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Drywall or Plaster: Choosing the Right Wall Finish

When it comes to wall finishes, two popular options stand out: drywall and plaster. Both have their unique characteristics and applications, and choosing the right one can significantly impact the aesthetics and durability of your interior walls. In this guide, brought to you by Utah Drywall and Repair, we’ll explore the differences between drywall and plaster, helping you make an informed decision for your next construction or renovation project.

The choice between drywall and plaster is a crucial decision in interior construction. It not only affects the appearance of your walls but also the cost and construction process. Understanding the differences between the two options is essential for making the right choice.

Understanding Drywall

Material Composition:

  • Drywall is composed of gypsum plaster sandwiched between layers of paper. It’s available in sheets of varying thicknesses and sizes.

Installation Process:

  • Drywall installation is relatively quick and straightforward. Sheets are attached to the wall studs, and joints are sealed with joint compound and tape.


  • Drywall is generally more cost-effective compared to plaster, making it a popular choice for residential and commercial projects with budget constraints.

Aesthetic Options:

  • Drywall offers a smooth, uniform surface that’s suitable for various paint and texture options. It can easily accommodate design changes or repairs.


  • While drywall is durable and resistant to cracks, it may be more prone to damage from impacts compared to plaster.

Understanding Plaster

Material Composition:

  • Plaster consists of a mixture of gypsum, lime, or cement, which is applied in layers directly to the wall’s substrate, such as lath or wood.

Installation Process:

  • Plaster application is a skilled trade, involving multiple layers and careful troweling to achieve a smooth and even finish. It’s a time-intensive process.


  • Plaster is typically more expensive than drywall due to the labor-intensive installation and materials required.

Aesthetic Options:

  • Plaster provides a luxurious, handcrafted finish that’s often preferred for historical or high-end projects. It can feature intricate designs and textures.


  • Plaster is known for its durability and resistance to wear and tear. It’s less prone to dents and impact damage than drywall.

Key Differences

1. Material Composition

  • Drywall consists of gypsum plaster and paper layers, while plaster is a mixture of gypsum, lime, or cement applied directly to the wall.

2. Installation Process

  • Drywall installation is quicker and less labor-intensive than plaster application.

3. Cost

  • Drywall is more cost-effective compared to the higher labor and material costs associated with plaster.

4. Aesthetic Options

  • Plaster offers more design versatility and a luxurious, handcrafted finish, while drywall provides a smooth, paintable surface.

5. Durability

  • Plaster is generally more durable and resistant to damage from impacts and wear compared to drywall.

Choosing Between Drywall and Plaster

The choice between drywall and plaster depends on your project’s requirements and budget:

  • Use drywall for cost-effective, quick installations and for spaces where a smooth finish is sufficient.
  • Opt for plaster when you seek a high-end, customized, and durable finish, especially for historical restorations or luxury homes.

Consider consulting with professionals like Utah Drywall and Repair to determine the best option for your specific project.


The choice between drywall and plaster is not just about aesthetics; it’s also about budget, durability, and project requirements. Understanding the differences between these two wall finishes is essential for making an informed decision that meets your needs and achieves the desired look for your interior walls.Explore the differences between drywall and plaster to choose the right wall finish for your project. Utah Drywall and Repair offers expert guidance and services for interior wall construction and renovations.