plaster veneer or drywall

jenp4September 14, 2008

I am FINALLY getting to the point of dealing with the walls in my 1910 farmhouse remodel. I have been working on the project since Jan, and with all new plumbing, electric, walls, insulation, etc. in place, I now get to decide what to do with the bare studs.

If I had money to burn, no doubt I would go with plaster veneer, but I am a single woman doing this project solo, and I have been trying to find ways to make it afforable since Day 1.

I have a $5200 quote for installed drywall and texturing (1400 sq ft house).

If I did blueboard and 2 coats of plaster veneer, I bet that price would double.

I am trying to decide if I should invest in the plaster. I love the feel, sound and look of plaster, but I don't know if it is worth the additional money. Does anyone have any experience with it? Does the veneer crack eventually like plaster? Does it really feel like plaster?

Is it worth doing it because the studs are uneven, and the veneer would help elminate any waviness that traditional drywalling would not cover up?

I am planning on living in the house for at least a few years (minimum).

Just looking for some opinions-- thank you!

-Jen

p.s. I would have loved to save the original plaster walls, but the walls were only 2 by 2's upstairs, and I needed to take them down to get enough clearance for the new wiring, etc.

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lucy

How about just doing plaster on one wall or two, for a special look, with a little natural color in it. You'd have your 'fix' but not kill yourself doing the whole job, which is a big deal, plus does usually cry out for experienced doers.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 6:20PM
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jan9

A great deal can be done to straighten the walls before the wall board goes up. Shims are the simplest to use but there's also cutting and sistering or planeing. The big box stores usually have a book section. The books on drywall or just walls will have some discussion of the techniques.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 3:28AM
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mightyanvil

Veneer plaster consists of a special 1/16" thick fast setting plaster coat on a special drywall "veneer plaster base" often called "blueboard". It is considered a drywall system rather than a plaster system and is installed by drywall companies rather than plasterers.

Where veneer plaster is commonly offered (Boston area, etc.) it is usually cheaper than taped drywall because it is so much faster and cleaner to install. Unfortunately it is only available in a few regions of the US.

This finish looks no different from taped drywall when painted except that the corners are sharper and there are fewer defects and it produces a harder finish that is easily repaired.

Don't reject alternative materials before getting a quote.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 10:42AM
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jenp4

Thank you for the feedback so far. No one does the plaster finish out here, so I think it is considered a specialty finish. I am currently trying to find someone to do it so I can get some real numbers on it. Someone who has had it done several times on houses he works on has told me that the finish alone, 2 coats thick, will be around $5000 for my home. This does not include cost of blueboard or hanging it.

Has anyone had this plaster finish? Could someone tell me a little more about what is great about it?

Thank you!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 3:20PM
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brickeyee

"If I did blueboard and 2 coats of plaster veneer, I bet that price would double."

The seams are taped and smoothed, then a single layer of veneer plaster is applied.

If you are not in an area that commonly does the work you may not be able to get it for any price.

"Veneer plaster consists of a special 1/16" thick fast setting plaster coat..."

It is actually a SLOW setting plaster.

Straight plaster hardens in about 10-15 minutes by chemical reaction and cannot be altered by adding water, only retarder slows the setting.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 7:45PM
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joann23456

Well, I live near Boston and had to have my dining room ceiling replaced last year (it was damaged by water and caved in), and it cost $1,200 for the plasterer to go over the blueboard with two coats of plaster. The room is about 14x16.

Don't know if that helps, but it's a data point!

(It was fun to watch, BTW. He used big, blocky stilts to walk around the room while doing the almost-10-foot ceiling.)

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 7:45PM
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mom2lilenj

I would try to get a quote on veneer plaster before ruling it out. I got a quote for veneer plaster and he was 2/3 the price of the drywall guy. I asked how he can do that and he said he can get a room done in a day where as a drywall guy needs a few days because for drywall you need to wait in between coats to sand. For plaster there is no sanding. The blue board goes up quick, then seams taped, and first coat of plaster (scratch coat). The person must know what they are doing because a retardant is often added to allow time to "work" the plaster. How much retardant is based on humidity and other stuff I don't know about, but too much weakens the plaster. If you are using a texture this can be the last coat. If not then after a few hours the smooth coat of plaster goes on and is "worked" smooth. I am also having my plaster guy put up full plaster on my brick chimney which is metal lath with a brown coat (I think that is what it is called) of plaster, then same procedure as veneer, scratch coat and then smooth coat.

Drywall and plaster (veneer or regular) both use different techniques so you will have to track down someone who knows what they are doing with plaster, but that doesn't mean it will cost more money.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 11:10PM
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mightyanvil

I was comparing the speed of veneer plaster to a taped system which I believe was the original issue.

I have only seen the smooth one-coat veneer plaster used. The two-coat veneer system would normally only be used over masonry or for high abuse areas or perhaps for textured finishes.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 10:19AM
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concretenprimroses

If you drywall I suggest that you insulate your interior walls for sound proofing, at least in the bedrooms. Traditional plaster is a much better sound insulator than drywall. Seems like this blue board plaster combo would be pretty soundproof too, but I'd check.
Good luck
kathy

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 11:24AM
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brickeyee

"I was comparing the speed of veneer plaster to a taped system which I believe was the original issue."

Sounds like a bunch of yahoos.

For a large drywall job that takes more than one day to apply a coat, pre-mix mud has little effect on the schedule.

For a smaller job setting is the way yo go.
It can be coated after hardening (it does not need to be dry, just hard).

In a small room 60 or 90 minute compound will allow enough time to patch, clean up the tools, and then you can start the next coat.

For spot repairs 20 minute will do the trick.
In an hour or so you can apply 3 coats and have the job completed.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 6:51PM
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mightyanvil

Your abrasive attitude is getting tiresome.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 9:52AM
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concretenprimroses

Oh, and be sure to insulate the bathroom walls for sound as well if you drywall.
kathy

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 9:00PM
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brickeyee

"Your abrasive attitude is getting tiresome."

Your lack of knowledge and clarity is tiring.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 10:07AM
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