Building Finishes

Building finishes such as plastering, varnishing, dis-tempering, white-washing, coloring, etc basically perform two functions as pointed below.

  • They give a protective coating to the surfaces which protects them from weather effects such as rain water, frost, heat etc, and
  • They provide decorative effects which add to the appearance of the surfaces and building as a whole.

Types of Building Finishes

1. Plastering

This is the process of covering various surfaces of the structure with a plastic material such as cement mortar, lime mortar or composite mortar, etc to obtain an even, smooth, regular, clean and durable surface. Plastering conceals inferior quality materials and defective workmanship and also provides a protective coating against atmospheric effects. It further provides a base for receiving other decorative finishes such as painting, white washing, etc.

2. Pointing

This is the process of finishing of mortar joints in exposed brick or stone masonry, which is achieved through two operations. Firstly, masonry joints in brick or stone are raked out to a depth of about 15 mm and then these spaces are filled up by a suitable mortar of richer mix. Pointing gives a good appearance to the masonry work and also prevents the entry of water into the wall.

3. Painting

This is the process of coating with paint as a final finish to all surfaces such as walls, ceilings, wood work, metal work, etc in order to protect them from weathering effects to prevent decay of wood and corrosion in metal, and over and above to obtain a clean, colorful and pleasing surface.

4. Varnishing

This is the process of applying varnish to the wooden surfaces and also to the painted surfaces, in order to improve their appearance and protect them from atmospheric actions.

5. Dis-tempering

This is the process of applying distemper over the plastered surfaces more easily and with lesser cost than paints and varnishes, to safeguard them against weather effects and improve their appearance. A distemper as water paint, consist of whiting (i.e. powered chalk), glue or casein which act as a binder, and suitable proportions of fast colour pigments. Distempers are readily available in a variety of different shades in the form of a stiff paste or dry powder in sealed tins.

6. White Washing

In this process, a mixture of pure fat slaked lime in sufficient quantity of water is first prepared. It is then screened through coarse cloth and a mixture of boiled gum with rice in certain proportions is added to it. The solution so formed, called white-wash, is then applied by brushes to a specified number of coats, usually three.

7. Colour Washing

It is similar to white washing except a coloring pigment of desired shade and nature, unaffected by lime, is added to white wash. Colour washing is applied in one or two coats only.


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