Smooth Walls Without Plastering: Some Ideas

Wouldn't it be nice to build walls that don't need plaster?

How to get a wall without plastering

Plastering is perhaps the most difficult part of building a wall.

If putting up a wall takes effort and precision, plastering also requires a good deal of manual skills.

It is a time-consuming job that, if not done properly, can cause many subsequent problems, from cracks in the plaster to actual plaster detachment.

This is why it is not recommended for the beginner DIY enthusiast to dive into this undertaking.

Of course, with pre-mixed plasters we could at least ensure that the plaster mortar contains all the necessary components for optimal plastering, but it is then the application phase that makes the difference.

In short, if we could get rid of the 'hassle' of plastering, we could also get rid of one of the jobs that causes the most dirt in the house and the most impact on labour costs.

Clearly, in a new building it is unimaginable to avoid the costs of plastering, but for a small job such as a curtain wall or counter wall, perhaps it might actually be useful to have a finished product that does not need plaster.

Do these products exist? Of course they do.

No wall, however, can be said to be completely finished once it has been built. Even if plastering is not necessary, at the very least smoothing and closing of joints is still necessary.

We are, however, talking about a very minimal job compared to a wall to be covered with plaster and that, yes, even the do-it-yourself enthusiast can afford to do.

Let us see which materials allow us to obtain a wall without plaster and only to be levelled.

Lightweight concrete

Cellular concrete is a very good material for building interior walls, partitions, bookcases and masonry kitchens.

Cellular concrete blocks are particularly uniform and, in combination with the special adhesive, allow a wall to be put up quickly and easily.

What you get is an already particularly smooth wall surface that only needs to be smoothed with the special cellular concrete plaster.

Yes, a special material must be used for levelling in order to avoid micro cracks in the plaster after levelling.

Cellular concrete is a material that forgives mistakes and is therefore particularly suitable for beginners.

Pre-plastered bricks

These special bricks, with 4 or 8 holes, are lined with scagliola on one or both sides.

They are the bricks that are commonly used for infill walls or counter walls and are offered here already finished.

Assembly is extremely easy thanks to the tongue-and-groove heads, which must be bonded using a special glue made from scagliola and chemical adhesives.

Tracks for electrical installations can be made with traditional grooves, also using the internal voids in the brickwork for the passage of pipes and conduits.

The joints are smoothed using a mixture of scagliola and adhesive.

In addition to not requiring plaster, these bricks also have good thermal and acoustic insulation characteristics.

Lego-like blocks

Lego-like modular blocks are an ingenious invention that has led to the development of several products based on the same conceptual approach.

Just like Lego bricks, these large bricks can be interlocked with each other with the same disarming ease as toy bricks.

Whether the bricks are made of wood or plastic makes little difference, in the end you get a wall with a smooth surface that can be left exposed or covered with wallpaper.

The most interesting thing is that walls built in this way are perhaps the only ones that can also be dismantled entirely.

The bricks can therefore be dismantled and reassembled elsewhere, amortising the cost of the investment.

Plasterboard

I have left plasterboard for last but it is perhaps the first choice for achieving a wall that does not require plaster.

Plasterboard panels, by their nature, are perfectly smooth and ready to receive paint.

Installation requires a frame of aluminium profiles to which the panels are anchored.

The joints between the panels must be closed with special mesh tape and shaved with scagliola.

Among the many advantages of this material is also the fact that plasterboard can be bent to produce impressive curved walls.

As you can see, therefore, the ways to have a wall that does not require plaster are different, regardless of whether you want to leave the wall rustic, such as stone or exposed brick.

Plaster has the great advantage of making the wall smooth and paintable, and this is no small thing.

The smoother the wall is, already in the construction phase, the less plaster will be needed, as we can limit ourselves to an easy levelling of the surface.