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CHANGING TIMES IN THE
PLASTER/DRYWALL INDUSTRY


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     The past few years have proven to be very exciting in the interior wall business. Many new products and innovations have brought the industry to a whole new threshold. Today’s plastering and drywall contractors are combining their finish skills with some of the latest in faux finishes.

     To fully appreciate what can be accomplished with drywall and plaster, you must first understand the origins of the products themselves. Being extremely active in the Plaster, Drywall and Faux Design business, we find that one of the biggest misconceptions and misunderstandings in the trade is that you hang the "drywall" and then "plaster" it. Actually "drywall" and "plaster" are two totally different finish products. The truth is you start both finishing processes by hanging the "sheetrock". The gypsum used in sheetrock is identical for both products. In most cases, nowadays it is synthetic gypsum. The only difference from that point is the color and type of the face paper that is used. For "Plaster", blue paper is used. The blue board is treated to absorb the moisture out of the plaster so it can be troweled out to the desired finish. For "Drywall", white paper is used. This paper serves just the opposite effect as blue board. It allows the material to be worked on at a more controlled pace. That actually brings us to the main differences in the products.

     "Plaster" obviously pumps more moisture into the house primarily because of all the water used in the mixing process. When plastering, all outside corners are covered with a metal mesh bead. Then all joints and angles are taped with a fiberglass mesh tape. After this process all joints and corner beads are "scratched in" with a "bed" coat. Then a very, very thin coat of plaster is applied to the complete surface and skip troweled. In this area, one coat skip trowel is the most popular because of the cost and quickness of the procedure. This area is one of the few places in the country that still use plaster.

     If a variety of textures are desired or if a "smooth" finish is desired, then "drywall" is the only way to go. In "drywall" finishing the outside corners are also covered with a metal mesh bead. All joints and angles are then taped with paper tape. This is probably the biggest difference. Paper tape is much stronger than its counterpart, "mesh" tape. This helps to alleviated some of the cracking that generally takes place in plaster. Then all corner beads, joints, screws and angles are coated 2 – 3 times to achieve the desired level of finish. Finally you apply whatever texture design you like over the complete surface or you can leave it "smooth" for paint. Both products are then usually primed and top coated with paint.

     To get the best job out of either product is to use 5/8" thick sheetrock throughout the house; walls and ceilings. The difference between ½" and 5/8" sheetrock is phenomenal.

     What makes the industry so exciting today are the sophisticated products that are now being offered. Venetian Plaster products, such as Marmorino, Cerrera, Lustre stone and Spatulata can make any room in your home look like it belongs in the hills of Hollywood. There virtually is nothing you can’t do. When you combine these products along with sandstone plasters and Tromp ‘loi and some advanced faux products, the only thing holding you back is your imagination. For example, you can take a wall with just a simple fireplace insert and turn it into a beautiful masterpiece.

     Another innovation in the industry are the "gypsum crown moulding" products now on the market that make it both cost effective and time saving.

     Surely, there are too many products and ideas to talk about in a short article. Therefore, you should contact your contractor for more ideas and information and throw yourself into the exciting and creative world of drywall, plaster and faux designs.

If you're ready to get rid of the old and move on to the new, then remember:

If it's Drywall or Plaster, just call the Master!

"Design interiors you always dreamed of."
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