Plasterers, drywall installers and finishers and lathers (NOC 7284)

About this job

Plasterers apply finish and maintain and restore plaster or similar materials on interior and exterior walls, ceilings and building partitions to produce plain or decorative surfaces. Drywall installers and finishers install and finish drywall sheets and various types of ceiling systems. Lathers install support framework for ceiling systems, interior and exterior walls and building partitions.

People in these occupations:

  • work for construction companies and plastering, drywalling and lathing contractors
  • may be self-employed
  • should be able to work both independently and in a team setting
  • should have good manual dexterity, good hand-eye coordination and a good eye for detail
  • should also be comfortable working at heights from ladders or scaffolding
  • should be able to lift heavy objects (up to 20 kilograms)
  • should have good math skills
Common job titles
  • applicator, drywall / gyproc / sheetrock
  • drywall applicator / finisher / hanger
  • installer, ceiling system / acoustic tile
  • lather - metal, stucco, wire, wood
  • mechanic, drywall and acoustic
  • plasterer, exterior / finish / fireproof

Duties

Plasterers, drywall installers and finishers and lathers are three closely related trades that build and finish walls in commercial and residential construction. These workers are involved in the application and finishing of such materials as fireproofing, thin wall, veneer plaster, rigid insulation and patent texturing materials.  

Plasterers:

  • Clean and prepare surfaces
  • Mix plaster ingredients in trough to desired consistency
  • Apply, level and smooth coats of plaster using trowels, floats, brushes and spraying equipment
  • Trowel or spray coats of stucco over exteriors of buildings to form weatherproof surfaces
  • Finish corners and angles and create decorative designs in finish coat, if required
  • Cure freshly plastered surfaces
  • Mould and install ornamental plaster panels, cornices and trim
  • Spray acoustic materials or texture finish over walls and ceilings.

Drywall installers and finishers:

  • Measure, cut and fit drywall sheets for installation on walls and ceilings
  • Position and secure sheets to metal or wooden studs or joists
  • Cut and install metal corner beads to protect exterior corners
  • Fill joints, nail indentations, holes and cracks with joint compound using trowel and broad knife
  • Tape over joints using taping machine and embed tape in compound
  • Smooth out excess compound and allow coat to dry
  • Apply successive coats of compound and sand seams and joints
  • Fabricate and install suspended metal ceiling grids and place in panels to form acoustical and coffered ceilings.

The work of these two groups varies. For example, finishers do not install board, they finish it.

Lathers:

  • Prepare wall and ceiling layouts
  • Install metal stud framing and furring for interior drywall or plaster walls and ceilings, using hand and power tools
  • Attach metal or gypsum lath to studs or furring using nails, screws, clips or wire ties
  • Cut openings in lath for heating and ventilation piping, ducts and electrical outlets
  • Install corner beads and wire mesh around beams to which plaster is to be applied
  • May install acoustic tile, hangers for suspended ceilings and metal studs for composition wallboard or lath.

Work environment

Plasterers, drywall installers and finishers and lathers typically work a standard 40-hour work week; however, some overtime may also be required to complete projects and meet deadlines.

Drywall installers and lathers usually work indoors, and may use ladders or scaffolding. Plasterers may work either indoors or outdoors, and may also work at heights using ladders or scaffolding. Plasterers, drywall installers and finishers may work in confined spaces and be exposed to dust and debris.

orkers take safety precautions when working on ladders or scaffolding to decrease risk of injury from falls. Workers are also required to lift heavy objects, which increases the risk of back injury.

Insights from industry

Due to the large size of this occupational group, there will be numerous opportunities for work in this profession.

Industry sources report that the recent economic downturn reduced the demand for these workers, although this is expected to change as the economy improves. Demand for workers in this occupational group will be driven primarily by construction activity and the need to replace workers who retire.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

With education and experience, workers may progress to supervisory positions or they may start their own businesses. They may also become construction estimators, project managers or contractors.

Additional resources