If you are planning a renovation or construction project, you may wonder whether to use drywall or plaster. While both materials have been used for decades in construction, some critical differences can affect your decision.  

Today, we’ll talk about the differences between drywall and plaster. Whether you’re a contractor or DIY enthusiast, understanding these differences can help you decide which material is best for your project. 

Perhaps you’re planning to remove your popcorn ceiling asbestos, and you’re torn between what material to replace it. If so, this article is for you. 

Material Composition 

Plaster and drywall have vastly different material compositions.  

Plaster is a mixture of gypsum, water, and sand used in construction for centuries. It is applied in several layers, each of which must dry before the next can be applied. Once dry, plaster hardens into a smooth, durable surface that can be painted or decorated as desired.  

On the other hand, drywall, also known as gypsum board, is made of gypsum sandwiched between two sheets of heavy paper. It is produced in large sheets and can be cut to fit the dimensions of a room. Unlike plaster, drywall is much faster, easier to install, and requires less time to dry. However, it is less durable than plaster and can be more easily damaged. 

Installation Time 

Regarding installation time, drywall is the clear winner over plaster. Installing drywall is much quicker than plastering, as it involves cutting the drywall sheets to size and then screwing them to the wall or ceiling.  

After that, seams and screw holes are covered with joint compound, sanded, and painted. The drywall installation can be done in a matter of days, depending on the project size.  

In contrast, plaster installation is a more time-consuming process that can take weeks to complete. Each layer of plaster must dry completely before the next layer can be applied, which can require multiple applications. In addition, plastering requires more skilled labor, making the process more expensive.  


When it comes to quality, plaster is generally considered to be superior to drywall. Plaster provides a more solid and durable surface that can last decades without cracking or showing signs of wear.  

The multiple layers of plaster also provide better soundproofing and insulation than drywall. Plaster walls have a unique, elegant look that is difficult to replicate with drywall and can be finished with various textures and finishes.  

In contrast, drywall is a thinner and less sturdy material that is more prone to damage, especially from moisture or impacts. Drywall can be prone to cracking, and it does not provide the same level of soundproofing or insulation as plaster.  

However, drywall is a more affordable and practical option for many projects, especially those with a limited budget or timeline. 


In conclusion, the difference between drywall and plaster comes from various factors, including material composition, installation time, and quality. 

By understanding the critical differences between drywall and plaster, you can make an informed decision that will help you achieve the desired result for your renovation or construction project.