Plaster and putty: what’s the difference?

The creation of any home interior begins with renovation work, the main task of which is not only decorative surface finishing, but also their preparation for subsequent design. In order for the building material to securely attach to the base and give the room an aesthetic appearance, it is necessary to first align the walls and ceiling. To do this, plaster and putty are applied to the surface of the floors..

Today, this finishing material is presented in a huge assortment, but in order to properly carry out the work, you need to know its features and distinctive characteristics..

Features of the plaster mix

Plaster is considered a versatile building mixture, it is often used to level ceilings, walls and other types of surfaces. Plaster is produced in three types, each of them has individual properties, has its own pros and cons.

The most demanded in decoration is considered to be a lime-based material., it is used for interior work. The composition is affordable and easy to apply. In addition, lime plaster is made from ecological raw materials, so it is absolutely harmless to human health. The only drawback of the product is that it is not very durable and quickly loses its original appearance..

You can also plaster the ceiling and walls with a mixture. cement-based. It is used for repairs both inside and outside the building. The main feature of such plaster is considered to be low price and high quality. The material has a plastic structure, so it quickly takes on the desired shape on the surface, it protects coatings well from moisture and is suitable for finishing walls made of brick, concrete and foam concrete.

Cement plaster allows you to eliminate small defects, for which it is applied to the walls with a thick layer of 2 cm or a reinforcing mesh is used, thanks to which the base can be leveled by 5 cm.In addition, the product is characterized by high thermal insulation.

For interior decoration of premises they also use gypsum plaster. Although the material is considered plastic in work, it does not withstand moisture and mechanical stress. Thanks to its unique structure, surfaces with a large area can be leveled quickly and easily. Such mixtures are applied with a small thickness – up to 5 cm.

They dry quickly and allow you to start the next decorating process already 15 minutes after leveling..

Characteristics of the putty

Putties are a versatile finishing material that is produced in several types. Most often, craftsmen choose polymer, gypsum and cement putty for work. Each of these types of products is designed for specific applications. So, for example, a cement mixture is well suited for coating surfaces that are planned to be subsequently decorated with heavy materials..

It is also convenient to putty the walls with gypsum-based mixtures, but such a product is unstable to humidity and temperature extremes, it can deform and cannot withstand mechanical stress. Therefore, it is best to purchase a polymer putty.

In the process of its manufacture, various polymers are added in the form of acrylic and latex., in this connection, the characteristics of the material may change as follows:

  • Acrylic composition. Allows you to carry out high-quality work inside and outside buildings. Such raw materials do an excellent job with sudden changes in temperature and moisture, so they can be used to finish walls in rooms with non-standard microclimatic conditions..
  • Latex composition. It is a versatile tool for leveling subfloors, but it is best suited for interior renovations. Polymer putty is odorless, dries quickly and hides wall defects well.


After the rough work has been completed, you can proceed to the direct decoration of the walls, but at this stage many masters face the question of choosing a building material, since the putty is significantly different from plaster. The difference lies not only in the constituent components, but also in the scope of the mixtures. In addition, the dried plaster leaves a relief layer with a porous structure, and the putty gives the surface density and smoothness..

Plaster is usually chosen when it is necessary to cope with deep cracks and irregularities.. It allows you to eliminate the curvature of the walls, therefore it is applied in a thick layer. As for the putty, this material consists of small particles and is used for coatings to smooth out roughness and minor defects. The putty lends itself to sanding, therefore, after its application, the surface takes on an ideal look and is considered completely ready for interior design.

In order to increase the leveling effect, it is recommended to use these two products at the same time, as they cannot replace each other..

In addition, the main difference between plaster and putty is that the first mixture serves as a base layer, and the second is the final coating. Since the materials differ in the composition of the components, they require different drying times. For example, the plaster can dry for at least two days, and the walls finished with putty are ready for decoration after a few hours..

Application area

Before starting finishing activities with putty and plaster, it is important to take into account the nuance that these materials have their own individual characteristics of use. Usually, putty mixtures are chosen for leveling window slopes, ceilings and walls. To do this, they are purchased in a ready-made pasty form, or they are independently obtained by mixing dry components with water. In this case, the main task of the putty is not only leveling the base, but creating the most smooth surface on it..

This material is available in two types:

  • starting;
  • finishing.

Starter products are suitable for patching up cracks and small defects, and finishing products are chosen after all the work has been completed, when the base needs to be properly prepared for painting, wallpaper or other decor. It is worth noting that it is strictly forbidden to mix starting and finishing putty, as the result will be an inhomogeneous structure and such a layer will quickly crumble.

The starting coating is applied directly to the plaster in one or more layers, and the final effect is fixed. In addition, the finishing putty is used to remove small scratches and seams between drywall or slabs..

Plaster is characterized by another area of ​​application – aerated concrete, brick, cement and concrete surfaces are covered with its composition. The plaster is intended for rough surface finishing, its layer should not exceed 50 mm, but if it is necessary to cover the walls tightly, then it is best to additionally use a special reinforced mesh.

Plastering is performed at the very initial stage of preparation of walls and ceilings, after the old coating has been dismantled and the base has been cleaned. This material is produced in dry form, therefore before use, it is well mixed in the right proportions with water until a homogeneous consistency is formed.

How to apply?

Any surface finish must be of high quality and, at the end of the work, not only look beautiful, but also hold securely. To improve the performance of the decorative material, it must be applied to a well-prepared substrate. To do this, the coating is carefully leveled and its surface is made smooth with plaster and putty. In the event that the irregularities are less than 5 mm, then use a finishing putty. For huge cracks and pits, it is recommended to use plaster. Each of these products has individual properties, so the process of their application is different..

When working with plaster, first remove the remnants of the interbrick mortar that protrude on the walls, then determine the point of the protrusion using a level and calculate the maximum thickness of the mortar layer. After that, surface preparation begins and a primer is made..

To align the walls, you do not need to immediately cover their entire area, usually this is done in parts. Beacons will help to simplify the delimitation of zones.

The mixture is easy to prepare. The dry powder is poured into a special container and, according to the instructions on the label, is mixed with water until a homogeneous mass is formed. As a rule, it takes no more than half an hour to make a solution, after which it can be used.

The resulting mixture is applied to the surface with a spatula and leveled with a rule. At the same time, it is important to control the horizontal and vertical coverage. The remnants of the solution are removed, and then you can proceed to leveling another area.

Work with finishing putty is carried out when cracks do not exceed 2 mm. The finished mixture is applied to the walls by spraying or with a spatula. Before starting leveling, it is imperative to prime the surface. In order for the putty to be evenly distributed over the base, it is recommended to first hold the spatula at an angle of 60 degrees, and then gradually reduce its slope. It is necessary to cover the walls with putty with horizontal and vertical strokes. The finishing putty dries up within 24 hours, after which it can be sanded and decorative material can be applied over it in the form of paint or wallpaper.

Often, in order for the surface of the walls and ceiling to acquire an attractive appearance, textured plaster is used in their decoration, which, unlike the usual one, gives the coating an unusual decor.

It should be noted right away that the process of applying this material is not considered simple, therefore it requires a certain technique..

Since plastering is accompanied by dirt and dust, before it starts, you need to remove all furniture from the room and cover things.

The surface of the ceiling or walls is treated with a primer, which helps not only to conveniently distribute the solution, but also removes minor flaws. Textured compositions can be applied in various ways. The most popular is the texture using a roller. It is not particularly difficult and even a novice master can handle it.. The most important thing is to properly prepare the solution and make sure that there are no lumps in it..

In addition, textured finishing can be done using the spray technique. Unlike other methods, spraying is fast and ensures an even coating. One of the difficult types of applying textured putty is considered to be the “Venetian ceiling”. This technique is characterized by a complex finish, so it is best to entrust it to professional specialists..

If there is a desire to create an original ceiling in the room, then you can experiment and cover it with a textured print. For work, you need a special machine, it is attached to the handle and gives the surface the desired texture. In this case, the print must be done well, otherwise the composition will turn out to be fuzzy and vague..

Each of the above types of application of plaster and putty has its own pros and cons, allows you to create a beautiful design in the premises. Therefore, before starting the design, it is necessary to think over all the nuances of the decor and decide on the necessary building material.

Regardless of what the previous coating was, initially they completely dismantle it, clean the base, cover the walls and ceiling with a primer, and then choose the desired type of plaster and putty.

In this case, it is recommended to combine two materials at the same time and first of all use plaster, and then fix it with putty.

How to make decorative plaster yourself, see below..

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