Plasterers, Drywall Installers and Finishers, and Lathers

(NOC 7284)

in All Trades and Transportation

Plasterers apply finish, and maintain and restore plaster or similar materials, on interior and exterior walls, ceilings and building partitions to produce plain or decorative surfaces. Drywall installers and finishers install and finish drywall sheets and various types of ceiling systems. Lathers install support framework for ceiling systems, interior and exterior walls and building partitions. They work for construction companies and by plastering, drywalling, and lathing contractors, or they may be self-employed.

Job Outlook

Average

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  • Estimate Weak growth employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 40 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate High rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

  • Estimate 205 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 4385 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow slightly over the next few years, which should provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a moderate percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Plasterers, Drywall Installers and Finishers and Lathers most commonly work full-time hours. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 30% of Plasterers, Drywall Installers and Finishers and Lathers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $41,338. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$20.00

Minimum

$29.15

Median

$35.45

Maximum

Annual Pay

$5,768

Minimum

$23,620

Median

$58,697

Maximum

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

Hourly Pay

$13.50

Minimum

$27.25

Median

$35.50

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,580

Minimum

$37,269

Median

$79,787

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Plasterers apply finish, and maintain and restore plaster or similar materials, on interior and exterior walls, ceilings and building partitions to produce plain or decorative surfaces. Drywall installers and finishers install and finish drywall sheets and various types of ceiling systems. Lathers install support framework for ceiling systems, interior and exterior walls and building partitions. They work for construction companies and by plastering, drywalling, and lathing contractors, or they may be self-employed.

Job duties

Plasterers:

  • Clean and prepare surfaces.
  • Mix plaster ingredients in trough to desired consistency.
  • Apply, level and smooth coats of plaster using trowels, floats, brushes, and spraying equipment.
  • Trowel or spray coats of stucco over exteriors of buildings to form weatherproof surfaces.
  • Finish corners and angles and create decorative designs in finish coat, if required.
  • Cure freshly plastered surfaces.
  • Mould and install ornamental plaster panels, cornices, and trim.
  • Spray acoustic materials or texture finish over walls and ceilings.

Drywall installers and finishers:

  • Measure, cut and fit drywall sheets for installation on walls and ceilings.
  • Position and secure sheets to metal or wooden studs or joists.
  • Cut and install metal corner beads to protect exterior corners.
  • Fill joints, nail indentations, holes and cracks with joint compound using trowel and broad knife.
  • Tape over joints using taping machine and embed tape in compound.
  • Smooth out excess compound and allow coat to dry.
  • Apply successive coats of compound and sand seams and joints.
  • Build and install suspended metal ceiling grids and place in panels to form acoustical and coffered ceilings.

Lathers:

  • Prepare wall and ceiling layouts.
  • Install metal stud framing and furring for interior drywall or plaster walls and ceilings, using hand and power tools.
  • Attach metal or gypsum lath to studs or furring using nails, screws, clips, or wire ties.
  • Cut openings in lath for heating and ventilation piping, ducts, and electrical outlets.
  • Install corner beads and wire mesh around beams to which plaster is to be applied.
  • May install acoustic tile, hangers for suspended ceilings and metal studs for composition wallboard or lath.

Sample job titles

  • acoustic tile and drywall installer
  • drywall finisher and plasterer
  • drywall hanger
  • gyproc applicator
  • lather (interior systems mechanic)
  • plasterer-decorator
  • sheetrock applicator
  • wall and ceiling installer

Skills

You should be in good physical condition and comfortable working at varying heights. Basic mathematical skills are needed to make accurate measurements. You must be able to follow instructions and work well with others. The ability to read blueprints is also an asset. Organizational and management skills would be helpful for promotion to supervisor.

Job requirements

  • High school is usually required.
  • A three- or four-year apprenticeship program in plastering, drywalling or lathing or a combination of over three years of work experience and some high school, college or industry courses in plastering, drywalling or lathing is usually required.
  • Trade certification for lathers (interior systems mechanics) is available, but voluntary, in Nova Scotia.
  • Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) is also available to qualified lathers (interior systems mechanic) and drywall finishers and plasterers upon successful completion of the interprovincial Red Seal examination.

Other considerations

Most jobs in the construction industry are affected by seasonal changes and general economic conditions, and furthermore many jobs are on a project basis. Consequently, workers in these jobs should be prepared for periods of unemployment. However, since plaster and drywall installers are less affected by weather conditions, they enjoy steadier work throughout the year than do other construction workers. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

555

employed in 2016

74.5%

employed full-time

25.5%

self employed

3.6%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
96.4%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
46.8

median age

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

57,925

employed in 2016

85.9%

employed full-time

11.8%

self employed

5.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
94.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
46.8

median age

Where will I likely work?

47.3%

Halifax

16.1%

Annapolis Valley

15.2%

North Shore

12.5%

Cape Breton

8.9%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

92.8%

Construction

2.4%

Real estate and rental and leasing

2.4%

Professional, scientific and technical services

2.4%

Public administration

What is the age of Employment?

26.0%

45-54

23.0%

55-64

23.0%

35-44

17.0%

25-34

7.0%

15-24

4.0%

65+

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

24.4%

45-54

22.1%

55-64

17.7%

35-44

17.7%

25-34

10.9%

15-24

Top levels of education

35.5%

Less than high school

$24,853 median annual income
27.3%

High school

$30,726 median annual income
23.6%

Apprenticeship

$16,527 median annual income
11.8%

College Diploma

$26,103 median annual income
1.8%

Diploma Below Bachelor

N/A

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

29.2%

Apprenticeship

$46,494 median annual income
25.5%

High school

$31,260 median annual income
22.3%

College Diploma

$42,050 median annual income
18.7%

Less than high school

$28,319 median annual income
2.8%

Bachelor

$30,527 median annual income

Education & training

Adult High School Siploma or Equivalent

High School Program

The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) administers, coordinates, and supports the development and delivery of adult education programs through learning partners in Nova Scotia. Our learning partners include the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations that offer tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED, empowering Nova Scotians to achieve their learning and employment goals.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Adult Learning

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Drywall Installation

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to apply technical knowledge and skills to install, tape, and plaster drywall installations in interior and exterior construction jobs. They include courses in drywall handling and transport, cutting and mounting, taping and spackling, finishing, job analysis and estimation, site safety, tool operation and maintenance, blueprint and specification interpretation, and applicable codes and standards.

Institutions providing this program

Apprenticeship Training

Halifax, NS

Carpenter Millwright College (CMC) Inc.

Lower Sackville, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Drywall Finisher and Plasterer

Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary): This job is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Employers may require certification, but a certificate is not needed to legally do this work.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
1256 Barrington Street, 3rd Fl, Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
Lather (Interior Systems Mechanic)

Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary): This job is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Employers may require certification, but a certificate is not needed to legally do this work.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
1256 Barrington Street, 3rd Fl, Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651

Contacts

Construction Association of Nova Scotia
Dartmouth, NS
BuildForce Canada
Ottawa, ON
Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council
Halifax, NS