What’s the difference between plaster and stucco?

The names "plaster" and "stucco" have been used interchangeably around the world, making things confusing. Here are our definitions:

Earthen Plaster, also known as lime plaster, is a mixture of lime, sand, and sometimes some clay or pigment. This recipe has been used for thousands of years and is depicted in the Taj Mahal and the Egyptian pyramids. Lime is a pure calcium carbonate created from crushed and kiln-dried limestone; when mixed with water it dries to become limestone again.

Cement Stucco is similar to our earthen plaster recipe except Portland cement replaces lime. Portland cement, invented in the 1800s, is a mixure of lime, clay, and by-products of the coal and iron industries including fly ash, mercury, and other toxic heavy metals.

Earthen plaster is a healthier alternative without the toxic by-products and is compatible with organic materials such as wood and straw because of its ability to wick away moisture.

Cement stucco has the benefit of drying quickly to twice the strength while earthen plaster can take days to harden to the touch (and months to reach full strength).

Both require high heat and energy to mine and produce, and both can be applied over most interior or exterior surfaces such as concrete block, cement board, metal lathe, brick, and foam. And, unlike paint, earthen plaster and cement stucco offer a low-maintenance, elegant finish with a variety of textures and colors while adding thermal mass to regulate home temperature.