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 are employed by construction companies and by plastering, drywalling, and lathing contractors, or they may be self-employed.

Job Outlook

Average

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  • Estimate decline employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 0 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate High rate of unemployment in 2016

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

  • Estimate Decline slightly employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 3400 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate High rate of unemployment in 2016

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 not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. The number employed in this occupation is expected to decline moderately over the next few years, which will likely limit the number of new opportunities available. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Plasterers, Drywall Installers and Finishers, and Lathers most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common. With employment conditions being somewhat seasonal, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year affect some workers.

The median employment income for 32% 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

$15.50

Minimum

$24.00

Median

$33.14

Maximum

Annual Pay

$5,768

Minimum

$23,620

Median

$58,697

Maximum

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

Hourly Pay

$13.00

Minimum

$20.35

Median

$34.00

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 are employed by construction companies and by plastering, drywalling, and lathing contractors, or they may be self-employed.

Job duties

Plasterers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • 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 perform some or all of the following duties:

  • 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.
  • Fabricate and install suspended metal ceiling grids and place in panels to form acoustical and coffered ceilings.

Lathers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • 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

To work in this trade, 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

  • Completion of high school is usually required.
  • Completion of 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

410

employed in 2016

84.4%

employed full-time

25.6%

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

88.8%

employed full-time

12.7%

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?

47.7%

Halifax

16.2%

Annapolis Valley

15.3%

Northern

12.6%

Cape Breton

9.0%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

92.8%

Construction

2.4%

Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Leasing

2.4%

Professional Business Services

2.4%

Public Administration

What is the age of Employment?

31.4%

45-54

27.1%

55-64

24.3%

35-44

14.3%

25-34

2.9%

65+

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

34.1%

45-54

33.0%

35-44

18.7%

55-64

13.2%

25-34

Top levels of education

34.8%

Less than high school

N/A
30.4%

High school

$32,807 median annual income
21.7%

Trades certificate

N/A
12.0%

College certificate or diploma

N/A
2.2%

Doctorate

N/A

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

29.4%

Trades certificate

$40,890 median annual income
25.5%

High school

$28,089 median annual income
22.6%

College certificate or diploma

$39,023 median annual income
18.2%

Less than high school

$25,753 median annual income
2.7%

Bachelor's degree

$36,972 median annual income

Education & training

Adult high school/secondary diploma programs

This program is typically offered at the high school level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus

50 Elliott Road

Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0

(902) 825-3491

Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus

PO Box 550, 1 Main Street

Springhill, NS B0M 1X0

(902) 597-3737

Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus

21 Woodlawn Road

Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7

(902) 491-4900

Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus

372 Pleasant Street

Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2

(902) 742-3501

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

236 Belcher Street

Kentville, NS B4N 0A6

(902) 678-7341

Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus

75 High Street

Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8

(902) 543-4608

Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus

5685 Leeds Street

Halifax, NS B3K 2T3

(902) 491-6722

Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries

PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue

Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0

(902) 752-2002

Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus

PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road

Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0

(902) 875-8640

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

226 Reeves Street

Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2

(902) 625-2380

Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus

PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6J7

(902) 563-2450

Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus

36 Arthur Street

Truro, NS B2N 1X5

(902) 893-5385

Drywall installation/drywaller

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to install, tape, and plaster drywall installations in interior and exterior construction jobs. These programs 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

Department of Labour and Advanced Education 2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578

Halifax, NS B3J 2S9

(800) 494-5651

Carpenter Millwright Trades College (CMTC) Inc.

1000 Sackville Drive

Lower Sackville, NS B4E 0C2

(902) 252-3553

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, however, a certificate is not needed to legally work in this job.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
(902) 424-0717
Lather (Interior Systems Mechanic)

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

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
(902) 424-0717

Contacts

Construction Association of Nova Scotia
260 Brownlow Avenue, Unit 3
Dartmouth, NS B3B 1V9
Tel: (902) 468-2267
Fax: (902) 468-2470
BuildForce Canada
220 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 1150
Ottawa, ON K1P 5Z9
Tel: (613) 569-5552
Fax: (613) 569-1220
Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council
10 Ragged Lake Blvd. Unit 1
Halifax, NS B3S 1C2
Tel: (902) 832-4761
Fax: (902) 832-4763
Red Seal
c/o Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency PO Box 578
Halifax, B3J 2S9
Tel: (902) 424-5651
Fax: (902) 424-0717

Job postings

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