The repair of traditional lath and plaster ceilings can divide a team caught between decisions based on conservation, repair or partial replacement. Variations in materials, interventions and finishes can require specialist advice in areas where clear guidance and peer reviewed advice is lacking.

The FIS Heritage Plastering and GRG group have commissioned Sarah Mayfield of Mayfield Heritage Ltd, a building conservator, sculptor and ornamental plasterer, to produce a new guide to address the issue along with contributions, peer support and review from the FIS Heritage Plastering and GRG working group.

The scope of the guide will be to:

  • Recognise signs of failure and understand the causes.
  • Identify variations in traditional materials and later adaptions.
  • Provide example repair options and guidance on their appropriate applications
  • When, why and how to replace.
  • Understand conservation principles and how they guide decision making and specifications of works.


  • Guidance for inspection procedures, scope and site considerations.
  • Assessing the historic value and significant features.
  • Understand past interventions, historic maintenance work to the ceiling and its value
  • Future inspection regimes
  • Competence of inspectors and craftspeople.

Mayfield Heritage Ltd advises on the care of historic building fabric focusing on surveying historic ceilings and specifying for their conservation and repair. Notable projects span from Roman though Renaissance to 20th.C. fibrous plaster including the Brighton Dome, Sir John Soane Museum, Institution of Civil Engineers, Clandon Park and many cathedrals and churches. Sarah lectures on historic plasterwork contributes to national guidance and is leading engineering research studies for monitoring and diagnostics.

The guide will be available to specialist architects and conservation officers, conservators and ornamental plasterers, students and academics.

If you have demonstrable knowledge skill and experience in this field and would like to contribute to the project please contact FIS Technical Director Joe Cilia

Author: Sarah Mayfield

Date: 8 October 2021