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What is Thermal Plastering?

what is thermal plastering

In the building and construction sector, there's a high demand for materials that are energy efficient, sustainable and affordable. Among these, thermal plastering stands out as an innovative solution that not only boasts natural insulative properties but is also eco-friendly and cost-effective. This material is rapidly gaining traction across the UK, being used to coat everything from residential homes to commercial buildings.

Interested in learning more about thermal plastering? Read on for a complete guide to this plastering solution, including how it works, the benefits it offers and some of its different applications.

Thermal plastering: a new era of insulation

Thermal plastering is a modern technique used to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, without adding extra bulk or compromising the finish. Unlike traditional plastering methods, which focus primarily on aesthetics and structural integrity, thermal plastering incorporates insulative properties. This makes it an effective way to regulate indoor temperatures and reduce energy consumption.

How does thermal plastering get its insulative properties? The product is infused with insulating materials like cork to create a thermal barrier that minimises heat transfer. When applied to interior or exterior surfaces, the render improves thermal performance.

The science behind thermal plastering

Conductivity, a term that measures the ability of a material to conduct heat, is at the core of thermal plastering. Traditional building materials like concrete, brick and standard plaster typically have high thermal conductivity, which can result in significant heat loss or gain depending on external conditions.

In comparison, thermal plastering materials like SprayCork are engineered to minimise thermal conductivity. This helps prevent heat transfer through walls, ceilings and floors. The result? An insulative layer that actively regulates indoor temperatures and reduces energy consumption.

Standard vs thermal plastering

What’s the difference between standard and thermal plastering? Standard plastering is typically made with a blend of water, sand and additives like cement, gypsum or lime. It’s usually purchased in powdered form then mixed into a dense paste onsite, which makes it easy to apply to walls and other surfaces. While traditional plaster does provide some level of insulation, the overall impact on heat transfer is minimal.

In contrast, thermal plastering incorporates insulating materials into the blend. This results in a product with the look and function of standard plastering, enhanced with insulative properties. An excellent example of this is SprayCork, which harnesses the unique thermal insulation properties of cork.

The exceptional insulating properties of cork

Over recent years, cork has emerged as one of the most popular insulative materials for thermal plastering. Natural and renewable, the material is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree and renowned for its exceptional insulating properties.

This is largely thanks to its unique cellular structure comprised of tiny, air-filled pockets. These act as barriers to heat transfer, stopping warm air from escaping and preventing cool air from seeping in. When blended into plaster, cork significantly boosts the insulation capabilities of the render.

Spotlight on SprayCork

When it comes to thermal plastering systems, one product outperforms the competition. Designed for superior performance and easy application, SprayCork represents a groundbreaking advancement in thermal plastering technology.

Suitable for both interior and exterior applications, the spray-on product is created with finely ground cork particles suspended in a water-based acrylic resin. This innovative formula forms a robust yet breathable protective layer that improves thermal performance and weather resistance in a thin coating.

Colour matching is easy thanks to dozens of options. This gives architects, designers and homeowners the freedom to optimise energy efficiency without compromising on style.

How is SprayCork thermal plastering applied?

The name says it all when it comes to the SprayCork application process. The product is sprayed onto surfaces using either a gravity fed hopper gun, or a spray machine. Most surfaces require two coats to build up to a thickness of around 6mm before a 2mm overskim of plaster.

The benefits of thermal plastering

Why choose thermal plastering to improve your property? Read on for a closer look at the myriad of benefits.

Improved energy efficiency

Thermal plastering minimises heat loss during the winter months and slows down heat gain in summer. This reduces reliance on energy-guzzling climate control systems like heating and air conditioning, a benefit that can not only slash heating bills by up to 15% but also reduces carbon emissions.


One of the major benefits of thermal plastering is that it can be applied in a thin coat of around 8mm in total. That’s particularly beneficial when compared to other insulation solutions like insulation boards or panels, which can be up to 100mm thick.

That might not seem like much, but imagine 100mm being added to each wall in a room. Not to mention the layer of plaster they need on top to allow for decoration. That’s a significant amount of space being lost, simply to keep yourself comfortable.

Enhanced comfort

Thanks to their insulating properties, thermal plaster products create a more stable indoor environment with fewer temperature fluctuations. This improves comfort and well-being for occupants year-round.

Moisture regulation

In addition to improving insulation, thermal plastering has excellent moisture regulation properties. Solutions like SprayCork allow buildings to breathe and help prevent the buildup of condensation and mould.

Longevity and durability

With proper application and maintenance, thermal plastering systems can significantly extend the lifespan of building exteriors and interiors. Solutions like spray-on cork are designed with durability in mind and actively protect against wear, weathering and degradation from the elements.


SprayCork champions the use of natural, renewable materials. This makes it a stellar choice for homeowners in search of sustainable and eco-conscious building materials.


Thermal plastering is designed to effortlessly cover a range of surfaces, including steel. So long as your surface is clean and dry, SprayCork will adhere to virtually any substrate, with the exception of pure silicon.

Bonus sound insulation

Acoustic insulation goes hand in hand with improved thermal performance. Thermal plastering systems like SprayCork can absorb up to 38dB of sound, making them ideal for muting outside noise.

Fire resistant

Solutions like SprayCork boast a Class B fire rating, a high score that makes the material ideal for use in residential and commercial settings.

Breathable and water resistant

Unlike other renders that can trap moisture inside, thermal plastering is breathable and water resistant. This property helps prevent the buildup of mould and damp, contributing to healthier living and working spaces.

Ready to decorate

Another advantage of thermal plastering is that it provides a surface which can be decorated with ease. Once your plaster has dried, you can paint or wallpaper on top of it with ease. In contrast, insulation boards require a further layer of plaster before they can be decorated. That adds to the cost, duration and hassle of the job.

Is thermal plastering eco-friendly?

From reclaimed wood and recycled steel to rammed earth and natural stone, green building materials are highly coveted in the UK. For homeowners and construction companies in search of eco-friendly to traditional plasters and renders, SprayCork is a savvy choice.

Central to its sustainability is the use of cork, a product that not only has natural insulation properties but is renewable. Instead of felling cork oak trees, bark is stripped away and allowed to regenerate after each harvest. As well as allowing the trees to regenerate, the process releases oxygen into the air and reduces carbon dioxide levels in the environment.

How does thermal plastering help with condensation?

One of the main applications of thermal plastering is to combat condensation, which often leads to damp and mould in homes and other buildings. Condensation is caused by high humidity (moisture in the air), which is then drawn to cold surfaces within a building – often walls and ceilings, along with windows.

When condensation is left untreated, it can turn into damp and mould, which causes several health risks like breathing issues. People can try to improve ventilation with windows and extractor fans or reduce the amount of moisture being produced by cooking, bathing and drying clothes, for example.

However, all too often, the problem persists – and thermal plastering is an effective solution for a few reasons. Firstly, it makes it easier to keep your home warm. Because heat finds it harder to escape through your walls, you’ll be able to maintain a comfortable temperature without forking out for massive heating bills.

Secondly, it keeps cold walls warmer which would have previously been a magnet for condensing moisture. Finally, SprayCork is a moisture-resistant surface, so condensation can’t settle on it.

Harness the benefits of sprayed cork coatings

Whether you’re looking to improve the thermal performance of a character home or bring your commercial construction project into line with the latest energy efficiency building standards, SprayCork plastering steps up as a holistic solution.

Loved by homeowners, architects and builders alike, the product combines impressive thermal insulation properties with aesthetic appeal and an eco-friendly edge. As demand for energy-efficient building materials grows, cork-infused thermal plastering will continue to gain traction as the render of choice for building and construction projects across the UK.

Total Trades is an Approved Applicator for SprayCork throughout Doncaster and the surrounding areas. That means we’ve been trained by the manufacturers, CorkSol, to apply their product to the highest standard. Contact our team on 0333 5771139 or email to get a quote.

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