Finishing the facade of the house with plaster “bark beetle”

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Surely you have heard of plaster “bark beetle” as one of the options for external and internal wall decoration, but you are not familiar with it closely enough to repeat it yourself. Today we will tell you about the “bark beetle” in terms of advantages and disadvantages, as well as about the way to do the work with your own hands.

Finishing the facade of the house with bark beetle plaster

How does the “bark beetle” behave in operation

Pebble textured plaster, in common people called “bark beetle”, is deservedly popular. This material, when studied in detail, is able once and for all to get rid of the ambiguity of the choice of the method of finishing the facade.

First of all, because the “bark beetle” has an impressive resistance to all sorts of influences, both mechanical and atmospheric. The reason for this is the structure of the material: it includes fillers of different size fractions, ranging from fine sand to texture-forming granite chips. Due to the heterogeneity, the coating perfectly perceives changes in temperature, humidity and the associated linear deformations. And since the main binder in the plaster is gypsum, the finish layer remains very strong, resistant to erosion and practically not subject to punching when the substrate is properly installed.

Finishing the facade of the house with bark beetle plaster

“Bark beetle” remains a “breathing” plaster. It allows excess water vapor to leave the carrier layer without hindrance, while on the outside, the coating practically does not absorb water, and when it gets wet it dries up in a matter of hours. Due to this, the development of mold and mildew is excluded on the facade..

And, of course, the “bark beetle” is attractive for its versatility and affordability. This is one of the most budget-friendly finishing options, and the ability to apply on your own reduces the already modest costs..

Finishing the facade of the house with bark beetle plaster

Of the few disadvantages, one can cite a too monotonous appearance of the finish on large planes, low originality and exactingness to the exact adherence to the application technique. However, these rules are simple and few in number, and the primitiveness of the coverage can be compensated by zoning and other design techniques..

Technological compliance of the insulation layer and the supporting base

Very often “bark beetle” is used as a decorative coating applied not to the supporting layer of the wall, but on top of a layer of thermal insulation with a specially prepared substrate. This is possible due to a very thin coating layer and low own weight: there is no need to prepare a reinforced supporting base for the “bark beetle”, which inevitably has to be done when enclosing a house with siding or ventilated facades.

Finishing the facade of the house with bark beetle plaster Scheme of a wet facade with polystyrene foam insulation. 1. Brick wall. 2. Adhesive for expanded polystyrene. 3. Expanded polystyrene. 4. A layer of adhesive reinforced with a polymer mesh. 5. Putty. 6. Decorative plaster “bark beetle”

However, applying plaster directly over the insulation layer would be a serious mistake. “Bark beetle” requires a well-prepared surface: smooth, flat, without seams, level drops and visible distortions. We can say more: the wall under the “bark beetle” should be perfectly smooth, without exaggeration.

In the case of external insulation of the house, polyurethane and polystyrene plates up to 20 mm thick come to the rescue. They cover the facade, enhancing the heat-insulating properties of the walls and achieving the formation of an even and sufficiently solid “crust” suitable for subsequent work. PPU is preferred by PPP or foam boards, due to its high density – so the coating will be resistant to bursting.

Finishing the facade of the house with bark beetle plaster Scheme of a wet facade on top of a foam block. 1. Wall from a foam block. 2. Plaster reinforced with polymer mesh. 3. Putty. 4. Decorative plaster “bark beetle”

You can also cover walls without an external insulation belt with bark beetle. And although in this case the use of board materials is not required, the surface must be prepared. From the walls of the foam block, for example, you should remove the remnants of glue with a trowel with an abrasive P80 mesh, removing the streaks of the solution so that the seams acquire a natural thickness. It is recommended to prepare the masonry of small-sized elements with a thin layer of plaster, preferably with the use of a facade fiberglass mesh. Structural strengthening is the more relevant, the more the building is subject to seasonal fluctuations and the formation of microcracks in the supporting layer..

We focus on the range of finishing materials

It is incredibly easy to get lost in the variety of “bark beetles” offered by building bases. By itself, pebble plaster has many varieties, and a number of manufacturers strive to prove that their products are the best of the best..

First of all, let’s define the type of “bark beetle”. The material supplied ready for use has an acrylic base and, on average, costs 30-50% more than gypsum compositions. In addition, the acrylic “bark beetle” has a slightly different application specificity, so it is recommended to work with it only if you have at least a little experience in applying gypsum compositions.

Finishing the facade of the house with bark beetle plaster Comparison of the characteristics of acrylic and mineral compounds

Of the advantages of acrylic, it is worth focusing on high resistance to cracking, so it can be applied even on a base without structural reinforcement. Also, acrylic is interesting for the possibility of preliminary tinting, while gypsum-based finishing can be painted only after drying.

Finishing the facade of the house with bark beetle plaster Acrylics are very easy to color using a wide range of dyes even at the mixing stage. The color is long-lasting and deep

Another issue is graininess. It determines the thickness of the applied layer (0.5–1 mm more than the largest fraction). It, in turn, directly depends on the scale of the processed plane, that is, the thickness of the finish should increase in proportion to the total area of ​​the facade. In practice, plasters with a grain size of 3 to 4.5 mm are considered the most popular..

Finishing the facade of the house with bark beetle plaster A particularly coarse filler fraction creates deep and sparse grooves, however, the thickness of the plaster layer and its consumption increase significantly

As for manufacturers, the products of large renowned manufacturers can definitely be considered timeless classics, and the quality of these materials has been proven by time and widespread use. But even among the lesser known European manufacturers, you can find products of decent quality in the middle price category..

Work technique

Now let’s move on to the application technique. We have an absolutely smooth surface that needs to be coated with a deep penetrating primer (preferably a roller) to remove residual dust and improve adhesion.

Finishing the facade of the house with bark beetle plaster

Unlike putty and other dry mixes, “bark beetle” is diluted with water in a proportion strictly established by the manufacturer. After obtaining a homogeneous mass, the mixture will be ready for use after ten minutes of settling. Life time is usually 20 minutes to half an hour.

It is advisable to start finishing the house from those walls that are less visible and less often than others. This will give more confidence to the movements of the hands and will allow you to get better acquainted with the features of a particular composition. The amount of plaster in one batch should correspond to the area that you are able to process in 15-20 minutes. One of the main finishing rules is that one wall should be covered entirely at a time, albeit in several stages..

Finishing the facade of the house with bark beetle plaster

It is optimal when two people are involved in the decoration. The first person applies the base layer of plaster using a metal trowel (falcon) or a 350 mm trowel. The task, as in working with ordinary gypsum plaster, is to level the plane with a layer of uniform thickness, smoothing the boundaries between the areas covered from different mixes. “Bark beetle” is very plastic and pliable, so there are almost no difficulties in alignment. In parallel, the installation of front corner profiles is carried out to protect both the outer corners of the building and the slopes.

The second plasterer moves in parallel with a time lag of 30-45 minutes. When the “bark beetle” has already grabbed, it is wiped with a polyurethane trowel so that the pebbles of the coarse fraction leave scars and furrows. At the same time, the nature of the movements determines the pattern of the texture, therefore it is necessary to rub the “bark beetle” strictly systematically.

Finishing the facade of the house with bark beetle plasterMovement pattern for obtaining different types of drawing. 1. Vertical furrows. 2. Circular, chaotic. 3. Horizontal furrows. 4. Criss-cross

One of the simplest and most aesthetically pleasing options is vertical furrows or the so-called “rain”. Please note that you can move the grater both from top to bottom and from bottom to top, but always in a strictly defined direction. Perhaps, having filled your hand, you will master more complex techniques: rubbing diagonally or in circular motions with a constant radius.

To help, we suggest that you familiarize yourself with the video:

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