Drywall is just a cheaper and faster way to get the plaster look, but it is just not the same. To get a classic look, you’ll need to replace your drywall with plaster.

The cost to plaster walls is approximately $2 to $10 per square foot. To replace drywall with plaster, expect to pay about $3 to $11, including $1.00 per square foot for demolition and disposal of old material.

The cost varies widely depending on the room’s size, location, the height of the ceiling, and the job’s complexity. If your walls are high, you can pay an additional cost of approximately $0.50 to $2 per square foot for scaffolding.

Below is a summary of the average cost for plastering walls.

cost to replace drywall with plaster infographics
Cost per square foot$3 - $11
Cost per standard 12 x 12 rooms$432 - 1,584
2 rooms$864 - $3,168
3 rooms$1,296 - $4,752
4 rooms$1,728 - $6,336
Cost per standard 1,500 sq. ft. house$4,500 - $16,500
½-inch drywall (per sq. ft.)$2.5 - $12.0
⅝-inch drywall (per sq. ft.)$4.0 - $15.0
⅜-inch drywall (per sq. ft.)$2.0 - $10.5
Labor cost (per square foot)$2 - $5

Per square foot

If you would like to replace drywall with plaster, there are several cost factors you need to consider. For instance, you will need to include demolition and disposal costs if you need to install new walls. The average price for demolition and disposal is about $0.75 per square foot, coming in between $0.50 and $1.00 per square foot.

The average cost to plaster walls is about $2 to $10 per square foot. So, the average cost to replace drywall with plaster per square foot is in the vicinity of $3 to $11. Plaster tends to be expensive than drywall because it requires more expertise. More so, it takes more time to apply than hanging drywall.

If you are hanging new drywall, expect to pay about $1 to $1.50 for the job, besides applying plaster. Finishing drywall with plaster is common among many homeowners because plaster makes the walls more durable and offers soundproofing and fire resistance.

Cost to replace drywall with plaster

By number of rooms

As you add more rooms, the price increases but on a non-linear scale. The price to replace drywall with plaster for 2 rooms is not double the cost for one room. See below for more exact pricing.

  • Standard 12 x 12 room
  • 2 rooms
  • 3 rooms
  • 4 rooms

Standard 12 x 12 room

A standard 12 x 12 room is about 144 square feet. So, plastering costs between $432 and 1,584, not including the ceiling. If the walls are high, the price will be higher because special equipment like scaffolding will be required. Typically, you can pay an extra cost of approximately $0.40 to $2 per square foot for scaffolding.

If you plan to plaster a whole house, it is better to do it all at once than plastering one room at a time. This is because the cost per square foot becomes lower for a bigger project than a smaller one. This project may take about two to three days to complete

2 Rooms

Plastering two rooms of 12 x 12 feet is about $864 to $3,168, for walls alone. To plaster a ceiling, expect to pay an additional cost of about $390. This cost dramatically increases if your ceiling is unconventional, needs repairs, or you are adding a design. Also, if the walls need repair, the price will be much higher.

Plastering jobs are usually charged per square foot. The contractor includes all the materials costs and hourly labor costs to design a comprehensive, easy-to-understand estimate. So, the price the contractor quotes should be inclusive of labor and materials. The hourly rates range from $60 to $80 per hour.

3 Rooms

On average, you can pay about $200 to $1200 to plaster a project of about 100 square feet. The cost will be higher for a larger project. So, to plaster 3 standard 12 x 12 rooms, you can pay about $1,296 to 4,752 for the job. This price will vary depending on the wall and ceiling height, complexity of the project, finish options, and condition of the walls.

Prepping costs tend to push the price to the higher end. If you are on a tight budget, you can DIY the prepping part of the project. For instance, you can move furniture and other household items, cover the floor in advance.

4 Rooms

Replacing drywall with plaster on 4, 12 x 12 rooms will cost between $1,728 and 6,336. The cost will be higher for larger rooms. Since rooms vary by size and function, the actual cost may be different from room to room. So, to know the overall price, the contractor should take each room’s measurements and provide an overall estimate of the job.

When requesting an estimate, make sure the expert breaks down all the costs involved.

This way, it will be better to understand how the money will be used. Avoid any professional who is not clear on the price because they may be planning to con you of your hard-earned money.

1,500 sq. ft. house

A 1,500 square foot house is an average house for homeowners across the US. To replace drywall with plaster in such a home, expect to pay about $4,500 to 16,500. The price varies depending on the complexity of the project and the finishing option you choose.

The overall cost of the project also varies depending on the type of plaster you choose. Plaster is relatively cheap, and it costs about $10 to $60 per style, type, and size. For instance, you can pay about $60 for a 5-gallon bucket of lime plaster. Gypsum is cheaper than cement and lime plaster, and you can buy a 20lbs bag at about $20. For luxury plaster types, you can buy a 5-gallon bucket for approximately $400 or more.

So, when estimating the price of the project, make sure you determine the type of plaster to use, finish option, and prep costs. This will help you plan your budget early and avoid leaving the project halfway after you start it.

By drywall thickness

The average cost to replace drywall with plaster depends on the thickness of drywall. Below is an estimate of the cost for different drywall thicknesses.

 

1/2 inch drywall – The average cost to replace drywall of thickness ½ inches with plaster is approximately $2.5 to $12.0 per square foot. This cost is inclusive of demolition costs that range between $0.40 and $1.00 per square foot. To lower the cost, you can DIY the project as long as you have the right gear and materials. However, plastering requires a high skill level, so it is best to leave it to the professionals.

 

5/8 inch drywall – 5/8-inch drywall is thick, which means the overall cost to replace it with plaster will be higher. On average, expect to pay about $4.0 to $15.0 per square foot for the project. The price may vary from contractor to contractor, so it is essential to compare several quotes to estimate the price range.

 

3/8 inch drywall – Replacing 3/8-inch drywall with plaster is cheaper because the panels are easy to remove. So, the demolition cost may be lower than the other drywall thicknesses. Expect to pay anything between $2.0 and $10.5 per square foot for the job. You can remove the drywall yourself to lower the project’s total cost if you are on a tight budget.

Cost to replace drywall with plaster per drywall thickness worker

Labor costs

Plasterers usually charge the project per square foot. Once you contact a contractor, they will visit the worksite and take correct measurements. They will then provide you with a detailed estimate of the project. The estimate includes materials, labor cost, prepping cost, and special enhancements, among others.

Typically, the labor cost to replace drywall with plaster is about $2 to $5 per square foot, or $60 top $80 per hour. Hourly rates may, however, be costly if the project takes longer than expected. So, it is best to request fixed rates because they are more reasonable. Before you hire a particular contractor, make sure you compare several quotes and interview all potential contractors.

DIY vs. Hiring an Expert

Plastering is quite difficult than drywalling. So, you should only DIY the project if you are sure about your skills. If you are applying plaster for the first time, hiring a professional is the right thing. This is because plastering is costly, and one mistake can cost you a lot.

Do it Yourself

Most people are not familiar with plaster, although it is a common option for interior walls. Installing it without the proper skills may leave your walls more vulnerable to damage. More so, you may end up paying more money to resurface the walls and end up negatively affecting the resale value of your home.

Whether you want a clean and smooth surface or you prefer the ornamental design, it is best to hire a professional to do the job for you. Below are the pros and cons of DIY plastering.

Pros

  • You will save some money since labor costs will be excluded.
  • DIYing allows you to experiment and bring out your vision.
  • You can do the project on your own time.
  • You will feel accomplished and motivated after the project.

Cons

  • You risk damaging the walls and incurring costly repairs due to a lack of enough skills.
  • You are not guaranteed safety because you may not know how to go about the work. Also, you may injure yourself while trying to lift heavy objects.
  • The project may take too long to complete, especially if your work schedule is tight.

Hiring an Expert

Although hiring an expert to replace drywall with plaster for you will be much more expensive than DIYing the work, it is worth the cost. This is because pros have the expertise to do the job, and the risk of damage will be minimal. The pros and cons of hiring professionals include:

Pros

  • Pros will adhere to detail and ensure the walls are smooth and clean and the textures come out professionally.
  • Experts will complete the job faster, which can save you money in the long run.
  • Your home’s resale value increases when professionals do remodeling and repair work.
  • The quality of the work will be better than DIY.

Cons

  • Plastering is quite costly, so you must have enough money before you begin the project.
  • Sometimes pro may not visualize the way you want the job to be done.
  • There is no guarantee that the professional will do well even if they give you references for their past projects.

FAQ's

If mixed and applied correctly, plaster offers a more durable coating than drywall. The chemical reaction that takes place after mixing plaster with water creates strong bonds when the water evaporates. More so, plaster is more resistant to dents, knocks, and breakage. It offers versatility because you can apply texture on the walls without a hassle.

However, plaster is quite expensive to install and repair compared to drywall. Also, it is quite challenging to repair cracks on the walls. Plastering requires highly skilled professionals, making labor costs to be much higher than installing drywall.

When planning to plaster your walls, gypsum plaster should be your top choice. It is easy to work with and offers a fine finish. More so, you can use it as a topcoat for your plastering project. Gypsum plaster is also less prone to cracks and dents, making it a perfect choice for the longevity of your walls.

Both drywall and plaster have their own advantages and disadvantages. However, for the durability and longevity of your walls, plaster is the best option. It also provides better soundproofing, fireproofing, and insulation than drywall. Moreover, it is mold and mildew-resistant, which means you will never have to worry about mold.

Since plaster is hand-applied, it offers a higher quality finish than drywall. So, if your budget can allow it, plaster walls are much better than drywall.

Generally, one bag of 25kg plaster can cover about four to six square meters for 3mm thickness. If you want thicker walls, the coverage may be slightly lower. For a 100 square meter project, you can use approximately 500kgs of plaster. The cost of plaster may vary depending on the brand and location.

Plastering may be expensive, but it comes with so many advantages, such as mold resistance, sound deadening, insulation, and durability. You should, however, make sure you find an experienced and insured professional for the job to avoid regrets in the future. You can also DIY the project if you are confident of your skills and have enough free time.

FAQ’s drywall with plaster

Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.