What Does a Drywall, Finisher and Plasterer Do?

Drywall, Finisher and Plasterers (453A) apply finish, maintain and restore plaster or similar materials, on interior and exterior walls, ceilings, and building partitions to produce plain or decorative surfaces.

Job Related Skills, Interests and Values

  • learning about and applying safety legislation on the job, such as the Occupational Health & Safety Act, Environmental Protection Act, and the Construction Safety Act.
  • reading, interpreting and applying blueprints and specifications for job layout; checking other trades' blueprints for building services, and scheduling the job
  • establishing a work schedule with the other trades by consulting the appropriate people, including foremen, in order to enable all to do their jobs effectively
  • organizing and verifying materials; identifying, establishing and working from grid lines, using a transit, laser, tape, water level, dry line, ladder or scaffold
  • putting metal frames together that will hold the drywall panels using a variety of hand tools
  • carrying, lifting and installing large drywall panels into the metal framework
  • cutting openings for electrical outlets, ducts, pipes and windows
  • joining the panels together using tools to apply a mixture that binds pieces of drywall together, then taping over the mixture
  • scraping away excess compound, or sanding surfaces to give them a finished appearance, or applying textured surface on walls and ceilings
  • applying thermal and sound insulation or sound attenuation blankets, installing vapour barriers, sealing vapour barriers, installing baffles and arranging for inspection
  • keeping pace with work scheduling requirements
  • completing work documentation such as time sheets, work orders, in a clear accurate way to company standards
  • communicating with customers, co-workers, supervisors and sub-trades personnel

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

In order to obtain your Certificate of Apprenticeship, you should preferably have a secondary school diploma this is usually required by employers and unions today, but grade 10 is currently the legal minimum to be apprenticed in this trade under the Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades. Completion of a 5,400 hour apprenticeship will include a combination of on-the-job and in-school training, before successfully writing an examination to obtain your Certificate of Qualification.

Apprenticeship Subject Pathways provides additional information for students/parents/educators:


What’s Your Future as a Drywall, Finisher and Plasterer?

People who work in this field work indoors or outdoors (lathers), in buildings being constructed or renovated, usually on a full-time basis, including weekends or overtime to complete the job. They may work in teams alongside many of the other construction sector trades, including plumbers, electricians or carpenters. There is always the risk of falling and injury. Growth in this area is mainly related to residential housing starts, homeowner purchasing trends and commercial building projects in cities. Some Drywall Finishers and Plasterers may opt to enter related trades, sales, service or project management positions. Employment opportunities may be found with:

  • Construction contractors
  • Residential Builders
  • Self-Employment

Have a look at the website for the Greater Ontario Regional Council of Carpenters, Drywall and Allied workers at: http://www.thecarpentersunion.ca for additional information, and check out the construction sector website at: www.CareersInConstruction.ca..

Wage Rate

The wage rate in this field varies: on average, hourly rate ranges from $23.00 per hour to $34.00/hr for fully qualified trades people, depending on what geographic area they live in.


Ask Yourself: Is Working as a Drywall Finisher and Plasterer for You?

Do you have good hand-eye coordination, and enjoy working with different types of hand tools?

Yes     No

Do you have good reading, writing, mathematical, measuring and problem-solving skills?

Yes     No

Can you plan and organize tasks and manage your time effectively? 

Yes     No

Are you able to bend, stretch, kneel, stand for long periods, carry and lift up to 30 lbs in weight if required?

Yes     No

Are you interested in gaining knowledge of various safety and health regulations, and coordinating work with other trades people involved in the project?

Yes     No

Do you enjoy working in a hectic team environment, sometimes working overtime or weekends to get the job done just right?

Yes     No

If you answered Yes to most of these questions, working as a Drywall Finisher and Plasterer may be for You!

You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills, such as:

  • Construction Craftworker
  • Bricklayer
  • Carpenter
  • Electrician
  • Flooring Installer
  • Painter
  • Plasterer
  • Roofer
  • Project Management - Construction


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