Are you renovating your home or building from scratch? Are you adding an addition or building a garage? Are you structuring a commercial building? What should you use for the walls and/or ceilings? Should you go with drywall or plaster?
When deciding to use drywall or plaster on a project, there are various aspects to consider. Having knowledge on the subject is important and comes in very handy in understanding the difference between the two methods. Each of them require different skills, so be informed before making a decision. Factors such as budget, timeframe, property type, and preferred outcome will affect your decision when making up your mind between drywall and plaster.
Drywall Hanging, Tape, and Mud
Drywall systems have become more popular over recent years since it tends to be quicker to install. Therefore, it is widely used in the construction of new building developments. Drywall involves fixing large pieces of plasterboard to wooden studs to create a smooth and seamless look. After the drywall sheets are hung or installed, drywall tape & mud is applied at the seams and over the screws.
After this last step, the mud/joint compound will need to be dry in order for the seams to be sanded (expect lots of white dust!!). Then, the drywaller’s job is finished and the client will be ready to paint over the whole thing.
Blueboard & Plaster / Plastering
Plastering has been used for a really, really long time. It is often a favorite choice in older homes since it has demonstrated to provide a stronger and long-lasting surface. Many homeowners desire the finished look that plaster brings, but it can be a more expensive choice due to its more labor-extensive process.
Keep in mind that anything to do with plaster gets places very dirty because of all the white plaster powder particles flying in the air. Therefore, there is a considerable amount of time to prep the work area. A small patch repair job may seem simple and take a short amount of time for the work itself, however, there is a lot of protection and cleaning up involved, not to mention walking back-and-forth to the truck and the work area until the plasterer is ready to start.
Once starting the project, the hard-working guys barely have time to pause because once the plaster mix starts drying, the surface becomes hard like a rock. So, the work must be fast-paced to get that nice smooth finish so desired by homeowners. There is just so much that can be done in one day when one physically works so hard and without stopping. To fit in more plaster mixes in a day, means so many hours to get it done, depending on the size of the team needed or available for that project.
Plasterers apply plaster mix onto gypsum boards, also called blueboards or sheetrock, depending on the purpose needed... (Click on Read More to continue)
Uni-Kal: Dries faster, hard to work with, a hard surface plaster. Has to be mixed with water. Better if used for small projects/repairs.
Diamond: Takes longer to dry, softer plaster, easier to work with, needs to be mixed with water.
Quality of Uni-Kal vs Diamond product is about the same.
X-KALibur: Falls between Uni-Kal and Diamond. The surface is harder than Diamond but softer than Uni-Kal. Also mixes with water.
Joint Compound: Prepared plaster mix. It already has the appropriate consistency to apply without having to mix anything to it. You will need to wait longer for it to dry though, anywhere between 1-3 days to be on the safe side, especially if you will be painting over where you repaired. Joint compound is ideal for small cracks and holes – much less messy, although you may need to lightly sand your finish in a couple of days (which will then cause some white dust), so beware.
Easy Sand 90, 45, 20: Used like joint compound but needs to be mixed with water. The number shown indicates the amount of time (in minutes) for the mix to dry.
Note: You can use an Accelerator to make the plaster dry faster and you can use a Retarder for the opposite route - to slow down the drying of the plaster to give you more time to work with it before it dries like a rock!
The first step is the full demolition of the walls and ceilings or cutting out the damaged plaster with an appropriate sharp knife. Make sure not to just cut out the exact area of the damaged plaster but give an extra 2 inches around it and in a squared shape as much as possible so that it is easier to hang the new blueboard. If insulation against the cold/hot weather is desired, the insulation is placed inside the walls at this point. This can also help to muffle sounds, but will not make the room sound proof.
Plaster walls and ceilings can get destroyed as a courtesy of a hurried plumber or electrician who does not care since they are not the ones patching the holes. Warning: Cutting through plaster is a messy job with the white dust and possible crumbling pieces. In a clean bucket with cool tap water, you will mix the plaster product, to the consistency of natural peanut butter. The plastering powder or mix to use will depend on the amount of time you need to get the finish done. You can get a basic idea reading this short list on the different types of plaster mixes.
Plastering work is certainly not an easy task but the end result is worth the effort and money invested. This is not a trade for an ordinary homeowner without experience who is trying to save money thus doing a DIY job. DIY in this case, we do not recommend. Fighting against time to get the correct texture on your walls or ceilings before the plaster dries is almost calamity, unless you are sure of what you are doing. Otherwise, you will end up having to call an expert to get it done right for you when you could have saved a lot of time and aggravation if you had called them to begin with.
Something to note: If you are looking for a more high-end finish, opt to have walls and ceiling done with a smooth finish. This finish is more desirable for aesthetic reasons and may make your house worth more. It also may cost a little more, but looks much better. It takes a true artisan with eyes for details to get your walls and ceilings finished in the appropriate manner.
To make a room sound proof, there are many steps to be accomplished. Besides having sound-proof, or close to sound-proof windows and doors, there are specific products that can be used to sound proof a room. After the framing is set up, either wood framing or steel framing, sound proof insulation is one product that can be used and it can reduce noise by approximately 70%. This certainly helps with noise reduction and would be the cheapest way to go about it. Besides reducing noise, let’s not forget that the insulation will help keep the room warmer in cold weather saving you money with heating and less hot in the Summer months saving you money in energy by not having your AC working so hard.
In addition, to make a room more sound-proof, there are sound proof boards that can be used/installed to make the room quieter. Also called Absorbing Acoustic Panels, they are much more costly than just regular blueboard/drywall. However, sure worth it depending on what you are trying to achieve.
QuietRock Sheetrock is a specialized product for sound proofing, which is known to reduce noise by about 80%, however, if the noise you are trying to block is impact noise (people walking for example), resilient channel and acoustic clip in addition to the QuietRock should be used. The material can be very costly. The work is certainly more laborious and heavy.
Begin by hanging the 1/2 finished drywall, wallboard, blueboard, sheetrock, or plasterboard on the walls and ceilings. Some cities may only have 5/8 or double 5/8 boards for the ceiling. If there are any apartments above, you must screw the plasterboard on the ceiling with at least 5 to 6 screws in each strip. Only 4 to 5 screws per strip are necessary for the walls. Hang the drywall or plasterboard on the ceiling first, and then the walls after. That will make plastering over the cracks on angles easier. When hanging the drywall or plasterboard on the walls, be sure to cut the whole drywall over the doors and windows. Using small pieces can cause cracks in the future. Tape the drywall or plasterboard joints starting with the flat parts of the board. Then place the two pieces together and tape them at an angle.
It is not an easy task, but the end result is worth the effort. The first step is the demolition of the walls and ceilings. The wood work is generally strong steel, and does not need to be disturbed. If insulation against the weather is desired, the insulation is placed inside the walls at this point. This can also help to muffle sounds, but will not make the room sound proof. We will discuss sound proofing with other projects at a later time if desired.
Use the base coat plaster product to plaster the walls and ceilings joints, and then wait until the base coat plaster dries. The optimum wait time is approximately 12 hours. However, waiting that long is not essential. You may begin plastering between 40 to 90 minutes, as soon as the base coat plaster hardens. During the final plaster coat, the veneer plaster should not be mixed more then 1 bag ½ per plasterer. It will dry fast and can be very hard to work with. A professional plasterer will need some time to complete the skim coating with one smooth coat finish.
The veneer plaster work does not have to be sanded before painting!