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What Plasterers and Stucco Masons Do

Plasterers and stucco masons apply coats of plaster or stucco to walls, ceilings, or partitions for functional and decorative purposes. Some workers apply ornamental plaster.


Plasterers and stucco masons typically do the following:

Plasterers apply coats of plaster to interior walls and ceilings to form fire-resistant and relatively soundproof surfaces. Using trowels, workers spread plaster on solid surfaces, such as concrete block, or supportive wire mesh called lath. They also may apply plaster over drywall to create smooth or textured scratch-resistant finishes. Using molds and a variety of troweling techniques, some plasterers make decorative and ornamental designs, which require special skills and creativity.

Plasterers may also install prefabricated exterior insulation systems over existing walls—for good insulation and interesting architectural effects—and cast ornamental designs in plaster.

Stucco masons usually apply stucco—a mixture of cement, lime, and sand—on building exteriors over wire lath, concrete, or masonry. Stucco masons also may apply other durable plasters, such as polymer-based acrylic finishes, to exterior surfaces. Stucco masons may also embed marble or gravel chips into the finish coat to achieve a pebble-like, decorative finish.

In addition, when required, stucco masons apply insulation to the exterior of new and old buildings. They cover the outer wall with rigid foam insulation board and reinforcing mesh, and then trowel on a base coat.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition