Monday, March 1, 2010

Product Smack-down: Venetian Gem vs. StucoLux

We built both Ashley’s Party Bath finish and Mary’s Lower Level sample on a dark based plaster (Dark Brown for Ashley and Black for Mary). In the Faux Effects line, we have two possible choices: Venetian Gem (Tiger’s Eye and Black Onyx) or StucoLux (Delta Brown and Midnight).
StucoLux is a mineral-based creamy smooth polish plaster. The lime and minerals are non-toxic, durable, and washable. It comes in a tint base, 21 colors, 10 metallics, and 5 Hi-Lite Colors. It comes in Quart and Gallon Sizes. Non-Metallic Colors are available in a 5 gallon.

Venetian Gem is an acrylic and ground marble polish plaster that is non-toxic, durable, and washable. It comes in a tint base, 19 colors, and 7 Hi-Lite Colors. It comes in Quart and Gallon Sizes. Non-Hi-Lite Colors are available in a 5 gallon.

So far the two products sound very similar. Here is how the two products stack up against each other based on our needs to achieve our particular finishes.

Need one: A plaster base that could go over a previously painted surface. Ashley’s walls needed Setcoat but Mary had a quality dark latex paint on her walls. In our experience, because of the lime in the Stuco Lux, we recommend either Setcoat or Quartz Primer under this product to avoid small eggshell cracks. We have great success applying Venetian Gem over 2 coats of quality paint so Mary could save a prep step by using the Venetian Gem.

Need Two: Opaque Deep Color. StucoLux dries about 20% lighter then the bucket color. If we were tight troweling the same StucoLux color over the base, we would get a pretty undulation of darker and lighter shades. For our projects, we just want to pull lighter colors over a darker base. The Venetian Gem will dry more opaque and true to the bucket color.

Need Three: A high/low base that is semi-thick. We may build the Venetian Gem with a sea sponge roller, a regular sea sponge, or a trowel without any cracking. StucoLux is best applied with a flat trowel technique and low graceful trowel lines.

Need Four: Only the plaster “tips” need to be polished. StucoLux has a more “glass-like” polish that would be buried by the glazes, Palette Deco, and Lusterstones, and Waxes we pulled over our finishes. It makes more sense for us to stack our products over the “denser” polish of the Venetian Gem.

Need Five: The base plaster is part of the finish-it is not the finish. StucoLux is slightly more expensive then the Venetian Gem. If we wanted a high shine plaster in a beautiful color then StucoLux is certainly worth the money-it gives a look similar to more pricey Italian Lime Plasters. The Venetian Gem is a more economical way to get the good solid base we needed for both finishes.

In the end, we selected the Venetian Gem Tiger’s Eye and Black Onyx. We have an easy to apply plaster that has color depth, is very durable, may be applied to a medium thickness in one coat, and is economical. Using the ‘rough roll” method, 1 gallon will cover 200 square feet (80% plaster and 20% of the base paint showing through) for one layer. We will show you other projects in the future where the StucoLux is the better option.

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