The pros & cons of plasterboard & traditional wet plaster

UK Home Improvement

The Pros & Cons Of Plasterboard & Traditional Wet Plaster

When a building project is nearing completion, it is time to start considering the finish for your walls, and three options are available. You can leave the walls bare if you want an industrial look; you can finish them using plasterboard to give you a smooth surface or traditional wet plaster. Plasterboard and wet plaster give you the same finish: a smooth, flat wall or ceiling ready for decorating, whether painting or wallpaper. 

Both wet plaster and plasterboard have pros and cons, so you must consider both and see which is the best option for your building project. The best choice will depend on the type of project you are doing, the age and construction of the property, and budget and time constraints. Below, you can see the pros and cons of each option to help you decide which one to choose for your project and ensure you finish it to the highest standards.

Traditional Wet Plaster

Humans have been putting materials onto the walls and ceilings of structures for thousands of years, which has many benefits. However, the most significant advantage in this modern age is that it gives you a smooth, level surface and is perfect for decorating and finishing your room. Below, you can see some pros and cons of this finishing technique that has been used for a very long time:

The Pros Of Using Traditional Wet Plaster

Versatile Aesthetics: Another benefit of using traditional wet plaster in your DIY project is that it is more moisture-resistant than plasterboard. It is excellent for use in kitchens and bathrooms in moist or humid environments and does not face the same risks from water damage as plasterboard.  

Durable: Applying wet plaster correctly and maintaining it can mean it will last for decades, making it a highly durable product. It is an excellent choice for high-traffic areas, as the plaster, when dried, will be resistant to dents and impacts.

A Natural Insulator: Due to the composition of the plaster, it will also add a layer of thermal insulation to your property, although you will want to have insulation behind your plaster. It can help you regulate the temperature within your property, keeping it warm or cool as needed. 

Moisture Resistant: Another benefit of using traditional wet plaster in your DIY project is that it is more resistant to moisture than plasterboard. It is excellent for using in kitchens and bathrooms that can be wet environments, and it does not face the same risks from water damage that plasterboard faces. 

The Cons Of Using Traditional Wet Plaster

Slow Installation: Installing traditional wet plaster in your project is time-consuming, as it is a labour-intensive task requiring skill. You must apply multiple coats of plaster to each surface and allow it to dry before adding the next one. Plastering a project using this method can take significantly longer than using a fast and efficient plasterboard or drylining system.

Increased Costs: You must also be aware that the increased time and skill level needed for traditional wet plaster will make it more expensive. The increased labour, materials, and time can significantly increase your project’s overall cost, making it take longer to complete and costing you money.

Messy Application: Applying traditional wet plaster is also a much messier task than using plasterboard, and more mess will take more effort and time to clean up once complete. 

Tricky To Repair: Although you can repair traditional plaster if it gets damaged, it is not easy, and you may always notice where the damage was. It can be challenging to match the exact texture and finish of the plaster, which can be a drawback where repairs and maintenance are concerned.

Modern Plasterboard/Drylining

Modern plasterboard is much younger than traditional plaster and has been used for over 100 years. It is a cost and time-efficient option for your building project, with drylining supplies readily available, but plasterboard does have both pros and cons, which are as follows:

The Pros Of Using Plasterboard

Quick Installation: It is quick and easy to install plasterboard, which is one of its standout advantages. A skilled installer can quickly fix plasterboard to the walls and ceiling, reducing time and labour costs for your project.  

A Smooth Finish: You can also achieve a smooth and level finish using plasterboard, with your walls and ceiling uniform. Once installed, you have a surface ready for decorating using paint or wallpaper, and it would not be easy to achieve the same uniform and flat finish using traditional plaster.

Additional Insulation: Plasterboard will also provide additional thermal and acoustic insulation for your project. It can help reduce noise in your building and make it much more comfortable, whether in a home or commercial setting.

Fire Resistant: Another significant advantage of using plasterboard on your project is its fire-resistance properties. Plasterboard can help slow the spread of fire, giving you more time to evacuate, and can help increase the overall safety of the finished project. 

Cost-Effective: However, a benefit people like most with plasterboard is how cost-effective it is to install. It goes up fast and allows you to quickly move onto the next stage of your project, saving you time and money.

The Cons Of Using Plasterboard

Vulnerable To Water Damage: A significant drawback to using plasterboard is that it is prone to water damage, so you must keep it dry. When exposed to moisture, the plasterboard can warp and start to smell, and mould can form on the surface, making it unsuitable for humid and moist areas like kitchens, bathrooms, or shower rooms.

Less Durable: Plasterboard is less durable than traditional wet plaster and will not last as long. It is more susceptible to dents and damage than wet plaster, so it is not ideal for high-traffic environments.

Limited Aesthetic Options: Plasterboard provides a smooth, even finish, which may not suit everyone’s taste. Those looking for textured or intricate designs might prefer the versatility of traditional wet plaster.

Not Environmentally Friendly: The production of plasterboard involves significant energy consumption and the use of non-renewable resources. If you are environmentally conscious, this might be a drawback, although plasterboard is 100% recyclable.

These are some of the most significant pros and cons of traditional wet plaster and plasterboard that can help you decide the best option for your project. With careful consideration, skill, and patience, you can ensure your finished project looks fantastic.


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