Plaster, stucco, and EIFS may differ in their intended aesthetic, performance, and location within the building, but they’re tied together by similar design considerations for proper detailing and are often installed by the same set of skilled craftworkers.
Contemporary interior plaster systems, while based on a rich tradition of durability, have improved thanks in part to material performance advancements. Plaster offers design flexibility with its sound absorbing properties, lightweight characteristics, and seamless, monolithic appearance. Plus, modern design options provide a wide range of colors, finishes, textured surfaces, and can even simulate natural materials like stone.
Exterior stucco, also referred to as a render, is a common material assembly applied to the exterior of buildings as cladding. Stucco has been used for thousands of years as a protective and aesthetic assembly and its composition has evolved with time from traditional to more contemporary materials. With each evolution, material properties and the substrate to which it has been applied have changed based on advancements in building science principles and building code requirements. And in each of these iterations, stucco has evolved to meet the challenges and needs of a more efficient enclosure.
Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) is an exterior wall cladding consisting of an assemblage of various components, including a rigid insulation board and a synthetic plaster finish. These products are available in an array of textures and colors and can have a wide range of appearances based on different application techniques. Sometimes called synthetic stucco, EIFS has very different components and installation requirements than conventional stucco.
Acoustical plaster helps create a comfortable interior environment for building occupants, thanks to its sound absorbing properties. Its design possibilities are flexible, since it can conform to an array of surfaces, from flat, to curved, vaulted, and in between. It’s also available in a wide array of finishes. Although white finishes are popular, color selection is unlimited, and additional textures, including the simulation of natural materials like stone, offer additional design options.
Acoustical plaster has microscopic pores that allow sound to travel through the plaster into an underlying acoustical board that’s part of the assembly and absorbs most of the sound. Large spaces with hard surfaces tend to reverberate sound, making intelligibility of voice, music, and other sounds challenging. Creating a pleasant acoustical experience has positive impacts on health, safety, learning, quality of life, and an occupant’s overall experience in a space. Acoustical plaster absorbs sounds, resulting in a reduction of the reverberation time, and allowing conversations or music, for example, to become clearer, even in the harshest of environments.
There are various acoustical plastering systems on the market with different mounting systems that may also impact the acoustical performance. Different mounting systems include direct to substrate, suspended, or direct to framing. There are also plaster only systems that can also be sprayed directly to the substrate without the use of an acoustical board.
Although moisture intrusion within building enclosures is one of the greatest risks to a building, acoustical performance is also high on the list. Highly trained, qualified craftworkers with artisan skills are necessary for the successful installation of acoustical plaster.
Acoustical plaster is commonly used in building types and spaces that need high performing sound absorptive characteristics. This includes spaces like museums, auditoriums, libraries, government buildings, religious institutions, healthcare facilities, and high-end residential or retail spaces.
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Here are some additional resources that focus on plaster, stucco and EIFS systems. For additional guidance, contact IMI.
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