Blue board and Plastering vs Sheetrock and Joint Compound


Many homes throughout the Northeast, typically built before the 1950s, have walls that are constructed of horsehair plaster. Once, this was a cheap, easy and long-lasting way to obtain smooth walls in the USA. However, if you fast-forward to the present time, it’s clear to see that the trade has since perfected the techniques and materials used to construct and plaster walls. Today, we can choose between blue board and plaster or drywall and joint compound.


Deciding between the two options can be complex. The two main materials – drywall and blue board, are very similar in terms of appearance and texture. It seems that the only true difference may be the basics of the product. Drywall is gray, and blue board is blue. However, there is much more to these materials then may originally meet the eye. Below, I will discuss the properties of both options, to help you make a more informed decision.


The Basics of Blue Board


Typically, blue board will be treated to ensure that plaster sets and dries in a uniform manner. The face of the blue board needs to be completely plastered in order to provide a suitable surface for painting. Plaster itself is a durable material that is fantastic for areas that experience a large amount of traffic. Furthermore, as a substance, it is effective at eliminating irregularities in the surface of a wall, such as nail dimples, and board seams.


The Basics of Drywall (Sheetrock)


Similarly to blue board, drywall is also carefully treated to ensure that joint compound adheres well to the surface. However, the entire board does not need to be covered to provide an adequate surface texture. Drywall that has been mixed with joint compound can be carefully sanded without causing a great deal of damage to the board itself, after which the surface can be painted. When it comes to using joint compound, you may need to utilize several coats, and seams or nail dimples can begin to show after a certain period of time. One of the major downfalls of joint compound is that, unlike plaster, it creates a large amount of dust.


What’s right for you?


In the end, most people regard blue board and plaster to be the superior product for home renovation and design, however it is more costly to obtain. The best thing that you can do is approach your next project with the appropriate research and caution. Weigh both options accordingly, and take the time to decide which method is right for your home.


For any questions or if you are looking to improve your home, please give us a call at (617) 480-6836 or email us at



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