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  • Writer's pictureWalker Building Solutions

Tips for Painting a Newly Plastered Wall

So you just had your home re-plastered, the walls look great and you are ready to decorate but the big question is, when can I start painting it?

Painting new plaster is an essential step in the completion of most major home improvements as a skim coat of plaster can easily rectify imperfections and turn your room into a fresh and inviting new living space.

1. Ensure the wall is thoroughly dry

It is important that recently plastered walls are left to dry thoroughly before any painting begins. This time can vary depending on a number of factors. Firstly the type of plaster used and also the backing ie. Plasterboard or backing plaster. It is best to check this with your plasterer on completion.

Some plastered surfaces can be painted within a week but to be sure that your new plaster is safe to paint, we would recommend waiting for around 3-4 weeks. In some situations, a fully plastered wall ie. two or three coats of plaster can take months to dry out fully. You should ensure there are no dark patches on your freshly plastered surface before you paint it. A uniform light colour is what you are looking for.

2. Let the Plaster Dry Naturally

Whilst central heating and de-humidifiers can speed up the drying process, you should be cautious using these methods. They rapidly remove moisture from the room which can lead to cracks and imperfections.

The best way to avoid this is to make sure that the room is well ventilated. Opening windows and doors to let natural ventilation flow through the room will dry your room gently. This helps to avoid the risks associated with rapidly drying plaster.

3. Apply a Mist Coat

Fresh plaster is extremely porous, and moisture will be quickly absorbed into the wall. For this reason it is important to seal the plaster using a watered down emulsion for your first coat (known as mist coat). Applying a mist coat is beneficial, as a normal emulsion will not bond properly with the surface, but a diluted coat will. If your paint dries too quickly, you are likely to find that it starts to peel and will not last as long.

Watered down emulsion can be messy because it drips. Be careful to wipe, roller or brush out drips immediately to avoid a bad finish. The paint will dry quickly because of the plasters absorbency. The recommended ratio should roughly be 4 parts water to 6 parts emulsion and you should ensure that it is a non vinyl emulsion.

There are paints available on the market that are designed to be applied directly to new plaster. They are more costly to purchase and can be harder to get a good finish with them but if you are short on time these can be useful.

4. Allow the Mist Coat to Dry

A mist coat will take approximately 24 hours to dry. Once dry you can apply top coats.

5. Applying the Top Coat

We would advise using a mist coat in a light colour or a colour similar to your top coat as these will be easier to cover. It is likely that you will need a couple of coats to obtain a perfect finish.

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