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Plasterer: Ins and Outs of the Trade

Plasterer: Ins and Outs of the Trade

Renovation tradesPlasterer: Ins and Outs of the Trade

Are you looking for a new career in building and public works, but aren’t sure which trade to turn to? Plastering could be it! A plasterer is an individual who specializes in and performs ceiling and wall preparation work and installation.

The tradesperson is called to apply different types of coatings to interior and exterior surfaces. So, what training is required to perform this type of work? What are the various tasks and wages of a plasterer? Without further ado, discover the tricks of the trade and everything else about this line of work.  

Plastering Trade

plasterer_Plasterer: Ins and Outs of the Trade

Also known as stucco masons, plasterers are professionals whose skills are normally required on job sites subsequent to masons and carpenters. Their main objective is to lay limestone coatings like cement, stucco, plaster, mortar, metallic components, and other products on various wooden material surfaces using a trowel or a machine. 

They’re also called to lay plaster over drywall, fix metal mouldings, work with stucco or plaster mouldings, as well as install decorative elements. 

Normally, plasterers work solo or in teams, and can be employed by institutional or commercial construction companies, specialized plastering companies, or on residential construction or renovation job sites. Note that these tradespersons can also work as lathing or plastering contractors or be self-employed. 

Want to learn more about promising lines of work in the construction industry? Check out our article Future Jobs in Construction

Main Objectives of Plasterers

Plasterers are called to perform several duties and tasks during their stint. These tasks are subdivided into 3 groups as listed below:


  • Plan work;

  • Clean and prepare surfaces;

  • Mix ingredients in a tub to obtain a plaster that has the desired consistency;

  • Apply smooth coats of plaster using tools such as a concrete float, trowel, brush, or pulverizing machine;

  • Ensure angles and corners have a smooth finish and create decorative patterns in the finishing coats; 

  • Use a trowel or a pulverizer, apply several coats of roughcast to a building’s exterior walls to then form weather-resistant surfaces;

  • Mould and install cornices and mouldings, as well as decorative drywall panels;

  • Spray soundproofing materials on ceilings and walls.

Drywall installers and finishers

  • Measure and cut drywall panels to then mount walls and ceilings;

  • Install and secure panels to wooden beams, joists, or metal;

  • Cut and install metal wire mesh to protect interior corners;

  • Fill in gaps and cracks with fillers;

  • Smooth out any excess filler and allow to dry;

  • Sand joints after applying fillers to drywall surfaces or liquid coatings.


  • Prepare binding for walls and ceilings;

  • Install the metal framework and laths;

  • Secure the laths to beams using screws or nails;

  • Consider heating and ventilation duct openings and electric circuit openings;

  • Set wire meshes and edge protectors around beams and then coat the latter with plaster. 

Want to learn more about the other lines of work in the construction industry? Check out our articles dedicated to the renovation trade.

Becoming a Plasterer: Training & Requirements

plasterer_Plasterer: Ins and Outs of the Trade

Just like any other trade, in Canada, certain conditions apply in order to become a stucco mason: 

  • Hold a high school diploma or have a valid equivalent.

  • Provide the CCQ with a document attesting to your successful completion of a DVS training in plastering. 

  • Provide proof that you were employed by a CCQ-registered company for at least 150 hours, spread out over a period of 3 consecutive months.

  • Have completed 3 training programs of 2,000 hours each, so 6,000 in total, to qualify to take the provincial qualification exam, whereby if successfully completed leads to one obtaining a journeyperson competency certificate. 

Women are just as present in this line of work as men. As a matter of fact, within the construction industry, it’s the trade that currently accounts for the most women on worksites. In other words, steps can be taken to increase the number of women in fieldwork. For more details, check out the website. 

Required Skills & Knowledge

Being a plasterer requires a certain amount of skills and indispensable know-how to adequately perform the duties:

  • Have a creative mind;

  • Be precise and meticulous;

  • Be physically fit;

  • Have team spirit;

  • Be versatile and quick;

  • Have construction know-how;

  • Ability to read and understand blueprints;

  • Have applied mathematical knowledge;

  • Ability to work at great heights;

  • Good bodily coordination skills;

  • Be able to work under pressure and, at times, in unfavourable conditions.

Plasterer Salary

In Canada, on average, plasterers make $48,750 a year, so $25 an hour. Normally, beginner plasterers (apprentices) start off with a yearly salary of $43,290 and experienced workers (journeypersons) can earn up to $58,757 a year. Note that the above-mentioned wages may vary a little bit with experience depending on the chosen industry.

Want to update your résumé to better your chances of getting a job? Check out this article. (French only)

Job Opportunities

Overall, job opportunities for plasterers are directly linked to the construction industry’s economic health. As increasing amounts of construction projects are developed, the better the outlook is for future stucco masons. 

According to a study done by Job Bank in December 2021, close to 5,650 individuals are employed as plasterers in Quebec. And 94% of them are working in the construction industry. The same study predicts a balance between the number of plasterers in the labour force and their demand in Canada over the next 10 years. The significant growth in employment expected in the coming years will lead to new positions being created (projections are calling for nearly 4,700 new job opportunities).

On the other hand, the fact that a lot of plasterers are retiring will eventually lead to many new positions opening up. These various factors steer one to believe that this trade has a very positive outlook.

Few tools of the trade

Most of the duties performed by plasterers require the use of specific tools or equipment. 

  • Sealing joints: drywall bench, stepladder, backup heater, plasterer’s hatchet, trowel, tape applicator and joint compound, ladder, contact cement, and security equipment. 

  • Laying acrylic coatings: scaffolding, wheelbarrow, vaporizer machine, acrylic primer, stapler, and plumb bob (plummet).

  • Laying the foundation parging: boom lift, mortar bucket, hammer, shovel, Portland cement, metal trimmings, wall and floor scraper. 

  • To install plaster mouldings: lift platform, drill, drywall knife, finishing lime, masking tape, and electric screwdriver. 

  • To restore standard plaster finishes and aging ornaments: masonry brush, boom lift, drill, and paint roller.

  • Spraying exterior texture: Baker scaffold, plastic drum, concrete weld, masking tape, tray, broom, and paintbrush.

Why become a stucco mason?

Plastering is definitely a wise career choice for those seeking employment in this field. It has many benefits, not least of which is the fairly lucrative salary. It's a creative job that challenges you to reinvent yourself and excel on a daily basis. Furthermore, the high demand for plasterers on construction sites in Canada favours the employment prospects of this trade.

Find a job as a plasterer can guide you in your job search in the renovation industry. Tell us about your career prospects, and we'll help you get in touch with contractors who are likely to be interested in your skills, free of charge. Simply fill in our form (it'll only take a few minutes) and we'll take care of sending your candidate application to employers.

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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