon, in the southwest of England where the construction industry continues to honour historical building methods.

“I worked on long houses, cottages and other traditional buildings, both interior and exterior,” says Scott. “In England, the green industry is stronger, as is the connection between new and traditional construction and these trade skills are very much alive.”

Scott came to Canada not out of career conviction, but curiosity. “After I chose to live here, I decided I would be stubborn and carry on pushing lime and traditional construction skills onto the market,” he says.

He first worked in British Columbia, and then established the company in Toronto in 2009.

Although plaster formulations differ, plaster systems can be considered 100 per cent natural. While Canada has a rich history of plaster construction, the material has fallen out of favour with the introduction of drywall during the Second World War to offset a home-front labour shortage. “I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel here”, says Scott. “I’m re- introducing a material that has been used since Canada began. Look at some of the heritage buildings in this country and you’ll see exterior lime stucco that has withstood 150 to 250 winters.”

The U.K. lime industry, however, provided a wealth of products, including exterior application lime stucco. The North American market offers a narrower range of material and lime plaster formulations that generally provide lower calcium content than traditional British limes.

“If you look hard enough, though, you find what you need,” says Scott, who has sourced an array of serviceable hydraulic and non-hydraulic limes mortars, gypsums and American clay plasters. Wood lath is another matter — the company uses reclaimed lath derived from building demolition projects. The company’s current projects focus on heritage restoration and clients interested in sustainable and green construction. Scott recently completed work on a 3,000-square-foot retail space in Burlington and is pursuing other commercial contracts. Some large residential projects, however, have approached 20,000 square feet.

Scott notes that the most important aspect of plastering is the preparation of the substrate.

The base material is applied with traditional hawk and trowel. The material bonds better to walls and ceilings if it’s pushed into place than if it’s sprayed.

“You get more of a connection with the surface,” he says. “You get a certain bond and adherence created by the impact of the material. Underneath, if applied correctly, they’re essentially soft materials that move with the underlying structure and crack far less than drywall.”.


Sustainable Renovations Project | November, 2010

In November of 2010, The Lime Plaster Co. was lucky enough to be asked to give a talk at Fleming College, Haliburton, to the students of the Sustainable Renovations Project, about Lime, Lime Plasters and Lime Mortars. Below is an outline of the course and its aims.

The inaugural year of Fleming College’s Sustainable Renovations program finds the class embarking on an ambitious project to renovate the Haliburton Highlands Museum in Haliburton, Ontario.

The client, The Municipality of Dysart et al., has outlined a few areas they wish to improve upon in terms of structural, mechanical, and aesthetic changes.

The project has a fixed deadline, a fixed budget, and a fixed labourforce, and is in every way conducted as a real world renovation project.

The students each have shouldered a mechanical, structural, and administrative task and it is their responsibility to outline a solution, source the necessary materials, connect with applicable tradespeople, and navigate all facets of the client-renovator relationship all while maintaining a focus on sustainability.

At every step care is taken to ensure that the solution being proposed is at once appropriate for the site/client, consistent with our sustainable goals and principles, and also an opportunity for the students to learn a new skill or process.

The Lime Plaster.Co Guest speaker's spot


Toronto Sun | March 19, 2010

What's Happening : Healthy home makes its debut

Press Article from: Toronto Sun Newspaper | Toronto

Recent Article about the Healthy Home, American Clay Plaster was applied by the Lime Plaster Company in collaboration with the Greening Homes.

By Toronto Sun.

Published: March 19, 2010

A Healthy Home at Downsview Park officially opened its doors to the public. The exhibit, a fresh redesign of popular attraction The Sustainable Condo, showcases eco-friendly technologies available to consumers. It's an example of the modern urban borne planned for Downsview Park, where former military and industrial lands are being transformed into a park surrounded by a sustainable community.

Organizers say: "We're ven excited to partner with industry leaders in sustainability to host the Healthy Home exhibit," said Tony Genco, president and CEO of Downsview Park. ''This exhibit provides a unique glimpse into innovative technologies. practices and lifestyle choices that will help raise environmental awareness while contributing to Downsview Park's green future".

A Healthy Home inspires consumers with real-life examples to save energy, limit waste, reduce utility bills, improve indoor air quality and, ultimately. help the environment.

"From energy efficient home, heating equipment to stylish sustainable furniture, this exhibit showcases ways to save money and the environment," said Mark Salerno, District Manager Greater Toronto Area, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Prior to the redesign, more than 175,000 people toured the model home. Now, with enhanced products, additional partners and a new high·traffic location at Downsview Park's Hangar hosting 750,000 guests per year, the number of visits to the revamped home is anticipated to significantly increase.

Designed by NlKKA DESIGN and built by Greening Homes Ltd., A Healthy Home will be on display until Dec. 31, 2010.

Public tours are available Monday to Friday 6:30p.m. -9p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon-3 prn. | December 23, 2010

Top Vert : Maison de terre | Carol Thibaudeau | Habitation

Press Article from: La Presse | Montreal

Recent Article about the Cob House in Vancouver, BC, Canada. All the Lime Plasters and Tadelack shower performed by the Lime Plaster Company

By Carol Thibaudeau - La presse Magazine

Published: October 14, 2008

A Canadian intergenerational housing is among the first three buildings to receive recognition Living Building, considered the ultimate global environmental awareness, beyond LEED, or Passive Architecture 2030. Eco-Sense home in Victoria, BC, presents authentic and aesthetic earth walls (a mixture of sand, clay and straw), two feet thick, large modern rooms with slightly wavy edges and a living roof. Living Building rating by the "petals": the site, water, health, beauty, energy and materials. (The petal "equity" has been added for applicants to come.) Eco-sense recognition was given four out of six petals, and the other two candidates, non-residential buildings in the states of New York and Missouri, have received full certification.

For more on this house, see | October 30, 2008

Old World Know-How

Old world know-how

By Edward Hill - Goldstream News Gazette

Published: October 14, 2008

Updated: October 14, 2008 2:11 PM “Eco-sense” house in Highlands on track for five-century-plus lifespanWith trowel in hand, Ben Scott makes lime plastering look easy as he layers ochre coloured mud along a cob wall. In Canada, working with earth plasters is something of a lost art, but done right and the “Eco-sense” house in Highlands could survive well beyond its fifth century.“In the U.K., homes with this exact material have been standing 500 to 700 years,” says Scott, a.k.a. “Scotty.” “Lime plaster and cob go hand-in-hand.”The layer of lime plaster is the last major element for what is now Canada’s most prolific “green” house, built by Ann and Gord Baird. At its core, the two-storey cob building is glorified mud on mud.

The Baird’s project has set precedent for B.C.’s building code, attracted busloads of government officials and sustainability experts, and earned airtime and column inches from media across the country. Royal BC Museum’s B.C. 150th anniversary display has a life-sized poster of the couple and is touring a model of the house with its mobile display. The Bairds “borrowed” Scott from The Land Conservancy, who funded the U.K.-based tradesman to work on a series of heritage buildings in B.C., under a program looking to revive lost or dying trades.The Bairds plan to give two weeks worth of work to the TLC, “ditch digging or whatever they need,” Gord says, for Scott’s plastering time. “I’m not bringing anything new to B.C., but I’m trying to bring awareness back to this material,” Scott says. “ (Lime plaster) is a carbon neutral, completely natural product that protects from moisture rot and gives better air quality.”Layering lime plaster and monitoring as it cures has that feeling of watching paint dry, but it’s a surprisingly detailed process. Properly mixed lime plaster insulates but lets walls breathe, absorbing moisture and carbon dioxide. Minerals in the plaster will flow into small cracks, giving the walls the ability to “self heal.”Modern cement-based stucco is the “fast food” of housing construction, Gord says — it’s cheaper and quick to apply, but doesn’t breathe, doesn’t last as long and isn’t environmentally friendly. “We’re lucky to have met Scotty,” Ann says. “Lime plaster has too many subtleties. It takes an expert to do it properly, but do it properly you’ll protect the building for 500 years.”The project is on year three, a year longer than their estimated construction time, but the pair have done most of the heavy lifting, day after day. Ann says they’ve accomplished what they set out to do: create a house built to code that is “off the grid,” has a vanishing carbon-footprint, while remaining affordable and allowing a high standard of living. The final cost is estimated at $270,000.Solar tubes heat water which in turn is piped through the house for heat. It has solar panels feeding juice to battery packs, uses its grey water for irrigation, among an endless list of “green” designs. With iron-oxide in the plaster, the house tries to fit in with nature, following the colour pallet of surrounding arbutus trees.Dozens of design innovations and building to code has attracted policy-makers and engineers from across North America, and hundreds of people curious about living sustainably.“Key for us was informing the building code and building within the bureaucracy that exists. It’s why the bureaucracy comes and visits,” Ann says. “People see this is a legitimate, comfortable, functional but affordable house. People are going ‘wow this is possible.’”The Bairds are now working on getting the house designated the first “living building,” under the Cascadia Region Green Building Council’s “Living Building Challenge.” A living building needs design appeal, have zero net waste and generate renewable power. The Bairds reckon they are already there. Cascadia first needs to create a category for a single family home. “Getting living building status will help move us into the norm,” Ann says. “Right now we are still outside what is normal.”

For more on the Baird’s house, see