Q: How does drywall compare to plaster for durability? – Jennifer, Kansas City, Missouri

A: Tom Silva replies: Plaster is harder and you'll get more echoing from it. Drywall is a softer finish. If you wanted to put a thumbtack into a wall, you could push the thumbtack into drywall, but you couldn't push it easily into plaster. And you will more than likely chip the plaster when you do it. As far as durability, it's really a matter of what you're looking for. Drywall can be repaired pretty easily with joint compound. Although it's a little more difficult to patch, plaster will be able to take a little more abuse. There are 200-year-old houses around that still have perfectly good plaster in them. Drywall hasn't been around as long, but a good drywall job should last quite a while too.
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