Forté - Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have a question regarding American Clay's newest plaster line - Forté? See below for answers to some of our most common questions. Click on the question to view the answer.
For general Frequently Asked Questions regarding American Clay, please click here.
Forté - Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
What is Forté?
Forté is the new line of earthen plaster by American Clay! Forté has been fortified to strengthen the application of the American Clay finishes. This zero-VOC plaster is pre-mixed with a new breathable binder into a material that is easier to apply and results in a harder finished product.
What type of plaster finish does Forté provide?
Forté is available in three textures:
• Forté Base – a suede-like finish, comparable to our Loma™ plaster.
• Forté Finish – a smooth, waxy finish, comparable to our Lomalina™ plaster.
• Forté White – a smooth, waxy finish or a suede-like finish, depending on application technique and preference. Comparable to our Loma™ or Lomalina™ plasters.
What colors are the Forté plasters available in?
Forté Base and Forté Finish can be used with any of American Clay’s color pigment offerings – all 224 standard and blended colors. Forté White cannot be used with American Clay’s standard and blended color packs. It can be used in its natural form for the whitest tone possible, or it can be used with a select number of color pigments – the Illumina Color Series – a collection of designer whites.
What makes Forté easier?
Forté comes pre-mixed with a binder for added durability. Mixing has been simplified. All you have to do is add your favorite color pigment, water, and apply to the properly prepared wall surface.
Is Forté made of different materials?
Forté plasters are still derived from natural sources and are very similar in nature to our Original finishes. We have simply pre-mixed our formula with a new breathable binder for added hardness, durability, and ease of use. The plaster mixes are non-toxic and zero-VOC.
What is the new breathable binder and is it still a safe and healthy product?
The new binder is an Acrylated Styrene Polymer, which is in the same family as the polymer in our Up & EZ! Binder. It is still zero-VOC and meets all standards for earth friendly products. Full Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are available for review here.
How much harder or stronger is Forté compared to the Original finishes? Is one material the strongest?
Forté plasters are about 10 times stronger and more durable than the Original finishes. Forté plasters are perfectly suited for vigorous daily use or high traffic commercial installations. Forté Finish is the strongest and most durable of all the American Clay finishes.
How is Forté packaged?
Forté plasters are each packaged in 50 lb. sacks. The material is packaged, just like our Original finishes, in a dry powder form to be mixed at the project site with water.
Do Forté plasters cost the same as the Original finishes?
Forté plasters are relatively the same costs as the Original finishes. Although the Forté price per bag is higher than the Original finishes, the plaster systems when mixed with all the necessary components (primer, plaster, binder, color, etc.) are comparable. A main benefit of the Forté line is that the pre-mixed plaster makes installations easier and more efficient.
The information in the Product Brochure and the website states that Forté White is available in two texture varieties: How is this possible?
Forté White can be a smooth, waxy finish or a suede-like finish depending on your preference of texture. Whether smooth or suede-like, the plaster base coat (Forté Base) and finish coat (Forté White) will be applied the same way. Once the Forté White finish coat has dried, you will compress the plaster using the proper technique to achieve your desired finish. If you wish to have a smoother finish, follow the hard-trowel compression techniques outlined in our application instructions. If you wish to have a suede-like finish, follow the sponge compression techniques outlined in our application instructions.
How is Forté White whiter than the Original finishes mixed with Sugarloaf White color pigment? Wasn’t that at the maximum load of pigment?
You are correct, Sugarloaf White is the maximum amount of white pigment that should be used in our Original plasters. Forté White utilizes a lighter and whiter base material. This transition to a different formula, combined with the maximum amount of white pigment, allows the Forté White to be more white and bright in color.
Is Forté mixed differently?
No. Forté is mixed with water and pigment (if color is desired). However, the mixing process may require a bit more water than the Original formula to properly activate the binder and achieve the right consistency. We always suggest that you mix to the recommended consistency by observation, rather than considering it a set "recipe" with a fixed ratio of water to clay. With vastly different climates and humidity levels, the amount of water is going to vary across the map. One more point: we do highly recommend mixing Forté at least one hour prior to use. For best results, especially with Forté White plaster, mix up to 24 hours ahead of application.
Is Forté White mixed differently?
Forté White is mixed similarly to our Original finishes as well as the other two Forté plasters. The only separate recommendation we have is as follows:
When mixing in a standard Illumina Series Forté White color pigment pack, you should take a small amount (1/4 to 1/2 cup) of dry Forté White plaster from the bag and add it to your dry color pigment pack. Shake the blended pigment and plaster up in order to disperse the pigment more evenly. As the pigment packs are quite small, this helps to prevent color discrepancies from batch to batch. Next, add the pigment mixture to your plaster and water. It is best to add the dry pigment mixture when you have mixed about 1/3 to 1/2 of your overall bag of plaster.
Can Forté be mixed weeks ahead of time wet like the Original finishes?
We recommend that you mix and use Forté plasters within three days. Technically, the plaster can sit longer, but it may become more difficult to re-mix and apply, therefore, we recommend mixing and using the material within the three-day timeframe.
Can Forté be applied by professional plasterers only?
No, Forté plasters can be applied by anyone. Just like our Original finishes, Forté plasters can be applied by experienced plasterers or first time handy homeowners and do-it-yourselfers.
Can any of the Forté plaster finishes be used in a single coat application like Enjarre™?
The Forté line is applied in two coats – typically over a primed surface utilizing Primer Sand additive.
Is Forté installed the same way as the Original finishes? Can I skip the sanded primer step?
Forté is applied using the same standard application procedures. Most surfaces require our general priming system which includes a specific list of approved primers to be mixed with American Clay’s Primer Sand additive. After this step has been completed, you can apply the plasters with the same techniques as our Original finishes.
Are the Forté plasters repairable like the Original finishes?
Yes, left over Forté plasters can be rehydrated and/or repaired in the same way as the Original finishes. The plaster surface that is already on the wall can also be repaired just like the Original finishes.
Can unused/unmixed Forté plasters be stored for later use?
Yes, store leftover Forté materials indoors elevated off the floor. The plaster should acclimate to the environment within 72 hours. Do not allow the products to freeze.
Is compression still required for Forté plasters? Is chalking/dusting a problem with the new finishes?
Yes, you should always perform the compression steps required in using Forté and Original plaster materials. Forté plasters also help to limit the slight amount of chalking or dusting that can be left on the wall surface once the compression process has been completed. Occasionally, this has been a concern with the Original finishes.
How thick are the Forté plasters applied?
Forté Base is applied a bit thicker than our Loma™ plaster – a bit thicker than one credit card. Forté Finish is applied about as thick as our Loma™ plaster – about one credit card thick. Forté White is applied like our Lomalina™ plaster – a bit thinner than one credit card.
Can Forté be applied to ceilings as well?
Yes, you can apply Forté plasters to any properly prepared ceiling and/or wall.
Is it normal for the Forté Finish to have small micro-cracking (spider checking) after it has been applied and dried?
Yes, when Forté Finish dries, small cracks may develop. This is normal and can be corrected during compression. If your cracking is larger, or you have some areas that have delaminated from the base coat or below, you probably have applied the plaster too thick or you may need to ensure that the surface was fully and properly primed – this is not normal.
Can Forté plasters be applied over an older American Clay surface that used the Original finishes?
Yes, although, you will need to prep the surface using a bonding adhesive. We recommend using a bonding adhesive like Weldbond Universal Adhesive (low-VOC material). You can find this material at your local home store – ACE Hardware and True Value Hardware regularly stock the Weldbond product or you can purchase from an online retailer like Amazon.com. Weldbond should be diluted with water (3 parts water to 1 part Weldbond) and mixed thoroughly. Once mixed, you will need to roll or spray on this material over your clay plaster wall. Once it is dry (typically 24 hours; based on the manufacturers recommendations), you can apply one or two coats of the chosen Forté plaster if you wish to change to a Forté material. (Note: Weldbond Universal Adhesive is available in numerous sizes for various project needs.)
Can Forté plasters be used in the finish coat only in a new application (i.e.: over a Loma™ base coat)?
No, for a new application, we recommend continuity throughout each system. If you wish to use the Original finishes, use those plasters throughout. If you wish to use Forté plasters, use those finishes throughout. If you want to plaster using Forté over an older American Clay wall, see the question above regarding this process.
Can Forté be applied to an exterior surface?
Our plasters (Original or Forté finishes) are meant for interior use only. The plaster we sell will not stand up to the weather on an exterior surface. Over time, even if the plaster is sealed as well as possible, it will degrade back to the original surface.
Can Forté be used inside a shower? What if we seal the plaster?
No. Forté is not meant to be used in an environment like this. The shower will leave the plaster exposed to continuous water contact – this will erode the plaster away very quickly. Areas above the shower or near the shower are fine when plastered with Forté or Original finishes. If soap residue or water spots occur, they can be cleaned using a damp tile sponge with a light amount of pressure. Over time, even if our plasters are sealed as well as possible, the material when inside a shower will degrade back to the original surface causing damage to the room.
The plaster surface begins to change color or “amber” after the project is completed when using a Forté plaster, especially Forté White, is this normal?
No. The wall was never compressed or has not been properly compressed, allowing the plaster binder on the face of the surface to develop a concentrated "film". Over time, the "film" on the surface will amber. A proper compression will ensure ambering of the surface does not occur.
To remove the ambering on the plaster surface:
1. Create a mixture of 25% white vinegar and 75% water.
2. Add the mixture to a misting bottle and use the finest mist setting possible.
3. Lightly mist over the entire surface. Blot areas with a tile sponge that begin to develop drips.
4. Let the surface dry completely.
5. Finally, the surface will need to be re-wet and reworked (see compression directions). Slight color variations will result from different compression techniques.
If this process does not remedy the ambering, you may need to utilize the white vinegar/water solution by dipping a tile sponge into the mixture and buffing the face of the surface using a moderate amount of pressure. The tile sponge should be wet, but not dripping. Once dry, finalize the surface using the appropriate compression technique.
Overall, it is key to finish the compression process as quickly as possible, not allowing the plaster binder to amber in color and harden over time, making the process harder to rectify.
When using a Forté plaster, why are the edges of walls leaching color onto adjacent finished and/or dry plaster surfaces?
The new wet Forté plaster has leached over to the adjacent finished and/or dry plaster surface leaving a small amount of binder on the face of the surface. The binder causes a slight color change or a line on the wall.
To remedy the color change:
1. Let the surface dry completely.
2. Create a mixture of 25% white vinegar and 75% water.
3. Add the mixture to a misting bottle and use the finest mist setting possible.
4. Lightly mist over the areas with color changes. Blot areas with a tile sponge that begin to develop drips.
5. Let the surface dry completely.
6. A second pass using the same instructions above may be needed to fully remove the effected areas.
7. Finally, if compression has not been completed, the surface will need to be re-wet and reworked (see compression directions). Slight color variations will result from different compression techniques.
If this process does not remedy the leaching, you may need to utilize the white vinegar/water solution by dipping a tile sponge into the mixture and buffing the face of the surface using a moderate amount of pressure. The tile sponge should be wet, but not dripping. Once dry, finalize the surface using the appropriate compression technique.
Overall, it is key to address this as quickly as possible, not allowing the plaster binder to harden over time, making the process harder to rectify. This problem is not easily corrected beforehand; the issue is common and may not be completely addressed until it occurs. The only way to ensure the color change does not take place is to complete plastering of any adjacent surfaces in a single pass.