How Long After Skimming Can You Paint

How Long After Skimming Can You Paint?

When you finish skimming, it’s only natural for you to wonder how long you need to wait before you can begin painting.

After all, there’s nothing worse than your plasterer finishing your job, and you begin applying the paint, only to be left with a poor-quality finish. So, all your time and effort will go down the drain.

Not to worry!

I’ve painted thousands of newly skimmed rooms. And I’m here to tell you exactly how long you should wait after plastering before you can start decorating.

I’ll tell you how to test to see if your skimmed walls are dry, what happens if you don’t wait long enough to begin painting and how to prep newly plastered walls for painting.

Let’s get to it!

Man skimming a wall with plaster

How Long After Skimming Can You Paint Walls?

You can usually paint three days after skimming your walls. That’s because plaster typically takes at least three days to dry and cure.

The time you’ll have to wait after plastering before it’s okay to paint will depend on various factors – I’ll cover these later in this post.

But, before painting newly skimmed walls, you must wait enough time for it to dry. If you don’t, when you apply emulsion paints to your walls, the paint finish will be poor.

How Long After Skimming Can You Paint Ceiling?

Much like your walls, you should wait three days after skim plastering before you paint your ceilings.

Waiting at least three days after plastering ensures enough time for the plaster to dry and cure on your ceilings. If you apply the paint too soon, you’ll encounter several issues – I’ll cover these in more detail later.

So, if you are booking a painter and decorator to paint your walls, ensure you arrange for the painter to attend at least three days after the plasterers have finished working.

Man skimming a wall with plaster

How Long For Skimmed Plaster To Dry?

It will take approximately three days for skimmed plaster to dry. However, the drying process of your plaster will depend on the following:

  • Thickness of skimmed plaster layer
  • Humidity of room
  • Temperature of room
  • Type of plaster used

As there are many variables that will affect when the plaster dries, it’s best to check whether the plaster is dry yourself. Here’s how:

  • Colour of the plaster: dry plaster will have a uniform colour without any patches.
  • Touch: Fully dried and cured plaster will feel dry and lukewarm to the touch. If your newly plastered wall feels dry but cold, it’s probably still drying.
  • Colour change: As your skimmed walls dry, the colour will change slightly, becoming lighter compared to the colour of the plaster as soon as you finish plastering.
Painting over newly plastered walls

What Happens If You Paint Plaster Too Soon?

If you paint plaster too soon, you’ll encounter several issues with your newly painted walls.

For starters, when you apply the paint to the plastered walls, the paint won’t properly adhere to the surface because the plaster isn’t fully dry. When paint doesn’t properly adhere to the surface, it won’t fully cure, and it will begin to peel and crack.

Another issue you will come across when painting new plaster without allowing it to dry is an uneven finish and colour. That’s because when you don’t let the plaster dry, it can bleed through to the paint, causing an uneven finish. Also, wet plaster causes paint to dry unevenly.

Finally, if you paint new plaster without giving it enough time to dry, it can result in trapped moisture between the layers of paint and plaster. And trapped moisture can cause mould to grow on your walls over time.

When Do You Need To Seal Plaster?

You need to seal your newly plastered surfaces before painting. Applying a sealer is one of the preparation tasks you must complete to ensure your surface is ready for painting.

Painting newly skimmed walls without applying a sealer will result in a low-quality finish and durability issues.

When it comes to how to seal your newly plastered walls, there’s a little controversy. Some ‘tradespeople’ and ill-informed bloggers would have you believe you can apply PVA glue to your wall as a primer. It’s not true!

There are two ways you can effectively seal your plastered walls.

The first option to seal your walls is to apply a primer (such as the Dulux primer and undercoat) to your plaster walls and ceiling. You can apply the primer with either a brush or a roller.

Alternatively, you can mist-coat your interior walls with a matt white emulsion. Emulsion paint is a water-based paint that you can use to paint various surfaces, including walls, ceilings, and woodwork.

You want to thin the paint by about 10% before you apply the mist coat to the walls. By thinning the paint with water, the first coat of paint will fully absorb into the skimmed walls, resulting in a better quality finish when it comes to painting. Again, you can apply the mist coat with a paintbrush or a roller.

When you finish sealing the plaster, your walls are primed and ready to be painted.