Drywall finishers and plasterers surface, tape and finish wallboard (drywall). They apply, maintain and restore plaster and similar materials on interior and exterior walls, ceilings and building partitions to make them more decorative, soundproof and fire-rated. Drywall finishers and plasterers inspect and prepare the surface. They apply tape to fire rate and gas proof walls and prevent drafts. They install beads to protect corners, fill joints and imperfections, mix and apply compound, and sand to create a smooth surface. They texture concrete and prepared walls and ceilings. Drywall finishers and plasterers apply coats of plaster to foundation materials such as concrete and wire mesh. They install, repair and restore mouldings and ornaments.
Drywall finishers and plasterers work in the construction industry, largely in the institutional, commercial and residential sectors and less so in the industrial sector. They may be employed by plastering, drywalling and lathing contractors, or be self-employed.
Drywall finishers and plasterers use a wide variety of hand, power, and layout and measuring tools. They mix compounds and fast-setting materials using electrical mixers. They may apply tape using automatic taping tools or hand tools such as hawks, trowels and taping knives. Drywall finishers and plasterers texture walls and ceilings using power compressors. Measuring tools including lasers, chalk lines and levels are used to lay out the location of mouldings and ornaments on walls and ceilings. Access equipment such as scaffolding, ladders and scissor lifts are used for hard to reach areas.
Drywall finishers and plasterers may practice the full scope of the trade or specialize. Many work indoors on new construction sites while others work on older buildings doing repairs or renovations. They often work at heights, in noisy and dusty conditions, and alongside other trades.
Key attributes for people entering this trade include physical endurance, flexibility and strength as the work requires a lot of standing, bending and lifting. Manual dexterity and good eye-hand coordination are necessary as are good vision and spatial perception. The ability to estimate and calculate size and dimensions is important and an artistic aptitude is helpful in restorative work. Attention to detail, problem solving and job planning skills are also important attributes.
This analysis recognizes similarities or overlaps with the work of bricklayers, painters and decorators, lathers (interior systems mechanics), concrete finishers and carpenters.
Experienced drywall finishers and plasterers may advance to supervisory positions or other related areas such as construction management, instruction and inspection.
For more information, see Red Seal Trades – Drywall Finisher and Plasterer