Drywall and plaster are the two most commonly used options for finishing a wall, but what is the difference between them? When you are planning on remodeling a building, you are probably debating between which wall finish would be the best for you. In this article, we will look at all of the differences of drywall vs. plaster and the benefits and drawbacks of each.

What is drywall?

Drywall — which is also known as gypsum board, sheetrock, wallboard, or cement board — is gypsum plaster that is pressed between two layers of heavy paper, and it is easy to cut to fit around any corner, doorway, window, or electrical outlet. It also makes it easy to add insulation, making it a great choice in any climate.

Most new construction projects these days use drywall to cover insulation and wall studs. It can easily be soundproofed and customized to meet the aesthetic of the home.

What is plaster?

Plaster has been used for interior walls and ceilings for centuries. If a building was constructed before the 1950s, the interior walls and ceilings are most likely made of plaster. Plaster is applied wet in layers that can be sanded and painted once it dries. It is made of wet plaster and plasterboard.

Drywall vs Plaster: Big Differences Between Materials

Before you decide if you would rather use drywall or plaster for your building’s project, let’s take a look at some of the biggest differences between the materials.

Drywall vs Plaster: Cost Considerations

Drywall is usually more affordable to have installed than plaster. This is because it is much faster to install than plaster, so the labor costs are typically lower than the installation costs of plaster.

Drywall vs Plaster: Which is faster to install?

Sheets of drywall come pre-cut, making it significantly easier to install. Plaster is a little more difficult to install since it has to be installed wet. You also have to wait three to five days after installation for the plaster to dry.

Drywall vs Plaster: Durability

Drywall has an open cavity behind it where insulation can be added to the wall. It is because of that that drywall is less dense than plaster, which means it might be more susceptible to damage than a plaster wall is. However, if you plan to hang things on your walls to decorate them, drywall is definitely the best wall finish to go with.

Plaster is much denser and harder than drywall, but it is difficult to hang things on. Aside from the density, it is prone to cracking and chipping if you use nails, and it is extremely difficult to use push pins on plaster at all. As a building settles over time, plaster is likely to begin cracking.

Is drywall or plaster better insulated?

Drywall has space behind it that is perfect for adding insulation to it. The right insulation can help lower a building’s heating and cooling costs.

Plaster, on the other hand, is difficult to add insulation to. You would need to have the structure retrofit by a professional to even allow you to add insulation to a plaster wall, and there is the potential of causing damage if you try to DIY it.

Which wall finish is better for soundproofing?

Plaster is a denser material than drywall, and it does not have hollow places behind it, so it has better soundproofing qualities. However, you can easily add some soundproofing acoustical panels to your drywall walls, making it soundproof. These can come in beautiful designs that are completely customized to meet the needs of your business.

Drywall vs Plaster: Which is more fire resistant?

Both drywall and plaster have some gypsum in them, which has a high water content, making it hard to burn. However, drywall can lose some of its structural integrity in the event of a fire a little faster than plaster will if it does not contain non-combustible glass fibers to help boost its fire resistance.

Is drywall or plaster easier to repair?

Drywall might be less durable than plaster, but it is significantly easier to repair, whether you have a small hole or need an entire section replaced. Plaster is much more difficult to repair than drywall. Also, if you need to make plumbing or electrical repairs to the inside of the walls in your building, plaster is significantly more difficult to cut into and make those repairs than drywall, so it has the potential of impeding or slowing down other construction projects.

Drywall vs Plaster: Which one is energy efficient?

Drywall is the most energy-efficient wall finish for a building. High-quality drywall can help reduce the overall energy that is required to keep a building at its desired temperature.

Does either material impede Wi-Fi signals?

Yes! Since plaster is much thicker than drywall, it has the potential to make it harder for Wi-Fi signals to penetrate the walls and give coverage to the entire building. If you have a bigger building, it is advisable to get drywall instead of plaster to prevent Wi-Fi dead zones.

Drywall vs Plaster: Which has the best finish?

Drywall has a smooth finish to it, but you can have a textured finish added to it if you want one. Plaster typically has a rougher texture to it, which adds authenticity to a historic home or one that is designed to look older. Drywall’s finish is more customizable than plaster’s, and it is easier to decorate.

Let’s Get Started!

Whether you are more interested in using drywall or plaster for your interior wall finish, the Magnum Drywall team has you covered! Contact Magnum Drywall today to start planning your interior project!