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New construction and remodeling are expensive. While there are many inexpensive ways to reduce costs, one thing that should not be done on the cheap is finishing the walls and ceilings with drywall. Instead, choose veneer plaster.

Veneer plaster competes with finished drywall in total project costs and it provides you with the comfort of knowing that craftsmen and craftswomen installed and finished the walls and ceilings in your business or home with a high-quality and durable product — and not with an inferior and easily damaged product that you could have installed yourself.

The OPCMIA encourages architects, designers, property owners, and contractors to stop relying on the empty rhetoric the drywall industry has used for the last 20 years. When you remove the rhetoric, veneer plaster is the superior choice.

Under ideal drying conditions, single-coat veneer plaster systems can be taped and finished in one day (just a quarter of the time needed for a similar drywall production), and the walls or ceiling can be painted or decorated a couple of days later. A comparable drywall job requires three days to apply three coats of joint compound over tape and a fourth day of sanding, which generates massive quantities of dust.

Appearances count, too. With drywall, the taped and finished joints can produce humps and nail pops. You can literally count the number of sheets of drywall underneath paint by counting the humps left behind from finishing the joints only. Drywall hump makes it difficult to achieve a finished look with trim such as crown molding, acoustic ceilings, and countertops. Veneer plaster, on the other hand, is uniformly applied to gypsum wall panels and dries to an incredibly hard, flat, and true monolithic surface that leaves no joints visible.

Veneer plaster systems offer greater decorating flexibility as well. Finishes ranging from mirror smooth to floated, swirled, or light textures can be achieved. While single-coat systems offer quick and easy finishing, two-coat systems enable the use of low-angled lighting or high-gloss paint for improved aesthetics.

Wall coverings also can be applied to plaster as easily as they can be applied to drywall. What’s more, plaster systems enable you to readily remove wall coverings in the future without damaging the wall surface. Paper covering drywall, however, is often damaged or partially removed when wall coverings are stripped from drywall.

If removing wall coverings from drywall can cause such damage, its overall durability comes into question. Even after drywall’s joint compounds dry, they can easily be dissolved by water. Drywall also easily dings, dents, tears, and punctures even after it is painted. In comparison, the hard, dense surface of a veneer plaster finish provides scuff, dent, crack, and abrasion resistance that drywall can never hope to have. When one takes into account all the callback costs required to repair drywall, veneer plaster systems provide a smart economical choice that can fit neatly into the budget of almost every serious renovator or contractor. Why not plaster?