How Long Before Painting New Plaster Should You Wait?

How Long Before Painting New Plaster

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If you’re planning to refresh your space with a new coat of paint, it’s essential to know when the plaster is ready for that final touch. Understanding how long it takes for new plaster to dry before painting is crucial to ensure lasting results and avoid any complications, such as peeling or cracking.

This blog will guide you through the drying process of new plaster walls, highlighting factors affecting drying times and sharing valuable tips for effectively painting freshly plastered surfaces.

Key Takeaways 💭How Long Before Painting New Plaster

  • Different factors like temperature, humidity levels, and ventilation affect the drying time of new plaster before painting.
  • It is important to wait at least a week for new plaster to fully dry and cure before applying paint to prevent peeling, cracking, or poor adhesion issues.
  • Visual cues like color change and finger tests can help determine if the new plaster is dry enough for painting while using moisture meters can provide more accurate results.
  • Properly preparing the surface by sanding down bumps or ridges, wiping off dust with a damp cloth, and adding a mist coat before topcoats along with allowing each layer sufficient time to dry ensures professional-looking results.
How Long Before Painting New Plaster

Understanding The Drying Process For New Plaster

There are a few factors that affect the drying time of new plaster, including the surface temperature, humidity levels, and ventilation in the room. Different types of plaster also have varying drying times, with skimmed plaster typically taking less time to dry than heavier textured finishes.

Within the first few hours after application, you may notice some shrinkage as water evaporates from the surface. Over the first 24 hours, more moisture will escape through absorption into surrounding materials like wallpaper or tiles.

Factors That Affect Drying Time

Several factors can significantly impact the drying time of new plaster walls, and it’s essential to be aware of these when planning your painting project. One key factor is the humidity level in the room where the plaster has been applied.

High humidity slows down the drying process, as moisture from the air gets trapped within the plaster.

Another important aspect is temperature – ideally, you want to aim for a consistent room temperature between 60°F and 70°F (15°C and 21°C) to ensure optimal drying conditions.

Too hot or too cold temperatures can cause uneven drying or cracking in your new plaster.

Lastly, don’t forget about thickness: different types of plasters have varying recommended thicknesses and curing times depending on their specific formulation.

Different Types Of Plaster And Their Drying Times

As mentioned earlier, there are many different types of plaster, and each one has its own unique drying time. For example, gypsum plaster typically takes longer to dry compared to lime plaster due to its higher moisture content.

Another important factor to consider is the thickness of the plaster. Thin coats of skimmed plaster may only take a few hours to dry fully, while thick coats or multiple layers can take days or even up to a week.

The First Few Hours

After a plasterer has applied the fresh plaster, it’s natural to want to know how soon you can start painting. The first few hours following application are crucial in determining how well your newly plastered walls and ceilings will dry.

During this stage, the surface absorbs moisture from the air at an alarming rate, so you should avoid touching or tampering with any wet areas as much as possible. Resist the urge to press on freshly coated surfaces; you could end up leaving unsightly marks that would take some time to repair.

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The First 24 Hours

During the first 24 hours after applying plaster, it is crucial to let it dry out gradually. This stage is when most of the moisture from the plaster evaporates and starts to set.

If you rush this process, cracks or shrinkage may occur, which can be challenging to repair later on. It’s best not to touch or disturb your freshly applied plaster during this time as any movement can lead to damage.

I remember when my friend painted new plaster too soon before it was fully dried – she had a terrible time with peeling paint and flaky walls! After 24 hours have passed, you can perform a finger test on different parts of the wall surface (without leaving fingerprints) to check for residual dampness – if there’s any moist residue left on your fingers, then it isn’t ready yet.

The First Week

During the first week after applying new plaster, it is crucial to allow enough time for it to properly dry. It is normal for some moisture to escape from new plaster during this time as part of the curing process, and it’s important not to rush this stage.

While you may be eager to start painting your newly plastered wall during the first week, it’s crucial that you resist the temptation. Applying paint before the plaster has fully dried can result in a range of problems such as flaking or peeling paint and poor adhesion.

It’s essential instead that you wait until the surface feels completely dry to touch before priming and painting over it.

Fully Cured

When the plaster is fully cured, it means that it has reached its maximum hardness and strength. This process usually takes about a month or so. During this time, the plaster may still feel slightly cool to the touch due to evaporative cooling.

It’s important to wait until your plaster is fully cured before painting it as paint will not adhere properly if the plaster hasn’t fully dried out. Rushing into painting too soon can cause peeling, flaking, and other issues down the line.

How Long Should You Wait Before Painting New Plaster?

After the plaster has been applied, it is important to wait for it to dry properly before painting. In this section, we’ll dive deeper into how long you should wait and different ways to determine if the plaster is ready.

Visual Cues

To determine if your new plaster is dry enough to paint, you can use visual cues. Check if the plaster has changed from dark to light color – this indicates that it’s drying.

You can also look for any cracks or gaps in the surface of the plaster, which means it’s still wet and hasn’t fully cured yet.

These visual cues can vary depending on humidity levels and ventilation, so it’s important to check a few times before applying paint. Remember that different types of plaster may also have varying drying times.

The Finger Test

One way to assess whether or not new plaster is dry enough for painting is to do the “finger test.” To perform this, press your finger gently onto the surface of the plaster and then remove it.

If there’s no visible mark left behind and it feels cool to the touch, then it’s usually a good indicator that it’s dry enough for paint application. On the other hand, if there’s any discoloration or your finger comes away wet or sticky, then you’ll need to wait a bit longer before proceeding with painting.

Moisture Meters

I highly recommend investing in a moisture meter to accurately determine if the new plaster is dry enough to paint.

Using a moisture meter can also prevent costly mistakes from improper timing. For instance, starting painting too soon could cause blistering or peeling, while waiting too long could result in reduced adhesion between the paint and plaster surface.

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Tips For Painting New Plaster

Some key tips for painting new plaster walls include checking for dryness, properly preparing the surface, applying a mist coat before the top coat, and waiting for the mist coat to dry completely.

Checking For Dryness

To determine if the new plaster is dry enough for painting, there are a few methods to try. The simplest way is to visually inspect the surface of the plaster.

However, sometimes visual inspection isn’t enough, especially if you’re pressed for time. At this point, using your finger might come in handy. Press your fingertip against a small area on the wall’s surface and see whether it feels cool and damp or dry to the touch.

Ideally, when touched with your fingertip, nothing should stick to it; it will feel cool but not sticky.

Preparing The Surface

When painting new plaster, it’s crucial to prepare the surface with prep work properly to ensure a smooth and even finish. First, use a sanding block or paper to remove any bumps or ridges on the surface of the plaster.

Next, wipe down the wall with a damp cloth to remove any dust or residue left from sanding.

Lastly, apply a coat of primer before painting. Primer helps seal the pores in the plaster and provides an ideal base for your paint to adhere to. I like to use white paint as an undercoat.

Properly preparing your new plaster will pay off in terms of achieving professional-looking results that last longer without peeling or cracking over time.

Applying A Mist Coat

When it comes to painting new plaster the first coat, one technique that can make a real difference is applying a mist coat. A mist coat is essentially a watered-down version of your paint that you apply to the fresh plaster before adding one or more topcoats.

To create a mist coat, simply mix together some emulsion paint with water at a ratio of roughly 50/50. You don’t want it too watery, but equally, you don’t want it too thick – aim for something around the consistency of cream.

After applying your mist coat, give it plenty of time to dry completely before moving on to adding any further coats of paint.

Waiting For The Mist Coat To Dry

After applying the mist coat, it’s important to give it enough time to dry before moving on to the top coat. Generally, you should wait for at least 24 hours or until the mist coat is completely dry.

You can test if it’s dry by touching it gently with your fingertip.

It’s also important not to rush this process as applying the next coat too soon can cause peeling and cracking in the future.

Applying The Top Coat

Once your mist coat has fully dried, it’s time to apply the top coats. Applying the top coat is essentially painting your plastered walls with the desired color and finish.

When applying the top coats, it’s important to start from one corner of the room and work your way across smoothly and evenly. Use long smooth strokes for best results and be sure not to overload your brush or roller as this can lead to uneven coverage or drips.

You should also allow each coat enough time to dry before applying a subsequent layer; check the drying times on your paint can label. It might be necessary to apply two coats.

By following these tips for painting new plaster along with other outlined steps in previous paragraphs, you’ll have beautiful-looking walls in no time!


Throughout my years in the business, I have encountered a lot of questions regarding painting new and freshly plastered surfaces.

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What is a mist coat and why should I apply it?

A mist coat is essentially an undercoat layer that helps to prepare the surface for painting.

Can I use any type of paint on fresh plaster?

No – newly applied plasters require special attention when preparing them for the painting project. You will need to let your plaster fully dry and cure before attempting to apply any kind of decorative finish over its surface, otherwise, you risk blistering or cracking occurring with time.

How do I know if my new plaster is dry enough for painting?

There are several methods that can be used such as using visual cues like looking out for dark patches in lighter walls to indicate wet areas; using finger tests – place your fingers onto the wall’s surface and lift off slowly: if no residue remains behind then it has dried enough; or simply utilizing moisture meters which senses how much water content remains within the material.

How To Speed Up The Drying Process For New Plaster

To speed up the drying process for new plaster, you can use a dehumidifier or increase ventilation in the room to reduce humidity levels.

Use A Dehumidifier

One way to speed up the drying process for new plaster is by using a dehumidifier. This device helps to reduce the moisture in the air, which ultimately helps to dry out the plaster faster.

I actually tried this trick myself when my bathroom was recently re-plastered, and it made a noticeable difference in how quickly the walls dried. However, it’s worth noting that dehumidifiers can be quite expensive, so you might want to consider renting one instead of buying if you’re only going to use it for this purpose.

Increase Ventilation

One way to speed up the drying process for new plaster is by increasing ventilation. Opening windows and doors, turning on fans, and using air conditioning units can all help improve airflow in the room.

I learned this trick when I had my own experience painting newly plastered walls. The contractor suggested that I open all windows and doors to let fresh air come in while they were finishing up their work.

It definitely helped because once they left, I noticed that it was less humid inside compared to before they started working on it.

Use A Heat Source

Adding heat to the room can quicken the drying process for new plaster. This is because heat speeds up evaporation, which decreases moisture content in the air and increases ventilation.

However, it’s important to remember that excessive heat can also cause cracking or uneven drying. If you plan on using a heater, make sure it’s far enough away from the walls and don’t set it too high – around 20°C should be sufficient.

Also, ensure that any open flames are kept well away from newly plastered walls as they can burn off essential moisture and cause scorch marks.

Overall, adding heat is an effective way of decreasing plaster drying times but it must be done with caution- avoid overdoing it so your efforts don’t go to waste!


In conclusion, how long it takes for new plaster to dry before painting depends on various factors. The type of plaster used, humidity levels, and ventilation all play a role in the drying process.

Visual cues such as discoloration and moisture meters can help determine if the plaster has dried enough for painting.

By following proper surface preparation techniques and waiting for adequate drying time, you can achieve smooth and flawlessly painted walls.

Overall, taking your time with new plaster is crucial for achieving durable coatings that will last for years without cracking or bubbling up.

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