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Can I Paint Straight Onto New Plaster?

by Alex I on Dec 06, 2022

Can I Paint Straight Onto New Plaster?

Once the plaster is done, painting it is the only barrier between you and your beautiful wall.

Painting onto new plaster is an exciting task for many people as it adds color to their homes.

The walls can either make or break the beauty of your home. That is why you have to follow the proper instructions. A little dribble of paint or a wrong choice of the product can ruin the look of your walls.

How Can I Paint Straight Onto New Plaster?

To paint straight onto new plaster, there are a few steps you need to follow:

1. Make Sure That the Plaster Is Completely Dry

Fresh and new plaster is porous and acts similar to a sponge. It soaks up all the moisture it comes across. The longer you leave it to dry, the easier it will be to paint onto the plaster.

An easy way to make sure there is no dampness on the plaster is to check its color. If you notice any dark patches on the wall, try to get them fixed immediately. The uniform light color of the plaster usually means that the plaster is completely dry.

Once the surface is ready, you can move on to the next step.

Why Can’t I Use Standard Emulsion to Paint Onto New Plaster?

If you paint standard emulsion onto new plaster, it will suck the water out of the emulsion. The paint will dry too quickly, and when you apply the second or third coat, you will find the original paint come off.

That happens because the first paint coat does not have any roots or keys in the plaster below.

2. Seal the New Plaster

Before painting onto the new plaster, you have to seal it first.

Sealing the plaster makes it harder to absorb too much moisture. It also improves the adherence to the topcoat, giving way for a professional finish.

How Can I Seal the New Plaster?

You cannot seal the new plaster with paint alone as it is too thick. For this purpose, you have to use mist coat paint as a primer.

The watered-down emulsion is called a ‘Mist coat’. The mixture quickly soaks into the walls because of the moisture. The plaster immediately becomes less absorbent and is sealed.

3. Make the Mist Coat

To prepare mist coat paint, all you need to do is add one part of water to three parts of paint. The water thins out the emulsion paint so you can apply it readily.

Stir the mixture until it appears even and consistent. Make sure there is no water sitting on top of the paint.

Use the mist coat in a similar color to your topcoat. For example, if you are using a white topcoat, it would be best to use a white mist coat. That will allow you to use fewer coats of topcoat.

What Does the Mist Coat Do?

When you apply a mist coat onto the new plaster, it sinks into the plaster. In the process, it properly bonds and adheres to the plaster below. That builds a good base coat for you to apply the paint on top.

Expert Tip

When buying an emulsion paint, read the label carefully. Make sure it allows you to mix the product with water for thinning it down.

4. Allow the Mist Coat to Dry

The mist coat takes somewhere around 1-2 days to dry completely. You can start applying the topcoat once the surface is dry.

5. Carefully Apply the Topcoats

When painting the topcoats, make sure that the first coat is thoroughly dry before applying the second one.

How Can I Avoid Uneven Brush Strokes?

What Is the Best Paint to Use on New Plaster?

When it comes to selecting the best paint to use on new plaster, there are several factors to be considered.

It is recommended to use acrylic paint products as they improve the strength of the plaster. They do so by forming a network underneath the surface of the plaster. That reduces the ability of plaster to absorb moisture and lessens the number of coats required.

Since the surface of the plaster is so smooth, it is hard for thick paint coatings to penetrate the surface. That prevents the formation of a bond and results in the paint flaking away after a short time. That is why thin paint is generally preferred, especially for the first coat. Thin paint penetrates the plaster and seals the surface. Once the surface is sealed, you can use thick paint products on top of it.

Expert Tip:

When painting onto new plaster, give each layer sufficient time to dry. You will be able to tell whether it is dry by observing the color of the surface. Starting from the first layer, the color appears dark when the plaster is wet and becomes lighter as it dries.


1. Why should I be careful when applying a mist coat?

One thing you should be aware of before starting is that watered-down emulsion is messy. Since mist coat paint is a lot thinner than the standard emulsion, it also drips down a lot.

You should keep a roller ready to immediately wipe the drips before they dry and ruin the finish.

2. Why should I prefer emulsion to bare plaster paint?

When painting straight onto new plaster, bare plaster paints give a stiff texture that damages the finish.

On the other hand, watered-down emulsion gives a better finish and makes the surface look smooth. That is why we recommend watering down the first coat of paint.

3. What should I do if the new plaster won’t dry?

Some patches on the new plaster may remain wet. You can either hire a plasterer to install a waterproof render or tile the damped area.

The most effective solution is to fix the damp area as soon as possible. Doing so makes sure that the seals don’t fall through in the future.

4. How can I avoid a mess when applying a mist coat?

It is tricky to apply the first mist coat since the mixture is thin and runny. To avoid a mess, use sheets to cover the floor and furniture. You can also use masking tape to protect other surfaces.

If there are any patches left of the plaster, use a smaller paintbrush to reach those areas.

5. How can I save time and paint when applying the topcoat?

The topcoat needs several coats to cover the empty patches of plaster. An alternative way to save time and paint is to use a stain block or a basecoat emulsion for these patches.


Painting onto a new plaster is tricky and requires a lot of precision. However, if done carefully and with the right products, the results can be just as good as when done professionally.