drywall over plaster

Can You Drywall Over Plaster?

If the old plaster walls in your home have seen better days, you can cover them with drywall.

Drywall is much easier to install and repair than plaster and is usually less expensive. While you can install your drywall panels directly over your plaster walls, it does require a little planning and prep work.

Here’s what you need to know.

How Do You Hang Drywall On Top Of Plaster?

Before hanging drywall on top of old plaster, you need to prep the walls. Start by reattaching any loose pieces of plaster back to the wood laths with plaster screws.

Then, follow these steps:

Remove Baseboards and Trim

remove the trim

Remove all baseboards and any trim or crown molding on the wall. Set it aside to reattach after you finish the drywall.

You also need to remove the faceplates from electrical outlets and light switches.

Locate The Studs

locate the studs

Using a stud finder, locate all studs and mark them on the wall. Next, place a one-inch board at the bottom of the wall and mark where the studs are.

You can use this board during your entire installation as a spacer to rest the bottom sheets on.

If you’ve removed the baseboard and you can see the studs from the bottom of the floor, you won’t need to use your stud finder or mark them.

Secure Your First Piece of Drywall

Place your first sheet of new drywall against the wall and on top of the one-inch spacer board. Now secure the drywall into place by screwing it into the stud with a 2-inch drywall screw. (You’ll need to use a drill to attach the screws.)

Keep screwing six inches apart along each stud. Make sure your screws are about ¾ inch from the edge of the drywall panel.

Keep Going Until The Room Is Finished

Use the same technique to finish the rest of the room – remember to leave approximately a ⅛ inch gap between drywall panels.

You can use a utility knife to make cuts for electrical outlets and switches. You’ll also need to make cuts where full drywall panels will not fit into the open space.

When you get to a new wall, you’ll need to relocate the studs and re-mark your spacer board.

Finish The Drywall

After all of the panels are hung, tape and mud the drywall seams to finish it. Since each application of joint compound takes about 24 hours to dry, it can take 3-5 days before your walls will be ready to paint.

You can reattach the trim after you finish the drywall.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace Plaster Walls With Drywall?

Drywall costs about $1.50 to $3.00 per square foot for material and labor. So if you’re just drywalling over plaster, those will be your costs. 

The cost of having lath and plaster removed is $3.92 to $6.80 per square foot. So if you want your plaster removed and replaced with drywall, you’re looking at costs that range from $5.42 to $9.80 per square foot.

Can You Drywall Over A Plaster Ceiling?

drywall vs plaster

Yes, you can drywall over a plaster ceiling. The plaster does need to be in good shape, though.

If it’s cracking or has holes in it, you’ll need to address those so that your drywall has a solid surface to adhere to.

¼ or ⅜ Inch Drywall Over Plaster?

If you’re drywalling over existing walls, you need to use the thinner ¼ inch drywall. If you use the thick drywall, your electrical boxes and light switches will be too far back in the wall.

So you’ll have to get them repositioned.

If you do decide to use thicker drywall, plan on having the electrical boxes moved forward and using longer screws so you’ll be able to reach the studs.

Can You Drywall Over Plaster In The Bathroom?

Yes, you can drywall over plaster in a bathroom, but you need to use a mold-resistant green board if you do. While plaster is non-porous and doesn’t grow mold, drywall can.

Protect against it by using a bathroom-appropriate drywall product.

Why Would You Drywall Over Plaster?

It’s Affordable

If the plaster walls in your old house are coming down, replacing them with new drywall is almost always cheaper than replacing them with plaster. Drywall repairs are also much more affordable. 

Plus, replacing crumbling walls with sheetrock is an easy way for homeowners to increase the value of their homes.

Elegance and Beauty

While plaster can give your home an old-world feel, it’s often bumpy and quite uneven. If you’re looking for a smooth, modern surface, drywall is the better choice.

Proper Insulation 

So here’s the thing – your plaster walls are probably thicker than drywall and therefore provide higher insulative properties. However, most plaster walls don’t have any insulation behind them.

Plus, if your plaster walls are cracked or have holes, they won’t offer you as much protection.

Adding drywall over top of your plaster can help increase your home’s energy efficiency.

Easy To Install and Repair

While you might think installing drywall is hard, doing an excellent job with plaster is even more challenging. Unfortunately, plastering walls is not as common today, so finding a skilled tradesperson to do the job will be difficult.

You can find many tradespeople skilled in drywall, or you can hang drywall as a DIY home improvement job. And drywall is not only easier to install than plaster, but it’s much easier to repair.

So if you want to save money in the long run, consider sheetrock when it comes time to redo your walls.


Yes, you can drywall over plaster as long as your plaster is in decent shape. Doing this will save you a lot of time and money.

Drywall is generally easier to install and cheaper to repair. Just remember to go with thin drywall so you don’t have to move your electrical boxes.

And if you’re drywalling over plaster in the bathroom, be sure to use a mold and water-resistant product.