Plaster Application Cost

In this guide

New installation vs. resurfacing
Types
Labor
Cleaning
Enhancements
Additional Considerations

How much does it cost to apply plaster?

Plaster is one of the most common forms of home interior finishing and decor, often used to create a smooth, plain surface for walls, windows, and doors surrounds.

The quotes for plastering are normally based on the area to be covered, other words, the cost per square foot increases with height of the wall and how difficult it is to access. Difficult to reach areas cost a lot more; as much as 50% above the normal rates.

Before you can start plastering, the surface where the plaster will be applied needs to be prepped, which is an additional amount. The cost of plastering prep work can vary due to the condition the surface being plastered is in. Prep work includes sanding textured surfaces, moving furniture in rooms, filling holes in wall, masking crown molding and switches and/or sockets with tape, and the application of drywall mud and primer. The cost of plastering prep work ranges from $1-$3 per sq.ft. and normally increases project costs by 10% to 30%.

New installation vs. resurfacing

Installing new plaster 1 is significantly cheaper than doing resurfacing due to the extra preparation and restoration work needed before doing the new plaster 1 overlay. New plaster 1 costs around $800 for a 100 sq. foot surface, while a re-surface of the same size will cost $1,200 or more. Any plastering project involves some basic conventional sub tasks such as:

  • Preparing the surface to be plastered
  • Removing deleterious materials like dust and mold
  • Screeding the surface for bonding
  • Preparing mortar 2 to be used
  • The plastering itself

However, for resurfacing, extra tasks are involved and they range from removing old plaster 1, which costs $2-$3 per sq.ft., to repairing cracks and holes, and tearing down and restructuring whole wall parts. The cost of resurfacing depends on the extent of the prep work and is usually above $10 per sq.ft. while new plastering averages around $2-$10 per sq.ft.

Below is a table summarizing the pros, cons and costs associated with both resurfacing and the application of new plaster 1:

Type of plasterProsConsCost
New plaster 1

Has a more even finish

It does not add extra weight to the structure

More durable

New plastering takes more time to accomplish$2-$10 per sq ft.
Resurfacing

Saves cost for old plaster 1 removal

Time saving

Not as durable as a new plaster 1

Adds extra loads to walls and other surfaces

$10 per sq ft. and above

Types

Plastering costs vary depending on the materials used. Drywall 3 comes mostly in gypsum, pre-built panels that are used to line the walls of homes and costs an average $2-$5 per sq.ft. On the other hand, wet plaster 1 mostly consists of lime and cement mixed with water and sand to a standard consistency and costs on average $5-$10 per sq.ft.

Plaster 1 of Paris (calcined gypsum), when mixed with water can be used to stylize and mold shapes to decorate homes in many styles. POP costs start around $3 per sq.ft. and up depending on the decoration.

The table below summarizes the pros, cons, and prices of different plaster 1 materials:

MaterialProsConsPrices
Gypsum

Easy to install

No extra finish needed

Good thermal insulation

Deters spread of fire

Has a high decorative value

Less robust mechanically

Not resistant to water damage

Prone to rust from steel corrosion

$2-$5 per sq.ft.
Lime

Allows moisture to pass through

Flexible

Walls don't crack

Lighter than cement

Not suitable for exterior plasters 1

Can't be used in moist areas

High expertise required

Around $5-$6 per sq.ft.
Cement

High rate of strength development

Easy to work with


Has internal stresses that cause crack development

Difficult to spread on lath or walls

Around $4-$5 per sq.ft.

Labor

Applying plaster 1 is done by professional plasterers and is not a job that can be undertaken DIY. A plasterer 1 will begin by taping all the joints in the drywall 3, then giving them a skim coat of plaster 1 to create a flush surface to work from.

Plaster 1 dries quickly, so a plasterer will work fast to trowel the plaster 1 onto the walls in smooth, even strokes. A wall will cure within 1 hour, so during this time, the plaster 1 will be applied, cut into the edges, and smoothed out to a flat, even finish with no blemishes. Most plasterers charge by the square foot, at a rate of between $2 and $10 a sq. ft.

Cleaning

Necessary precautions need to be taken when clearing the waste from plaster 1 or lath that has been removed. Homeowners can do this on their own to cut project costs, but professionals are recommended, particularly when toxic compounds like asbestos 4 aggregates are present in the plaster 1 or if the plaster 1 has been coated with lead paint. Professional services for cleaning can cost an average 3-5% of total project cost.

To avoid the spread of dust to other rooms, sheeting with plastic boards should be used to cover openings, while any debris should be sprayed with water to prevent dust from rising.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Finishes

Extra costs for plastering may come from finish work. Plastered surfaces can be finished in various textures and styles, such as dash, lace, two-tone, and fine sand. Finishing costs range between $1 and $3 per square foot.

Paint

You may want to paint your plastered walls or casing once they are dry. Painters charge around $20-$35 per hour and one painter can take 1-2 hours to paint a 100 sq.ft. wall at a total cost of $20-$70.

Additional considerations and costs

Location

The location of the area you are having plastered may affect its cost. Interior walls are usually less expensive than external areas, as workers don’t have to struggle with issues like unpredictable weather. Outdoor plastering can cost around 5 to 8% more than indoor plastering for this reason.

High walls

Plastering high walls involves extra labor, including the installation of scaffolding 5, while the rate of work is slower, which can result in a quote or cost higher than work on low level surfaces. The cost of plastering areas requiring scaffolding 5 can be up to 20% higher than for lower areas.

Removing old plaster

Additional costs for removing old and unwanted plaster 1 is normally included in the project. However, if it is not, the cost averages $2-$3 per sq.ft.

Unfinished rooms

When plastering unfinished rooms, the final surface needs to be finished. An extra 10% labor cost should be added for the extra time in unfinished rooms.

Rooms currently in use

When plastering a room already in use, extra costs can be also expected, especially if the room is filled with furniture or other objects that the plasterer needs to move around. However, the owner can reduce this cost by moving objects himself/herself, or pay an additional 2%-5% in labor costs for it.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Plaster: A paste composed of sand, water, and either lime, gypsum, or cement, which forms a smooth hard surface on walls, ceilings, and other structures upon drying
2 Mortar: A mixture of Portland cement or lime or a combination of both, sand, and water used to bind bricks, stones, and concrete masonry units together
3 Drywall: Type of plasterboard, commonly used to build walls and ceilings, composed of gypsum that is layered between sheets of heavy paper
4 Asbestos: A group of fire-resistant silicate minerals found in construction materials including paint, particularly in older homes. When the asbestos deteriorates, particles can become airborne and this is a serious health hazard.
5 Scaffolding: A temporary structure used during construction/maintenance/painting projects to raise and support workers (or one worker), required materials, and equipment

Cost to apply plaster varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Athens, GA
-9%
Birmingham, AL
+6%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Coachella, CA
-6%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
De Pere, WI
+2%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Gary, IN
+11%
Irvington, NJ
+27%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Lynn, MA
+19%
Meridian, MS
-36%
New York, NY
+77%
Portland, OR
+11%
Pottstown, PA
+8%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
San Juan, PR
-53%
Shamokin, PA
-16%
Sheffield, AL
-27%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Stoughton, MA
+38%
Taos, NM
-45%
Warren, OH
-23%
West Palm Beach, FL
-2%
Whitney, TX
-2%
Windber, PA
-33%
Worcester, MA
+11%

Labor cost in your zip code

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Methodology and sources