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Microcement vs Venetian Plaster: What’s the best option for you?

Two textured trending materials... but what makes them the better choice for your next design?

October 25, 2022
Image by Topicement

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So, I hear you want to incorporate some texture directly into the walls of your next design… How exciting! Besides congratulations, I can give you something more and let you know how to grapple with the choice of “Microcement versus Venetian plaster”. Ready to delve deep?

What is microcement?

Microcement refers to the decorative coating used in walls, floors and other surfaces to give the impression of concrete or polished concrete. There is no one size fits all formula for microcement, however, all microcements contain cement and resin. After mixing those two elements, the mix is applied in thin layers (approximately 1-2 mm each) and then saturated with a polyurethane sealant with a matte, satin, or gloss finish.

Microcement is generally about 3mm thick, which makes it an easy product to install with little man labour and tooling cost involved. In addition to not producing debris, microcement provides amazing versatility to interior designers. It is a material designed to cover vertical and horizontal surfaces both indoors and outdoors, so its use is not limited to the floor. It is perfectly suited for use on floors, walls, furniture, stairs, bathrooms, and kitchens… The possibilities are endless!

Imagery by Luxury Concrete

What is Venetian plaster?

Venetian plaster is a wall and ceiling finish made of plaster mixed with marble dust that is spread in thin, repeated layers with a spatula or trowel and then burnished to give a smooth surface. Traditional Venetian plaster also has an element of sand, which gives the final results a singularly textured result. 

However, not all plasters are the same; techniques such as marmorino, scagliola, or sgraffito allow interior designers to create different effects that play with light, depth and reflectivity. Marmorino and scagliola render highly glamorous and marble-like results, while sgraffito consists of different layers of coloured plaster that when scratched off can create 3D impressions of patterns and figures.

Interiors by Blakes London

What are the similarities between Microcement and Venetian plaster?

Texture. When designers are choosing between Microcement and Venetian plaster, this is probably because a client wants a special wall with more texture than your usual painted wall. Both of these techniques give truly unique looks to spaces, so it makes sense that interior designers would think about both options.

Thinness. Both techniques are relatively easy to apply because of their thinness in comparison to other techniques, such as using concrete or stone slabs. This creates reduced weight, debris, labour and tools for the project, which makes both materials great contenders. 

Colour possibilities. Both of these techniques allow colour to be incorporated into the material. This gives the colour more depth, as it is directly in the wall rather than on top of it.

Curated by Your Home Style UK

What are the differences between Microcement and Venetian plaster?

Aesthetics. This is the most obvious difference, but definitely the most important to consider. Venetian plaster is close to the glam essence of marble and other organic materials, which results in spaces full of luxury and excess. On the other hand, microcement is close to cement, which tends to give off an industrial, minimalist vibe. It is totally possible and encouraged to subvert these expectations, but it is something to think about.

Durability. Venetian plaster is an ancestral technique, first documented in Roman times. Despite this, microcement is considered to be more durable and less prone to cracking, both through time and in the face of accidental impact.

Simplicity. Microcements ingredients are more specialised and difficult to obtain, while Venetian plaster is made out of traditional materials.

Cost. Venetian plaster tends to be more expensive than microcement because of the luxurious finish.

Interiors by Chan + Eayrs

Our recommendations

Ultimately, both materials can be desirable for different purposes. But to help you sort your mind out, we’ve put together a list of questions for you to consider.

Do you want a contemporary or classic look?

  1. Contemporary
  2. Classic

Will your clients’ space be used by children?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Are you worried about cost?

  1. Not really
  2. 100% a cause of concern

Do you have access to a variety of materials?

  1. Yes 
  2. No

Do you want a space that feels…

  1. Industrial
  2. Luxurious

Would you like to use the desired material both indoors and outdoors?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. N/A

If the majority of the answers are A, you might be leaning towards Microcement. If it’s B, it might be good to consider Venetian plaster. However, at the end of the day, it is your’s and your clients’ choice – and most of the time, it is reduced to an aesthetic one.


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