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What is Parging?

By B. Turner
Updated May 16, 2024
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Parging is a construction technique used to finish the surface of a masonry wall. It is similar to stucco, but uses a masonry-based mortar rather than a traditional stucco mixture. This material can be installed over new or existing walls, and it is used in both residential and commercial applications. The term is used both as a verb and a noun to describe the application process as well as the mixture itself.

Most parging mixtures are made from a blend of lime, Portland cement, water, and masonry cement. While it is possible for users to create their own blends, it is typically easier to buy a pre-made paging mix from a hardware or home improvement store when attempting this project. Water should be carefully added according to the directions on the package. A mix that is too wet may crack, while overly dry mixtures may not stick to the wall.

This material is applied using a standard masonry trowel, and it is generally installed in very thin coats. The walls should be wet first, which helps the mixture adhere to the masonry. Depending on the desired finish, the walls may be heavily textured or very smooth. To keep parged walls smooth, the person applying it should keep his trowel very wet during the application. Most installers will apply a second coat of material after the first layer has been given time to dry.

This material can be used on both interior and exterior walls. It may be used on vertical surfaces, foundations, columns, or any other surface made of concrete, brick, or stone. Because the ingredients in most parging mixtures are relatively heavy, it is important for installers to use only very thin layers of material. Multiple coats can be used to create a thicker finish as needed.

Parging is an economical and easy-to-apply solution for covering unattractive masonry surfaces. It can cover cracks and water damage, or even holes and voids. The mortar may also help to seal small air leaks in a concrete wall, which may lead to a slight improvement in energy efficiency. Parged walls can even be painted to complement the surrounding surfaces.

While this material offers a number of benefits, it is also associated with several drawbacks that should be considered. In some cases, it may cover signs of serious structural damage, and an unscrupulous seller may use this material to cover signs of damage before putting a house on the market. Fortunately, most home inspectors will be able to spot this type of issue so that potential buyers can understand the true condition of the residence.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon999080 — On Oct 23, 2017

What do you recommend for painting over parging? It has been repaired and the colours don't match. thanks Sharon

By GuyOnBike — On May 17, 2011

@BadJohnson, - Parging and fresco are very different. Parging is a concrete mix, where fresco is a lime based plaster, or putty. Parging can be painted but with fresco the paint is absorbed into the plaster; the plaster itself becomes the paint.

By BadJohnson — On May 16, 2011

Can parging be used with fresco?

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