Skim-coat plastering has replaced traditional plastering in the construction of most residential interior walls and ceilings. It's also making inroads among builders making the switch from tape-and-finish drywall. If you're unfamiliar with skim-coat plastering, also called veneer plastering, you're not alone. I work in southeastern Connecticut, where plastering is seldom seen in new construction. Yet just 20 miles east, in Rhode Island, skim-coat plaster is common. Skim-coat is a thin layer of plaster applied over a special gypsum panel called blueboard. The paper facing is chemically treated to provide a bonding surface for plaster, and the blue color distinguishes it from regular gypsum board. After the board is hung, the entire surface is covered with an even coat of plaster, which is smoothed and polished. This process is significantly less expensive than wire lath plastering, but at an average cost of $1.10 to $1.30 per square foot, it's somewhat more expensive than joint-compound taping.

In my opinion, skim-coat plaster resolves the shortcomings of drywall. Veneer plaster is monolithic, so there's no "tell" from the seams. Low-angle sunlight reveals all of the imperfections of drywall, but plaster has a smooth texture that looks good in any light. Besides, unless joint compound is skim-coated over the entire surface,...

or Register to read the full article.