The wall of a home, second only to the roof, is crucial for protecting a dwelling. Early humans who lacked caves would cover frameworks with hides or stack rocks to fend off the elements. In some regions, a lime paste was mixed with sand to fill holes in rock walls. During long winters, people decorated their dwellings with pictures and storyboards on the walls to tell stories or depict animals. 

The Fire of London

Plastered walls became popular in Europe after the Great Fire of London in 1666 as a firebreak. Until the invention of Portland cement, Plaster of Paris was widely used for ornamental work.

Plastered Walls Became Standard

Reinforced with fibres like horsehair, plastered walls became standard for interior walls from the 1800s until after World War II. A plastering crew typically takes two weeks to finish an average two-story home, after which the wall must cure before painting. 


During World War II, gypsum board, or “sheetrock,” emerged as a quickly-built housing solution for factory workers and military personnel. After the war, gypsum board walls became standard, leading to a decline in the plasterer’s trade.

Decorative Features

However, plastering remained relevant for innovative features like crown mouldings, rounded archways, cornices, and ceilings, says Daniel Bates, from A modern twist on plastering, called veneer plaster, involves coating a special plasterer’s board with two 1/8″ layers of plaster. 

No Sanding

This treatment produces a wall with no marks, blemishes, or uneven textures, which is more durable and easier to paint than drywall. The process is also faster and cleaner than traditional plastering, as both layers can be completed in one day without sanding.

More Creative

However, plastering did not completely disappear and instead became more creative. Crown mouldings, rounded archways, cornices, and ceilings still require a plasterer’s touch. Additionally, a new practice called veneer plastering emerged, which involves using a gypsum board with a special coating that allows plaster to bond to it. 

Veneer Plastering Benefits

Veneer plastering offers a harder surface than gypsum board, resists dents and scrapes, and dries evenly, making it a desirable option for many people.

Advantages of Veneer Plastering Veneer plastering has two clear benefits over drywall – less dust and cost savings. The wet application of plaster and troweling produces a smooth surface with no need for sanding, resulting in minimal dust.

A one-coat veneer plastering system can save up to 75% of the time needed for a similar drywall finish. Drywall typically requires four finishing steps, including sanding, which creates a lot of dust.

Some plastering systems offer exceptional durability with compressive strengths of as much as 3,000 pounds per square inch, rivalling that of certain concrete mixtures. In contrast, drywall cannot match this strength.

Plaster systems also provide more decorating flexibility. Wall coverings can be applied to the plaster as easily as they can be applied to drywall, but plaster walls are easier to remove without causing damage.

Moreover, veneer plastering is cost-effective as it only costs about 25% more than drywall, adding only half a per cent to the overall cost of a construction project. Considering the long-term durability that veneer plastering provides, it offers excellent value for money.