While designing the finishes of our new kitchen, we knew that we wanted to keep the overall look very clean and a mix of modern and traditional. We wanted the hood to have a seamless look, flowing from the wall and ceiling.
After some research, we decided that a plaster hood was the way to go. And after some more research, I learned that there was not a lot of info out there on how to go about building one.
At this point, I decided that this would be one of the projects I tackled in the new house. I documented the process so I could share it with you.
Ready to learn how to build a plaster hood? Let’s get started!
Step 1: Determine the Size of Your Hood
The first thing I did was to determine the size of my hood. The most obvious deciding factor is the size of your range. We went with a 48″ ZLINE gas range, which meant we would need a hood insert to accommodate that size of the range. We chose a 46″x21″ hood insert from ZLINE.
Another determining factor is the type of backsplash you will be doing. We knew we wanted a full height quartz backsplash and wanted it to be the same width as the finished hood, and wanted it to be a few inches wider than our range.
So the width of our hood framing ended up being 51 1/2″ and the depth was 23″. The height of the hood is determined by the height of your ceiling and the recommended distance from the bottom of the hood to the top of the range. Our ceiling height is 10′ and the recommended distance is between 30″ and 36″. This gave us a height of 49″.
Step 2: Frame the Range Hood
There are two approaches you can take when framing your hood. You can put it all together and then mount it to the wall and ceiling. Or you can frame it in place on the wall.
Since I was working alone and didn’t have anyone to help me lift it into place, I decided to frame it in place.
I started with the bottom and top frames. I used 1×6 pieces of pine for the bottom and 1×4 pine for the top.
I glued and nailed them in place with a finish nailer. I added screws later to the framing where needed for added strength.
Next, I added vertical pieces of 1×4 to the sides to connect the top and bottom. I nailed and glued these into place as shown in the illustration above.
I then added a horizontal piece to each side with the front ends cut at a 12-degree angle. I connected the two with a piece across the front as shown in the illustration above. The vertical placement and length of these pieces will determine the amount of swoop on the front side of the hood.
Since 1x pine doesn’t bend very well, I decided to use MDF for the front pieces that created the swoop. I spaced seven pieces of 1×4 evenly across the front of the hood and nailed and glued them in place.
Once I had completed the above steps, I felt like the framing was sturdy, but for good measure, I added a few more pieces to beef it up.
Step 3: Install the Vent Hood Insert
As mentioned above, we chose the 46″x21″ hood insert from ZLINE which was very easy to install. But any insert of your choice should work. You can refer to the installation instructions that come with your vent hood insert. I won’t go into detail here since each one is different.
Step 4: Drywall
Since I don’t do drywall or have a desire to ever do it, I had the drywall crew go ahead and wrap the hood framing and finish it. This way I would have a nice and smooth foundation for the Venetian plaster.
Step 5: Venetian Plaster
I did a lot of research on what type of plaster to use for the hood. I finally decided on a product called Marmarino Piatto from VenetianPlaster.it. You can get it tinted with almost any paint color. I chose the same color as our walls: Sherwin Williams Pure White. I ordered 1 gallon of Marmorino Piatto and 1 quart of Anchor Primer.
When applying plaster to drywall you have to use a special primer to help the plaster stick to the surface.
Before I applied the primer, I taped all of the edges around the hood and covered the range and countertops with plastic. Plasterwork can get messy.
To be honest, the drywall guys did such a great job, I felt bad applying plaster on top of it. But it was necessary to achieve the look we wanted.
Using a smooth roller, I applied an even coat of the primer, which is very thick and grainy. I let the primer dry overnight. The next day I started on the plaster.
I loaded up my hawk with plaster and went to work. Don’t be alarmed at the color. Wet plaster is much darker than its final color. Once it dries, it will be the color you ordered.
Since I wasn’t working with a large area, I opted for a large joint knife versus a trowel.
Tip: I recommend experimenting and practicing with the following technique on a scrap piece of drywall before applying it to your hood.
First I applied a base coat. Starting from the upper left corner of the side I was working on, I applied a thin coat by holding the knife at about a 15-degree angle. Then I increased the angle to about 30 degrees to spread the plaster with varying lengths of strokes. I reloaded my knife and repeated this until I had an even coat on all sides of the hood.
Tip: Periodically clean the dried plaster from your knife.
After the base coat had completely dried, it was time to apply a texture coat. I did this the same way as the base coat, but on the second pass with the knife, I used a skipping motion. This leaves subtle voids in the plaster and gives it texture.
If you want your vent hood to be more rustic, you can leave bigger voids.
Tip: Spend extra time on the corners to make sure they are nice and straight.
After the texture coat had completely dried, I burnished the surface. I did this with a clean joint knife held at a 30-degree angle. I went over the entire hood in circular motions. This gives the plaster a polished finish in areas.
Finally, I wiped off the entire hood with a damp cloth to remove any dust.
Here’s a closeup shot to give you an idea of what the texture should look like.