Plaster vs. Drywall: Know Your Options

By Lauren Caggiano on April, 12 2021
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Lauren Caggiano

Lauren Caggiano is a Fort Wayne-based copywriter and editor with a nerdy passion for AP Style. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, thrift shopping, fitness and travel. Learn more on her website:

If you plan to do a remodel or pursue new construction, you’d be wise to brush up on a few important details. There’s no shortage of decisions inherent to the process. Deciding between plaster walls or drywall is among those. 

That said, it’s helpful to understand the pros and cons before making a trip to the home improvement store. Here’s a look at both materials and what they have to offer. First, it helps to have a handle on the terminology. You may think drywall and plasterboard are interchangeable, but there are important contextual and practical nuances related to each. 


Historically, plasterboard has been popular because it’s easier to mine and produce in large quantities. It’s also a go-to for contractors because of its practicality. 

There’s also the durability factor. Plaster by nature is harder and lasts a longer time than other materials. That’s why you’ll see older homes with original plaster intact. The look is also distinct and adds an element of sophistication to the room. One additional point in plaster’s favor is that by nature, mold can’t grow in plaster.

However, on the flip side, plaster can require more time and energy on the part of the user. You have to mix it, apply the coats, and allow them to dry — then repeat twice. If you’re on a time crunch, you might want to reconsider your plans.


So, what about the alternative, drywall? Of course, it comes with its own advantages. It’s generally budget-friendly and easier to install and repair on your own. This is music to newbie DIY-ers, as you don’t need a lot of experience to get the job done correctly. It might take some practice but it’s fairly intuitive to install. And once you have mastered it, you can tackle future reno projects with ease!

Other practical considerations make it attractive, too. Since it’s not quite as substantial as plaster, drywall is the ideal option for people who want to decorate their walls. It also makes for a great insulator, lowering your utility bills and your home’s carbon footprint at the same time.

Still, there are drawbacks to drywall. For one, you can’t really bend it, which may limit you in terms of the execution. There’s also the fact that it’s heavy and bulky, making it unwieldy to handle for one person.

Which is Better?

In short, it’s important to realize that both materials have their merits related to both form and function. If you’re still uncertain about which route to go, seeking a professional opinion is never a bad idea. However, generally speaking if you speed, value and ease, go with drywall panels. If you plan on hanging anything on your walls, you’ll be better served with drywall.

The context is another consideration. If you have a historic home that you’re repairing or enhancing, plaster is probably the better choice. This way, the look and feel is preserved. Plaster is recommended if you want a higher-end look or curves, texture, and design in your walls.

Regardless of the material, it helps to have a full picture of your costs in terms of supplies and labor (if you’re hiring help). That way there are no unpleasant surprises down the road.