Decorative plaster “sand”: pros and cons

Decorative plaster has recently become one of the most popular materials for finishing residential premises. If a couple of decades ago plaster was considered not the most aesthetic material, today, thanks to the addition of various additional components, it can look very stylish and easily become a good design element in almost any style. One of the most popular options for such a finish is sand plaster.


Plaster “sand” is sandy not only in its name, but also in its essence: sand, quartz or river, it really is present in its composition. Often, not only the sand itself is added to the ordinary mixture, but also small fragments of natural shells, sparkles and other reflective additives that will allow the finished surfaces to shine, not at all resembling classic plastered walls.

As a rule, decorative plaster “sand” is used indoors, and only in some cases is it permissible to use it on surfaces in the open air. For outdoor decoration, the mixture must contain special protective additives, which significantly increases the cost of an already not the cheapest material, and the dimensions of the walls on the street usually force the owners to abandon such an undertaking..

Sand plaster is divided into two main types: pearlescent and matt. The first has a characteristic shimmer, since it is to it that all of the above additives are usually added, which are necessary for a noticeable reflection of light. Matte is more reminiscent of walls made of sandstone, but in the conditions of an apartment such a facing stone is both inconvenient and expensive to use, but plaster will be cheaper and easy to fit, and in appearance it will not differ much.

Advantages and disadvantages

The widespread use of decorative plaster for interior decoration in recent years is no coincidence: such a solution has a number of advantages that literally force you to make your choice in favor of this material.

  • Durability and ability not to lose attractiveness for a long time. Experts say that such a renovation removes all questions regarding the design of the premises for at least ten years. At the same time, a fairly old coating looks almost the same as a new one: it does not fade or tarnish even under the influence of direct sunlight.

  • There is not a single synthetic material in the “sand” plaster – this mixture is completely natural. All its components are completely safe for human health, which makes it possible to use it even in a nursery..
  • Variety of colors. Contrary to its name, this finishing material is not at all limited to the typical “gritty” palette. Modern manufacturers produce a whole rainbow of colors, and the ability to apply artistic effects to create patterns of any shape only increases the cultural value of such repairs..

  • Versatility. Decorative plaster itself can perform the functions of several building materials at once. As befits plaster, it hides any unevenness in the wall, although large recesses should still be filled with a cheaper mixture. At the same time, “sand” is also an excellent finish, which does not have to be painted additionally, because the repaired wall looks already beautiful.
  • Mold protection. A common practice is to add special components to the mass to prevent the appearance of mold. Thanks to this, the atmosphere in the plastered room remains healthy..
  • Ease of application. As a rule, self-plastering is a feasible task for everyone, because no special skills are required for this. The whole process is intuitive and there are hundreds of tutorial videos on the internet. Problems are possible unless the owner wants to create a very unusual and complex decor in the form of a particular pattern..

Of course, there are also disadvantages, but there are relatively few of them. First of all, “sand” plaster is criticized for its high cost, because ordinary plaster, paint, and most types of wallpaper will cost the customer much cheaper. At a relatively high price, such material still cannot be called elite – it’s still a bit not something that one could be fully proud of..

It is possible to use a sandy finish in rooms with high humidity, but then you need to carefully choose the type of mixture to be sure that water accidentally hitting the wall will not spoil the type of repair.

How to apply?

With all the simplicity of the process, it is worth repeating the obvious truths once again, which will save you from possible mistakes in the plastering process.. There are really no difficulties in applying, but careful preparation of the walls for someone may come as a surprise.

  • First of all, the wall is thoroughly cleaned. In this case, even small contaminants should be removed, since they do not contribute to adhesion. To remove stains, special chemicals and industrial vacuum cleaners are used. If the base of the wall itself is cracked or looks loose, the damaged areas must be carefully cleaned.
  • All significant surface irregularities are sealed with relatively inexpensive gypsum plaster (an analogue based on cement is not recommended to be used: it dries for too long). Alternatively, you can also use an acrylic-based putty.

  • For greater durability of the repair, the wall must be primed in two layers. What’s interesting: instead of a primer, you can also use an ordinary water-based paint, but then you have to choose the shade as accurately as possible so that it matches the subsequent finishing.
  • The purchased mass must be prepared for application. How exactly this should be done will be written on the packaging. Usually, the procedure is not difficult: the mass just needs to be thoroughly stirred, in some cases adding a little water there..

  • The application of the plaster itself to the wall is usually done with a stiff brush. If, when working with other types of finishes, a stable direction of movement is usually provided, then in this case, on the contrary, it is not welcome – the movements should be chaotic, since this allows you to create a complex and unpredictable pattern.
  • Plastering usually occurs gradually, in pieces of 2-3 square meters, however, you need to start the next piece before the previous one is completely dry – this is the only way to hide the joints.

One layer of applied plaster is usually sufficient. The work will dry for at least a day, however, it is better to fully exploit the room only after a week, in order to exclude the possibility of accidentally touching the under-dried surface.

Creating patterns

While the patterns generally seem intricate and unpredictable, professionals certainly know how to get a particular type of pattern. Those who want to make repairs on their own also have the right to know this..

Sandy whirlwinds on the wall are perhaps the most popular motif in modern renovation. To obtain this effect, you usually have to plaster the wall in two layers, of which the first is the main one, and the second is the decorative wind. “The storm” is created on the wall with wide cruciform strokes, and for greater entertainment it is recommended to choose for these purposes plaster of similar, but still slightly different tones. The dried surface must be sanded, otherwise the finish will look more like dirt than a work of art..

If done correctly, such a design will be a good addition to the classic design styles..

Many people associate sand with the desert, so dunes created with decorative sand plaster are also in great demand. To create such an effect, plaster is applied in the same way as in any other case, but an additional stage is assumed – opening the dried surface with a special nacreous paste. This mixture increases the shine of the quartz particles in the plaster, making the wall appear to be truly made of sand..

There are no strict restrictions on the use of such an effect in the interior, but it would look especially impressive in combination with some ethno-style: first of all, with the African or Mexican design of the entire room.

Finally, quite often, when choosing a decorative “sand” plaster, customers want to get a wall at the output that would resemble the alluvial sands of ordinary river sand. To create such a design, craftsmen usually resort to a rather simple method: it is enough just to apply the mass on the wall with diagonal movements..

Detailed master class on applying decorative plaster "Sand" see the video below.

About the author