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As an industry tradesman and a highly skilled professional in the field, I have spent years working on various construction and renovation projects, dealing with a wide range of walling materials and techniques. In this article, we will delve into some common questions that homeowners and contractors often encounter when it comes to walling choices, specifically focusing on plaster and drywall. We will explore topics such as the presence of asbestos in plaster walls, the decision between painting plaster walls or using drywall, replacing plaster ceilings with drywall, drywall installation methods, costs associated with finishing drywall, popular drywall textures, and insights into the drywall scene in Vancouver, including finding reliable drywall contractors nearby.

Is There Asbestos in Plaster Walls?

Before we dive into the comparison between plaster and drywall, it’s essential to address a crucial concern: asbestos in plaster walls. Asbestos was commonly used in building materials, including plaster, before its health risks became well-known. If you’re living in an older home or planning to renovate one, you might wonder if asbestos is lurking within your plaster walls.

Asbestos in plaster is not uncommon in older structures, particularly those built before the 1980s. As a seasoned tradesman, I’ve encountered my fair share of asbestos-containing materials. The presence of asbestos in plaster can pose serious health risks, as inhaling asbestos fibers can lead to lung diseases, including mesothelioma.

If you suspect asbestos in your plaster walls, it’s imperative to take precautions. Seek professional assistance from asbestos removal experts who can conduct thorough testing and safely remove any asbestos-containing materials. Prioritize your safety and the safety of those around you when dealing with potential asbestos issues.

Is It Better to Paint Plaster Walls or Drywall?

Now, let’s explore the dilemma of whether to paint plaster walls or use drywall for your interior spaces. Both options have their pros and cons, and the choice often depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Painting Plaster Walls:

  1. Character and Aesthetics: Plaster walls exude a timeless charm and elegance, with their unique texture and ability to showcase subtle imperfections beautifully.
  2. Durability: Well-maintained plaster walls can last for generations, as they are highly resistant to wear and tear.
  3. Acoustic Properties: Plaster walls offer better sound insulation compared to drywall, making them ideal for quieter spaces.

However, painting plaster walls can be a labor-intensive process. Proper preparation, including filling cracks and holes, is essential to achieve a smooth finish. Additionally, plaster repairs can be more challenging than patching drywall.

Using Drywall:

  1. Ease of Installation: Drywall is relatively easy and quick to install, making it a popular choice for modern construction and renovations.
  2. Smooth Finish: Drywall provides a smooth, uniform surface that is well-suited for painting or applying various textures.
  3. Cost-Effective: Drywall installation is often more cost-effective than repairing or restoring plaster walls.

Choosing between painting plaster walls or using drywall ultimately depends on your budget, timeline, and the aesthetic you want to achieve. If you’re looking for a traditional, character-rich interior, plaster may be the way to go. However, if practicality and cost-effectiveness are your primary concerns, drywall may be the better choice.

Should I Replace Plaster Ceiling with Drywall?

Another common question that homeowners face is whether to replace a plaster ceiling with drywall. Plaster ceilings, like plaster walls, offer a unique charm but may come with maintenance challenges.

Replacing a plaster ceiling with drywall can be a sensible choice in several scenarios:

  1. Damage and Decay: Plaster ceilings are susceptible to cracking and deterioration over time. If your plaster ceiling has extensive damage, it may be more cost-effective to replace it with drywall.
  2. Modernization: If you’re renovating an older home and aiming for a more modern look and feel, drywall ceilings can provide a clean and updated appearance.
  3. Insulation: Drywall ceilings can accommodate insulation more effectively, improving energy efficiency and reducing heating and cooling costs.

Before making a decision, consider consulting with a professional to assess the condition of your plaster ceiling. They can help you determine whether repair or replacement is the most viable option for your specific situation.

Is It Better to Drywall Over Plaster?

When dealing with existing plaster walls or ceilings, the question of whether to drywall over the plaster or remove it entirely often arises. This decision involves a mix of practicality, aesthetics, and budget considerations.

Drywalling Over Plaster:

  1. Cost-Effective: Installing drywall over existing plaster can save you the labor and disposal costs associated with plaster removal.
  2. Preservation: Drywalling over plaster allows you to preserve the character and texture of the plaster while providing a smoother, more modern surface.
  3. Insulation: You can easily add insulation between the plaster and the new drywall for improved energy efficiency.

However, there are some potential drawbacks to drywalling over plaster. It can result in thicker walls, which may reduce interior space slightly. Additionally, if the existing plaster has significant damage or structural issues, simply covering it with drywall may not address the underlying problems.

Ultimately, the decision to drywall over plaster or remove it depends on the condition of the existing plaster, your budget, and your aesthetic preferences. Consult with a professional to assess your specific situation and make an informed choice.

How Much Does It Cost to Finish Drywall in a House?

The cost of finishing drywall in a house varies depending on several factors, including the size of the project, labor rates in your area, and the level of finish you desire. Here’s a breakdown of the typical costs associated with finishing drywall:

  1. Materials: Drywall panels and joint compound are the primary materials used for finishing. The cost of materials depends on the square footage to be covered and the type and thickness of drywall chosen.
  2. Labor: Labor costs are a significant portion of the budget. Drywall professionals typically charge per square foot or per hour. Rates can vary based on location and complexity.
  3. Level of Finish: Drywall finishing levels range from basic to top-quality. The higher the level of finish you desire (e.g., smooth, textured, or decorative), the more it will cost in labor and materials.
  4. Additional Work: Any additional work, such as repairing damaged drywall or applying specialized textures, will add to the overall cost.

To get an accurate estimate for your specific project, it’s best to consult with local drywall contractors. They can provide you with a detailed quote based on your requirements and the unique aspects of your project.

How Much Is Drywall per Square Meter?

Drywall prices per square meter can vary widely based on factors such as location, thickness, and quality of the drywall. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, I can provide a rough estimate of drywall costs per square meter. Keep in mind that prices may have changed since then, so it’s essential to check with local suppliers for current pricing.

In the United States, standard drywall typically costs between $10 and $20 per square meter for 1/2-inch thick panels. Thicker drywall, such as 5/8-inch, may be slightly more expensive. Specialty drywall, like fire-resistant or soundproofing drywall, can cost even more.

In other countries, drywall prices may vary significantly. For example, in Canada, you might expect to pay around CAD $15 to $25 per square meter for standard drywall.

To get an accurate price per square meter for drywall in your location, contact local building supply stores or drywall suppliers for current rates.

What Drywall Texture Is Most Popular?

Drywall texture plays a significant role in the overall appearance and feel of your interior walls and ceilings. The choice of texture can enhance the aesthetics of a space and provide a unique touch. The popularity of specific drywall textures can vary by region and personal preference, but some textures are commonly used and loved:

  1. Smooth Finish: A smooth finish is the most straightforward and versatile option. It provides a clean, modern look and is easy to paint or wallpaper.
  2. Orange Peel Texture: This texture resembles the surface of an orange peel and is a popular choice for its subtle, semi-smooth appearance. It helps hide minor imperfections in the drywall.
  3. Knockdown Texture: Knockdown texture involves spraying joint compound onto the wall and then flattening it with a trowel or knife, creating a mottled, textured surface.
  4. Popcorn Ceiling Texture: While less popular today, popcorn texture was once commonly used on ceilings for its acoustic properties. It consists of small, raised bumps.
  5. Skip Trowel Texture: This texture involves applying joint compound in a random, irregular pattern and then lightly smoothing it with a trowel, creating a rustic, textured look.

The choice of drywall texture should complement the style of your home and your personal taste. Keep in mind that some textures may require more maintenance than others and can be more challenging to repair if damaged.

Drywall Vancouver: Insights into the Scene

For those in Vancouver or considering a construction or renovation project in the area, understanding the drywall scene in the city is crucial. Vancouver is known for its unique housing market and building challenges, and drywall contractors play a pivotal role in the construction and renovation landscape.

  1. Weather Considerations: Vancouver’s climate can pose challenges for construction projects, including drywall installation. Contractors must be well-prepared for rain and humidity during various phases of the project.
  2. Permit and Regulatory Compliance: Vancouver has stringent building codes and permit requirements. It’s essential to work with experienced drywall contractors who understand and adhere to local regulations.
  3. Environmental Awareness: Vancouver places a strong emphasis on sustainability and green building practices. Drywall contractors in the city often prioritize environmentally friendly materials and methods.
  4. High Demand: The demand for construction and renovation services in Vancouver is consistently high due to the city’s growth and limited space. It’s advisable to plan your project well in advance and secure reliable contractors early.

Drywall Contractors Near Me: Finding the Right Professionals

When embarking on a drywall project, finding trustworthy and skilled drywall contractors is paramount. Here are some steps to help you locate the right professionals near you:

  1. Research: Start by researching local drywall contractors online, through local directories, or by asking for recommendations from friends and family.
  2. Check Credentials: Verify that contractors are licensed, insured, and have a good reputation in the community.
  3. Request Quotes: Contact multiple contractors to provide you with detailed quotes for your project. Compare their pricing, timelines, and references.
  4. Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask potential contractors about their experience, previous projects, and the specific techniques and materials they use.
  5. Visit Previous Projects: If possible, visit some of the contractor’s completed projects to get a firsthand look at their workmanship.
  6. Review Contracts: Carefully review the terms and conditions in the contract, including payment schedules and warranties, before signing.


As a seasoned industry tradesman, I understand the importance of making informed decisions when it comes to walling materials and techniques. Whether you’re concerned about asbestos in plaster walls, deciding between plaster and drywall, contemplating replacing plaster ceilings, or seeking insights into the drywall scene in Vancouver, it’s crucial to gather information and work with experienced professionals. By weighing the pros and cons, considering your budget and aesthetic preferences, and collaborating with reliable contractors, you can achieve the perfect walls and ceilings for your home or project.