Plaster vs. drywall on walls of Ohio duplex

CRW1February 24, 2013

We are rehabbing a old home that caught on fire in the second floor bedrooms in Ohio. The walls are currently plaster but I have been recommended by a contractor to go with drywall on the exterior facing walls. Looking to improve the house. House faces into colder climate and need to insulate as much as possible. Insurance will pay for plaster. What would you recommend as we redo interior walls on the second floor?

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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

"recommended by a contractor to go with drywall on the exterior facing walls."


Plaster all the way

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 4:49AM
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Veneer plaster (blueboard) has the advantages of plaster and drywall and none of the disadvantages. Its a thin coat of plaster over a special drywall so there are no taped joints. It is not available in all markets so the first thing to do is find out if anyone does it. It is standard in Boston.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 1:30PM
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Fori is not pleased

It sort of sounds like your contractor doesn't have a plaster guy in his quiver of subs.

Plaster is nicer. (I don't know what blueboard is, though.)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 4:18PM
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If insulation is the issue, then seal and insulate the stud cavaties, the top and bottom plates. Finishing with gyp board and paint will be indistinguishable from plaster. It will also be quicker and probably cheaper.

IMO there's little advantage to plaster for a simple vertical wall.

Good luck with your project.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 6:08PM
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Plaster on blueboard at least as practiced around here provides a much harder and smoother surface than drywall with absolutely no surface irregularities between sheets. It can take a lot more abuse without dents or scratches in my experience.

Of course finding anyone around here who is willing to come back multiple times for a multi-coat drywall finish is really hard, they all try to tell you that a plaster skim coat is cheaper and faster.

Given the speed that those guys work I can't imagine a multi-coat process being faster. Our whole house was skim-coated in less than two days and the plasterers were done and gone.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 3:11PM
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"Finishing with gyp board and paint will be indistinguishable from plaster."

Haven't seen much Plaster have you?

You can instantly tell a plaster job from anything except a level 5 type drywall job, and those cost almost as much as plaster.

Even them a single rap with your knuckles will show it is NOT plaster.
It is remarkable how quiet a house with even two coat plaster walls is compared to drywall (or even blue-board and veneer plaster).

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 12:33PM
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What's important here to the OP? Insulation? Some sort of unstated visual appearance? How the wall sounds when you rap it with your knuckles? This application is for a bedroom, not some sort of decorative plaster application found in older, higher quality living and dining rooms.

Other than the surface hardness, there's little reason to consider a plaster wall.

Sounds to me like the major issue is insulation. Maybe I'm wrong.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 9:38PM
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