Before the arrival of drywall, interior walls were generally made of solid
plaster. While some consider plaster to be obsolete, it still has some
advantages over drywall. This guide will outline the differences between the
two, and provide instructions for plastering walls.
Plaster Vs. Drywall
Nowadays, most interior walls are made of drywall. Drywall is
the most commonly used because it is much easier to install than plaster.
Drywall comes in large sheets, which can then be screwed into the studs. With a
little Spackle™ and paint, your walls are complete.
Plaster, on the other
hand, takes a great deal more time and skill to install. Plaster comes as a
thick paste, which is spread onto a lath (a wood backing for plaster) and then
smoothed out. While plaster takes more work and skill, it provides superior
soundproofing and is harder and stronger than drywall.
Plastering a Wall
The first step in plastering a wall is to put
up a lath (sometimes called wallboard). Alternately, you can plaster over
already-installed drywall (the benefit of which would be adding strength and
- Putting up wallboard is similar to installing drywall--the sheets will need
to be cut to fit the wall and screwed into place on the studs.
- Any seams will need to be spackled over and the Spackle™ smoothed out with a
TIP: The ideal temperature for
plastering is between 55 and 60°F. If it's particularly warm, the plaster could
set too fast, and, if it's very humid, the plaster will be too wet and
Once the wallboard is secure and the Spackle™ is dry, you can begin
plastering. Plastering is a delicate operation and requires a great deal of
skill to make everything smooth. If you have any doubts about your abilities,
hire a professional instead.You'll need:A
hawkA trowelPlaster (which can be
purchased as a dry mix)
- Using the trowel, scoop a mound of plaster onto the hawk.
- Scoop some plaster onto the trowel and make sure it's centered on the blade.
- Spread the plaster onto the wall with an upward-sweeping motion. Repeat the
- Keep an even amount of pressure so that you have a thin layer of plaster.
Work your way across the wall, making sure you get into all corners. You may
need a stepladder to get into hard-to-reach places.
It takes about 30
minutes for the plaster to set, so it needs to be on the wall and smoothed out
very quickly--that's what makes the job particularly difficult. If you don't get
it smoothed out before it sets, you'll be left with imperfections in the wall
like bumps and creases. If that happens, you'll have to add another step of
sanding out the imperfections before you can paint.
certainly more involved than just putting up drywall, but, if you're looking for
strong or soundproof walls, plastering is a great option. If you hire someone
who has experience plastering, he or she should have no problem providing you
with smooth plaster walls.