How to Remove Venetian Plaster from Your Walls

What You'll Need
Drop cloths
Masking tape
Electric sander
80 grit sandpaper
120 grit sandpaper
Vacuum cleaner
Plastic cloths
Dust mask
Safety goggles

Venetian plaster can look good with a certain style of décor. However, what do you do when you want to change a room design and the Venetian plaster suddenly looks entirely out of place? You can remove it yourself to save some money.  You should also be aware that this is a process that can often be messy with a lot of clean-up work involved.

Step 1 - Preparation

There’s a lot of preparation required before you start removing Venetian plaster. First, take all of the furniture out of the room or, if that’s not possible, cover everything with drop cloths including the floor. Next, remove all the outlet and switch plates. Cover the openings completely with masking tape.

When you’ve completed this, tape plastic cloths over the window and door frames to seal the room. Make one slit in the doorway so you can enter and exit the room.

Step 2 - First Sanding

Put on your dusk mask and safety goggles (because of the amount of dust created, use goggles rather than safety glasses). Put a piece of P80 grit sandpaper in your electric sander and begin to sand down the Venetian plaster. Work from one corner, moving outward. You’ll need to replace the sandpaper regularly as it will wear down quickly.

The aim isn’t to achieve complete flatness on the wall but to remove most of the ridges and leave the wall somewhat smooth. You’ll find that there are areas you won’t be able to reach properly with the electric sander. For these areas, put P80 grit sandpaper on a sanding block to manually remove the Venetian plaster.

Step 3 - Second Sanding

When you have the ridges removed and you’ve achieved a certain level of smoothness, change the P80 grit sandpaper for P120 grit sandpaper to feather out what’s left of your Venetian plaster. Work slowly, again working out from the corner. This time you want to achieve a smooth, level surface.

You should stop regularly and wipe down the wall with a cloth to remove any dust and tidy up any uneven areas. Again, you’ll need to block sand some areas if they are not accessible to the electric sander. Move the sander constantly to avoid gouging too deep. If you’re not satisfied with the finish, you can sand again using a finer grit of either a P180 grit or P200 grade. This will ensure a very smooth finish to the walls.

Step 4 - Cleanup

As you see, the process generates a lot of dust. To start the cleanup, wash down the wall that had the Venetian plaster on it with a damp cloth to remove all the dust from the surface. You will almost certainly need to wash the other walls too. Carefully fold up the drop cloths and remove the plastic sheets and masking tape. To finish cleaning the room, you will need to vacuum thoroughly, possibly even twice, to pick up all the dust.