The use of Haired Basecoat Plaster & Fine Finish

Technical Guidance TGN 5.  (RJ 2.05).

Non-hydraulic lime putty internal plasters are soft, porous and permeable.  These are the materials used historically to plaster traditional buildings and are therefore normally the appropriate materials for re-plastering and plaster repairs. 

Modern Natural Hydraulic Limes (RJ1.05) are being increasingly used for re-plastering traditional buildings but these modern materials produce stronger, less flexible and less permeable plasters than the traditional material.  


SPH7 - Basecoat plaster with fibres added at a rate equivalent to 3½ kgs animal hair per tonne

SPH5 - Basecoat plaster with fibres added at a rate equivalent to 2½ kgs animal hair per tonne

SPUH - Basecoat plaster without fibre reinforcement

SFF - Fine Finish Plaster

SMF - Medium Finish Plaster


Lime putty plasters are supplied ready-mixed in a ‘ready-to-use’ consistency, but stiffen during storage. Workability can be improved by re-mixing in conventional plaster mixer, or by whisking.  Avoid the addition of water, as this will increase the likelihood of shrinkage. Lime putty plasters do not perform as modern gypsum, hydraulic lime or cement-based plasters.

Do not gauge with cement. Pozzolanic materials are normally (seek technical advice) acceptable additives if the speed of set or strength is a concern in a particular application or location.  Seek technical advice if gauging with gypsum or hydraulic lime is specified.

Lime putty plasters must be stored in a frost-free environment.  Do not use in extremes of heat and cold.  Lime plasters must be protected from drying too quickly by regular mist-spraying to aid curing and carbonation.  Heating systems must be turned down and de-humidifiers should not be used.

Lime putty plaster is not normally applied to dense concrete block, plasterboard or EML (Expanded Metal Lathing).  Riven (hand-split) oak or chestnut lath (RJ7.10) is the correct lathing.  

Lime putty plastering is a specialist trade and best carried out by a skilled lime plasterer with experience of lime putty plasters.  Successful use of base-coat plaster depends on application in maximum 10mm coats and control of the drying process. On timber laths it is crucial that the ‘pricking-up’ coat (use SPH7) is pushed through the gaps to form good nibs behind as the plaster ‘hangs’ from the nibs and does not adhere well to the laths.  

Basecoat plasters are finished with fine or medium finish plaster, often applied in two coats ‘wet-on-wet’ and then decorated with a permeable paint such as Soft or Casein Distemper, or Pure or Casein Limewash. 

Detailed application guidance is given in Technical Advice Note TAN7, and technical advice is available on 01935 83676