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If you’re building or remodeling your home, you undoubtedly want to pick high-quality finishes.
And while most homeowners pay a lot of attention to flooring, cabinet, and countertop material, walls are often overlooked.
The two most popular wall types are drywall and plaster. Here’s what you need to know about each.
Plaster Walls: Pros and Cons
Even though plaster has lost popularity over the past century, these walls have long been the standard.
Plaster is a strong, durable material that can give your home a traditional or artisanal look.
In ancient times, plaster was composed of lime, animal hair, and sand, but it’s now composed of gypsum. Gypsum is a naturally fire-resistant mineral and is also the main component of drywall.
While gypsum plaster is a solid, fire-resistant building material, installing and repairing it takes much more work than drywall.
Installers must first put wood or metal lath strips on the wall. Then the plaster is mixed on-site, and three coats of plaster are applied, allowing time for each coat to dry in between.
This is a time-intensive process that the average DIYer will not be able to complete.
And while there are some great reasons to go for plaster walls, there’s also a substantial list of cons.
Pros of plaster walls:
- Soundproof qualities
- Thick and energy efficient
- Structurally sound and resistant to buckling
- Great for curves and arches
- Better insulation
- Much stronger than drywall
Cons of plaster walls:
- More expensive
- Requires a skilled artisan to install correctly – hard to DIY
- Time intensive and labor-intensive
- The thickness of the walls can interrupt cell phone and wifi signals
- Potential for cracking
- Hard to hang things on
Drywall: Pros and Cons
Drywall was invented in the early 1900s but didn’t become a common household building material until the 1950s.
Drywall has a naturally fire-resistant gypsum center. On both sides of the gypsum is a piece of paper.
For regular drywall, the paper is usually white or gray. However, you can find green and purple drywall that’s both mold and mildew resistant.
Although drywall is not quite as durable as plaster, it has many other benefits.
First of all, drywall is much less expensive. It’s also easy to install and doesn’t require as great of a skill set.
And since manufacturers can treat drywall with different additives to make it extra fire-resistant, mold-resistant, and waterproof, it’s suitable for many applications.
Pros of drywall:
- Quick and easy to install compared to plaster
- Can be mold, mildew, or water-resistant
- You can cut it to any size
- Easy to hang things on
- Easy to repair
Cons of drywall:
- Not as strong as plaster
- It can be easily damaged
- Minimal soundproofing capabilities
Drywall vs. Plaster: Which is Better?
As you can see, there are pros and cons to both drywall and plaster. While plaster will give you stronger, thicker walls, it’s time-intensive, expensive, and requires skilled tradespeople to install.
Nevertheless, it’s still an excellent choice for an artisanal look in your home.
While drywall is by no means easy to install, it has less of a learning curve. It’s simply screwed to the studs in the wall. Drywall is also very cost-effective, so you won’t have to spend thousands of dollars on repairs or replacements in the event of damage.
Drywall vs. Plaster: Cost
Plaster is more expensive to install than drywall. However, it’s not because of the cost of materials.
If you only look at material costs, plaster is actually less costly. But because plastering walls is a specialized skill, labor costs are far higher.
According to Home Advisor, the average cost of plastering walls ranges from $2 to $10 per square foot, while the average drywall installation costs between $1 and $3 per square foot.
If you’re still choosing between drywall vs. plaster for your interior walls, both are good options. Plaster is great if you’re looking for a thick, soundproof wall and prefer artisanal or traditional finishes.
Drywall, on the other hand, looks more modern. It’s also a quick and cost-effective choice that you can install as a home improvement project. Plus, if your drywall gets damaged, it can easily be repaired.