Why would you use plaster instead of sheetrock?

Besides it being period appropriate to old homes, as a building professional, I have to weigh many factors above the direct cost of the single product. Plaster as an end result has the compressive strength of concrete, unlike sheetrock that is paper and paint. It is a highly skilled practice that only extremely qualified plasterers should attempt. Its direct cost is higher, but factoring in speed at which it is applied (no sanding or waiting for it to dry) and the lack of sheetrock dust, it always comes out ahead on smaller projects (kitchen, baths, and small additions). Also, faux is a French word for “Fake.” While you could do a faux plaster finish, plaster does the real thing in usually less steps, and when doing custom finishes, usually ends up being less expensive than hiring a custom painter and a sheetrock contractor. Do not attempt plaster by yourself. True plaster is only sold in limited places and requires years of experience. If you want to do it yourself, go with the sheetrock. Once the plaster is hard, there is no sanding. Remember, it would be like trying to sand your sidewalk. – Richard De Wolf, Arciform LLC

How do you keep dust from getting over the entire house?

See “why I like plaster” above. (Just kidding) We seal off all doorways with a heavy plastic and blue tape (buy the best tape you can). Any door that must be accessed gets a zipper door. That is a long zipper that attaches to the plastic and creates an access without removing the tape. As an added protection, place an old towel at the threshold of each door. Even the best taped plastic gets kicked around. Shut off all ducts to that area of the house. Turn off the duct in the basement if you have adjustable dampers and again, place a towel in the duct then seal with plastic and tape. Put a fan in the window pointing outside while working with fine dust, but make sure you moved your car or are not blowing the dust into the neighbors yard. If you can, try not to run the system during the worst days of deconstruction and other heavy dust days. Best of all, clean up after yourself each day with a high quality canister vacuum and have an extra pair of shoes to wear into the living area of the house. I wear clogs and kick them off before going into anybody’s non-remodeled areas of their house. (I always make sure I don’t have any holes in my socks so I maintain a professional appearance.) – Richard De Wolf, Arciform LLC


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