Ravesi Plastering is a small, family owned BlueBoard and Thin Coat company located in Maynard Massachusetts, 30 minutes outside Boston.

Doing business throughout Massachusetts, Ravesi Plastering was founded over 25 years ago. We specialize in replacing old ceilings; patching in any texture. We work on all high end contracts, encompassing residential, commercial and industrial projects. Furniture and all necessary prep work are done to ensure cleanliness, efficiency and quality. Our work includes patching, blue board installation, skim coat plastering, repairs to horse hair plaster and drywall, as well as water damage repairs to drywall and plaster.

Nature of the work:

Plastering—one of the oldest crafts in the building trades—is enjoying a resurgence in popularity because of the introduction of newer, less costly materials and techniques. Plasterers apply plaster to interior walls and ceilings to form fire-resistant and relatively soundproof surfaces. They also apply plaster veneer over drywall to create smooth or textured abrasion-resistant finishes. They apply durable plasters such as polymer-based acrylic finishes and stucco to exterior surfaces, and install prefabricated exterior insulation systems over existing walls, for good insulation and interesting architectural effects. In addition, they cast ornamental designs in plaster. Drywall workers and lathers, a related occupation, use drywall instead of plaster when erecting interior walls and ceilings. (See the section on drywall workers and lathers elsewhere in the Handbook.)

When plasterers work with interior surfaces such as cinder block and concrete, they first apply a brown coat of gypsum plaster that provides a base, followed by a second or finish coat—also called "white coat"—which is a lime-based plaster. When plastering metal lath (supportive wire mesh) foundations, they apply a preparatory, or "scratch coat", with a trowel. They spread this rich plaster mixture into and over the metal lath. Before the plaster sets, they scratch its surface with a rake-like tool to produce ridges so the subsequent brown coat will bond to it tightly.

Laborers prepare a thick, smooth plaster for the brown coat. Plasterers spray or trowel this mixture onto the surface, then finish by smoothing it to an even, level surface.

For the finish coat, plasterers prepare a mixture of lime, plaster of Paris, and water. They quickly apply this onto the brown coat using a "hawk"—a light, metal plate with a handle—trowel, brush, and water. This mixture, which sets very quickly, produces a very smooth, durable finish.

Plasterers also work with a plaster material that can be finished in a single coat. This thin-coat or gypsum veneer plaster is made of lime and plaster of Paris and is mixed with water at the job site. It provides a smooth, durable, abrasion resistant finish on interior masonry surfaces, special gypsum base board, or drywall prepared with a bonding agent.

Plasterers create decorative interior surfaces as well. They do this by pressing a brush or trowel firmly against the wet plaster surface and using a circular hand motion to create decorative swirls.

For exterior work, plasterers usually apply a mixture of Portland cement, lime, and sand (stucco) over cement, concrete, masonry, and lath. Stucco is also applied directly to a wire lath with a scratch coat followed by a brown coat and then a finish coat. Plasterers may also embed marble or gravel chips into the finish coat to achieve a pebblelike, decorative finish.

Increasingly, plasterers apply insulation to the exteriors of new and old buildings. They cover the outer wall with rigid foam insulation board and reinforcing mesh and then trowel on a polymer-based or polymer-modified base coat. They apply an additional coat of this material with a decorative finish.

Plasterers sometimes do complex decorative and ornamental work that requires special skill and creativity. For example, they mold intricate wall and ceiling designs. Following an architect's blueprint, they pour or spray a special plaster into a mold and allow it to set. Workers then remove the molded plaster and put it in place according to the plan.