Web Design, Murals, Fine Art, Faux Finishing

Venetian Plaster Pricing Is This Possible?

venetian plaster gold dome faux finishing
Venetian Plaster Gold Dome Ceiling

Venetian Plaster Pricing Is This Possible?

Over the past 4 to 5 years places such as Port Royal, Mediterra, Pelican Bay,West Bay, Lely, and many more may have been experiencing something unusual in venetian plaster pricing in the decorative arts market (faux finishing) . It seems that prices have actually fallen in some trade areas and in my opinion it is not because of the economic conditions.

I frequent social media venues such as Facebook and LinkedIn on a regular basis as well as others.I participate with a few responses to questions that I find important to the industry on certain issues that I have discovered via my own experience and market research discoveries that have changed within the faux finishing and decorative arts markets.

Artist Margie Richardson asks;

I have a bid question for everyone. I am preparing a quote for a venetian plaster (synthetic) job and I would like input on the current square footage price. I have done quite a bit of decorative painting lately, but I haven’t done a plaster in more than a year. I know with economic fluctuations and regional differences the prices are all over the place, and I would like a current market update on pricing from those who would know best….this group…the job is a simple polished plaster without embellishments and the designer and client are interested in the look, not in having true venetian plaster. I am aware of all the variables that need to be built in and was looking for a jumping off point. I don’t want to scare the builder…but someone gave him a figure of 9K for 2300 sq ft of surface with a 12 ft ceiling……which works out to about $3 and change a sq ft……..if I’m not crazy…that’s what a painter charges to paint…..roughly. Thanks in advance for your input!

Marjorie I would like to add a little insight to what I have found in the market and hope this helps. There is a product that can be purchased through a supplier in the Orlando Florida area called Kalcaustico. It is a clear medium that can give you a polished plaster look by troweling it over a base paint of any color. You can even tint the Kalcaustico to get some pretty convincing aged venetian plaster appearances. Although this product offends most venetian plaster artisans (including myself) it’s still a cost effective way to achieve the polished plaster look. If you want an authentic imported tinted venetian plaster you can expect to pay (including shipping) between 2.25 to 2.50 p/sq/ft for materials and maybe a little less for a good synthetic. Of course this changes depending on application, applicator and type of plaster. However the Kalcaustico will cover alot more area than an actual “milled out” venetian plaster.

Can a 2300 sq/ft simulated venetian plaster application be done for $9,000?

Yes, I believe it can, if there has been a material overage from another job that has been expense already and just taking up space in someones wherehouse can actually be costing the company money indirectly just in the handling costs of rotating the inventory.

Can it be applied at $3.00 a sq/ft?

Sure it can, I know guys that can bang out 700 to 1000 sq/ft a day with their eyes closed. Another fact to keep in mind is importers are in the business to move plaster and they get plaster at a much cheaper cost by volume than an artist can. They move huge volumes of material and if you knew the actual difference in price of what they pay and what you pay it would shock you, but hey that’s the nature of the business and why we as artists have to be very creative in our plaster designs.

However in a standard plain Jane rock and roll application that you’re describing and within respect to both the artisan and the “working importer” I would say yes I could see this being done for that price as a quick “filler job” for either party as a way to dump some material overage and keep a few hourly pro applicators busy for a couple of days.

Personally as an artist I could not compete with this because my business is about being an artist and not about moving simple plaster applications and would have to let this one go. Two totally different business models competing for the same job that are geared to handle a situation in two totally different approaches is the same as comparing a “production painter” to a “custom painter.” If I were the builder I would surely “qualify” each process and note the materials being used and why. This is what’s called a production, bare bone, nothing fancy, in and out, go cat go! kind of price, and this is probably what the $9,000.00 company is geared for and has mastered.

A basic two layer one color venetian plaster application is no longer a rarity and has become common place within a market that has become saturated.

With that being said I may have offended some artisans and possibly friended others but the point I am trying to make is you have to realize  how, where and why the market changes in the way that it does and how the decorative artists have to be more innovative and creative to keep ahead and lead in the decorative arts industry. Anymore I really don’t compete with this type of work or application and stay more within the specialty side of the decorative arts market by creating custom made venetian plaster treatments for my clients that fit to their own unique lifestyles and homes decor which is what separates me from the “production” side of things.

So in my response to what is your opinion, Would you still try to compete with this and purchase the cheaper product?

Or would you create a much more customized venetian plaster finish to show the client and stay within your comfort zone?

Leave a comment below and share this conversation and I would love to hear from designers and home owners.

For more on venetian plaster and decorative arts,

Artist Marjorie Richardson

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