Differences Between Plaster and Drywall

Both plaster and drywall can make for long-lasting and solid wall coverings. But they both have their fair share of strengths and weaknesses as well. If you are unsure which among them should you utilize for your next home improvement project, think about the following factors and decide for yourself: 

Drywall is less labor-intensive compared to plaster 

Drywall has increased its popularity mainly because of the shortage of workers during World War II. Nowadays, the merchandisers of plasterers are more specialized compared to drywall installers. Meaning, the first thing you need to inspect before you commit to the high-maintenance material—plaster—is to hire the skilled laborers within your area. When it comes to repairs, they could extend the gamut from being as easy as retouching small plaster to redeveloping the wall, particularly in cases where plumbing or electrical work should be performed behind the walls. On the other hand, given that a drywall repair is a multi-step process, it usually is easier and straightforward for handy property owners to do it themselves.  

Plaster costs more compared to drywall 

Since plaster would take longer to complete and would need more of a specialized skill, the cost of labor alone will typically run for about 3 times or more higher compared to drywall installation. Though the costs of material are comparable. 

It’s simpler to hang items on drywall but it’s not a problem with plaster  

In comparison to drywall, plaster is more brittle and harder. Meanwhile, if you install drywall it would be possible for you to use pushpins and stick thumbtacks into the wall if you want to hang something, such as posters or pictures. However, with plaster, you usually cannot pierce through a plaster wall using a flimsy thumbtack. Aside from that, you are posing the risk of cracking or chipping the plaster. If you want to hang material on plaster walls, such as picture frames or mirrors, you will need to utilize screws to prevent possible damage. But remember to refrain from using nails and using a hammer on a plaster wall since it could lead to a disaster. 

Drywall means greater insulation but plaster is more sound-proof 

Plaster is a dense material that can block the transmission of sounds a lot better compared to gypsum drywall. Although, even if plaster seems to be denser, it could not beat the standard drywall—together with modern insulation usually found today— when it comes to its thermal capabilities. The process of drywall installation enables for such versatility to contain those layers.  

Plaster has more high-end look 

Plaster could be used in either a stucco-like textured finish or a glossy, smooth finish. Though drywall is one of the fundamentals in most houses now, plaster is still utilized for a different use for aesthetic upgrades. For instance, plaster might be the best option on curved walls compared to drywall since drywalls are challenging to bend to your desired angle and if you try to do so, it would be challenging and almost impossible.