The invention of drywall has sparked the debate between plaster vs. drywall. Which one, however, is genuinely superior? Is there a correct answer? Today, we’ll go over what plaster and drywall are and let you decide for yourself.
The History Of Plaster
Plaster is a paste made from minerals and water applied in layers with drying time in between. It has been used as a building material to construct walls since history. Many of the primitive people’s methods are still in use today.
The technique was later applied to exterior walls as stucco. Plastering was used by European civilizations to create intricate ceilings and ornamental architectural details. The Romans also invented the method of using lime in the same way, which led to the invention of concrete.
Fast forward to the early 1900s, during the American Progressive Era. The need for convenience in building materials was brought on by urbanism. Drywall or plasterboard is invented to eliminate the time-consuming process of installing plaster.
The Transition To Drywall And Plasterboard
Drywall was promoted as a low-cost solution that avoided the need to wait for the plaster to dry. Early adopters cited the flame-resistant features and ease of installation as advantages. Despite its revolutionary features, the use of drywall did not take off right away.
However, by the mid-century, it had risen to prominence as an extremely popular building material. The baby boomer generation developed a need for more affordable and energy-efficient building materials. This boosted drywall sales, resulting in its continued success to this day.
Pros And Cons Of Plaster
Let’s look at plaster first before we get into why drywall is so common. There’s a reason it’s such a sought-after high-end wall covering. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of plaster walls, as well as reasons why you should consider using them.
- Fire-resistant – UL tests show that plaster walls burn three times slower than drywall. Although drywall does not burn easily, it also provides little protection. Plaster walls act as a form of barrier.
- High-end – Plaster is considered high-end because it is expensive. Plaster walls, including granite countertops, can make a home appear significantly more valuable. They will, in reality, increase the value of your house.
- More soundproof – Plaster walls are more soundproof than drywall and almost any other form of wall.
- More natural – Plaster, in most cases, is an authentic wall covering crafted from organic materials. Plaster walls are the perfect option if you want your home to look like it has been around for centuries but has been well cared for.
- Green materials – The majority of plaster is made from natural materials such as lime. According to the National Lime Association, “Lime absorbs and neutralizes sulfur oxides from these gases, aiding in acid rain prevention and reducing emissions of hazardous air pollutants, including mercury.”
- Good insulator – Plaster walls are stronger and more sturdy than drywall, so it is commonly assumed that they have better insulation than drywall.
- All in the details – no fancy Greek light covers or crown molding with drywall. Experts in plaster, on the other hand, can create almost any form or design you can think of. And it will last forever!
- Rare in new homes – this could be considered a disadvantage in some circles, but being a part of the reason a perfectly good wall covering does not die is a wonderful thing. Since it is unique, you might be the only person in your neighborhood with plaster walls.
- Harder to install – Plaster is more difficult to install, which is the second most popular reason people do not use it. It is simply difficult to set up. It takes a professional to mount, and even then, it can take weeks. Drywall is much easier to mount.
- Costly – The main reason people prefer drywall is that it is expensive. Plaster is not cheap. Primarily due to labor costs, though supplies are often more costly than purchasing sheets of drywall. This is why plaster is so expensive.
Pros And Cons Of Drywall
Drywall is the most common wall covering in America, and for good reason. But that doesn’t mean it’s without flaws. Here are the key benefits and drawbacks of using drywall instead of plaster.
- Cheap – When compared to other wall coverings, drywall is very inexpensive. This is the primary explanation why people like drywall. It is inexpensive and efficient. You can paint it, cover it with wallpaper, or leave it alone; it’s still less expensive than plaster.
- Simpler to install – anybody with a drywall knife and a drill can hang the drywall. It’s as easy as a kid’s art project. Finishing it is a different matter since taping and mudding must be performed correctly to avoid mistakes.
- Can hang stuff – This may sound insignificant, but if you’ve ever worked with plaster, you’ll understand why it’s important. Although you can hang things on plaster walls, it is much easier to do so on drywall since drywall anchors are available.
- Making changes is simple – Changing the drywall is easy. You can also tear down and rebuild walls. Plaster does not allow for this. If it’s up, it can’t be saved if you try to rearrange the walls.
- Can look cheap – This is not the same as not being high-end. After all, if properly built, it will look just as good as any other wall. The catch is that if the mudding isn’t done correctly, it may appear sloppy and cheap.
- Not as high end – It’s no secret that drywall isn’t as nice as plaster. It is less expensive, which normally means it is not as high-end. There is no shame in having drywall in your home; plaster is simply better.
The Manufacturing Process Of Drywall And Plasterboard
Gypsum is traditionally used to make drywall and plasterboards. This white sandy mineral is mined from the earth in a variety of locations around the world. Gypsum is used in a variety of products, including drywall boards, lawn fertilizer, and sidewalk chalk. The mineral has a high water content, which gives drywall its fire resistance.
To make a slurry or paste, the gypsum is combined with other additives such as recycled paper pulp. This slurry is applied in thin layers between two layers of paper or fiberglass backing. It is then hardened and dried in a drying chamber.
The boards are cut into a range of sizes for various applications. Boards are usually four feet tall, but their height can vary. Taller boards can be used for a more efficient and smooth installation on higher walls.
The thickness of the drywall boards varies as well. The various thicknesses have different uses and range from a quarter of an inch to five-eighths of an inch. Thinner boards are ideal for curved walls or adding a layer to existing drywall. Thicker boards can have the most value if you choose to suppress sound or add insulation to an exterior wall.
The Installation Process Of Drywall Or Plasterboard
The installation procedure is relatively simple and easy. A skilled installation crew can complete a job in a timely manner. Since the procedure does not necessitate the use of noisy power equipment, it creates minimal disturbance.
Boards are fastened to the walls with the proper fasteners. One advantage of using this material is that it can be attached to almost any surface, from cement block to metal or wood studs. It’s also lightweight, which makes installation easier and safer.
After that, the seams between the boards are expertly taped. To ensure a smooth appearance and to remove any signs of the seams, a compound is spread over the tape. To achieve a flawless appearance, several coats of the compound can be added.
After that, the wall is sanded smooth. Depending on the desired finish, it may also be textured using a variety of techniques. After that, the surface is ready to be primed, painted, or whatever finishing method is chosen.
Plaster has come a long way from its use on ancient walls and ceilings. The invention of drywall made it a more usable and cost-effective material. The many advantages make it an excellent alternative for a wide range of applications.
Both drywall or plasterboard has obvious advantages. Its consistent dependability would make it a construction industry mainstay. Evolving technologies and creative installation methods demonstrate that it will be around for a long time.