Hanging Drywall Over Plaster

What You'll Need
1/4 inch drywall sheets
Drywall screws
Pry bar
Cordless drill
Drywall dimpler
Utility knife
Fiberglass mesh tape
Joint compound

Hanging drywall over cracked or damaged plaster can give your rooms a face lift. It is not always possible to repair plastered walls, especially in old homes. Repairs take much work and can destabilize the walls even further. A practical and economical solution to make old walls look as good as new is to hang drywall over plastered walls. Below is a guide that’ll help you get the job done well.

Step 1 – Prepare the Work Surface

Use a pry bar to remove all the window trim on the walls. Ease out the trim gently to prevent damage. Locate and remove electrical outlet covers from the wall as well as light fixtures from the ceiling. Place all the items safely aside.

Step 2 – Fixtures Allowance

Measure the placement for any window, door, electrical outlet or light fixtures. Cut the locations on the drywall before you hang it up. Where you’ll have to insert a drywall sheet around the top of the door, take measurements and cut out the sheet before you install.

Step 3 – Ceiling

It is best to begin at one corner of the ceiling and work across till you reach the other end. Fit the drywall dimpler onto the drill. Have 2 people lift a sheet of drywall and push it against the ceiling. As your 2 helpers hold the drywall in place, work on the screws. Place screws along the perimeter of the drywall at intervals of about 1 foot to screw the drywall in place. drive screws along the center line of the sheet as well. Once you’ve completed one section install more sheets in the same manner beneath the completed section. You can cut out a strip of drywall to conceal any section left uncovered by the large drywall sheets. Secure with screws.

Step 4 – Walls, Top Section

Begin from the top of the wall, at one corner, and install the first sheet of drywall horizontally. Ensure that you position the drywall flush with the ceiling. Use your drill to tack the drywall into the plaster. Drive in screws every foot and a half across the surface of the sheet. Install another sheet of drywall next to the first until you reach the wall end.

Step 5 – Walls, Bottom Section

Install a sheet of drywall in the lower section of the wall in the same manner as the top section. Leave a ½ inch space between the edge of the sheet and floor. In case the flooring is uneven, the gap will compensate for lack of uniformity. Once you complete installation of the drywall, you can conceal the gap with baseboard.

Step 6 - Finishing

Use a utility knife to cover all screws with joint compound. Fill the joints with compound as well. Apply fiberglass mesh tape onto the joints to create a neat appearance.


  • It is a good idea to have 2 people help you as you work. The large sheets can be awkward to handle and extra labor makes the job easier and faster.