How to Treat Damp Walls Before Painting

November 26, 2020

Are you planning a painting project? Have your walls been showing signs of dampness? Then, you're in the right place! This guide covers the essentials steps on how to treat damp walls before painting for best results.

Paint is an inexpensive option for home improvements, making it a popular choice for anyone looking for an easy project. If you think it’s time for a change, you can make your mark on any room in your home with a fresh coat. 

You’ll need to be prepared for the project both in terms of the time and energy it takes. But don’t forget about getting your walls ready too! The surface needs to be prepared properly in order to see the best results. 

This is especially true if you are dealing with dampness in your walls. This is a common issue that can affect walls in nearly any room in your home, so it’s important to know what you’re dealing with before you pick up your painting supplies.

Want a custom evaluation of your walls? Click to submit a free request and hire a local painter decorator!


Why It’s Important to Treat Damp Walls First

Why Its Important to Treat Damp Walls First

Painting over walls that are damp can cause some major problems! Improperly prepared walls are actually a very common DIY mistake. Taking the time to deal with damp is essential and can reduce a lot of frustration. 

Painting over damp walls will develop bubbles and begin to peel shortly after the work is done, making an unsightly mess. Going over damp walls can also cause further damage as the underlying issues are not dealt with, and can even turn into mould. 

By treating the damp on your walls and fixing what’s causing it, you can apply a better coat of paint and enjoy your walls in the time ahead.  

Painter and Decorator Price Guide

Thousands of people ask Bidvine for help with their projects every year. We track the estimates they get from local professionals, then we share those prices with you.
Price Range

What Causes Dampness in Walls?

What causes dampness in walls

Dampness in walls can be caused by factors both inside and outside of your home. There are three main types that you may find you are dealing with: condensation, rising damp, or penetrating dampness. A professional may be needed to fully inspect your walls to determine the cause of your issue. 

Condensation is the most common type of damp on walls and can often lead to the appearance of mould. This typically happens in bathrooms and kitchens, but can also appear on exterior-facing walls where it tends to be colder. Dampness will be evident on the wall’s surface and it may be noticeable to the touch. 

Rising damp affects walls on the ground floor from water collecting around foundation walls. You may notice tide marks on your walls either inside or out from the rising damp. This can cause staining on your wall’s surface or show up as visible damp patches. 

Penetrating damp occurs when water build-up from the outside of your home saturates your wall and penetrates to the inside walls. Look for causes such as broken gutters or pipes that are the source of the water, or an issue with the plumbing. This kind of problem will show up as damp patches, watermarks or damage to your plaster. 

How to Treat Damp Walls Before Painting in 6 Steps

How to treat damp walls before painting

1. Determine The Cause

In order to properly treat the issue, you need to know the type of damp you are dealing with. A professional can properly diagnose it, but occasionally the cause is obvious. Blocked gutters, broken pipes or insufficient ventilation can all cause damp to appear on your walls. 

Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can move on to the next step and address the problem for good.

2. Treat The Cause

Fixing the problem is essential before any wall treatment is completed. Otherwise, the damage may worsen or return. The type of treatment required does vary based on the problem. Rising damp needs to be treated with a waterproofing course on the exterior to stop the damp from rising within your brick to affect the interior walls. 

Water causing dampness in walls

The buildup in gutters can be caused by sludge, leaves or even ice. When this occurs, rainwater can’t flow properly and can instead find its way into your home. Broken downspouts can cause damp as well. Cleaning and tending to your gutters is an easy way to stay on top of issues and should be a part of your regular routine moving forward. 

Depending on what’s causing condensation, you may need to do some additional work inside your home to install proper ventilation or insulation to eliminate the problem.

Painter and Decorators near you
Thousands of people across the U.K. ask Bidvine for help with their projects every year. Tell us what you need so we can bring you the right local professionals for your project.

3. Allow Your Walls to Dry Out

After treating the cause of the dampness, you will see the condition of your walls start to improve. Damp patches should begin to dry out. However, you may be left with bubbling, peeling or other unsightly damage. 

Before you tackle this issue, make sure that your walls are fully dry. This will be a good step to check on your fix to ensure it has fixed the cause of the problem.

4. Prep Your Interior Walls

Before you can apply paint, you’ll need to deal with any damage. Repair cracks and holes with a plaster patch, and make sure to sand it down until it is smooth.

Prep your interior walls

 Residue should be washed away and any peeling paint removed and scraped off. Make sure to allow time for your walls to dry out from this moisture too.


5. Apply Your Waterproofing if Desired

For added confidence, you may wish to add a waterproofing coat to your walls to help prevent dampness from seeping into your walls. This can be especially helpful for rooms like kitchens and bathrooms that are more likely to encounter water buildup. A primer designed for these spaces can add extra help with keeping the water out of your plaster. For the outside, some products provide a waterproof coating for exterior wall application to keep the water out.  

6. Paint!

After your waterproofing step has been completed and your walls are completely dry, you will be able to begin to paint. Having completed the earlier steps, you’ll be set up for success.

Painting interiors

Looking for more information on next steps for your painting project? Click here to read through our Painting and Decorating Price Guide for a comprehensive look at the factors which can influence the cost of your interior painting project.


Although dampness in your walls may be disheartening, it is a fixable problem thanks to these helpful steps! You may want to have a professional painter and decorator in to fully assess the extent of your issues to deal with the underlying cause. By taking the time to address the damp, you can paint your walls with confidence. Take heed of these key steps to treat your damp walls after the situation is fixed and you will be set to enjoy your home once again without fear of further issues.

 Featured Image Credit

Related Articles
Painting New Plaster - Everything You Need to Know
Painting new plaster is often a key step to transforming the walls and ceilings in your home. Creating smooth, freshly painted walls and ceilings is an easy and cost-effective way of giving your home a makeover. However, there is a lot of conflicting advice online on what the best methods and practices for painting new plaster are.

There are so many things that you need to consider before painting new plaster. Should you seal your fresh plaster with PVA? What type of paint should you use on new plaster? Should you treat skimmed plaster differently to a surface that has been fully plastered? In this article, we will answer all of those questions and more. We will take you through every aspect of plastering and painting so that you can confidently redecorate your home.

How Long Does It Take for the Plaster to Set?

The length of time it takes for the plaster to set will entirely depend on the type of plaster that you use. Below, we have a list of common types of plaster, what you can use them for, and how long you will have to wait for it to set. Once the plaster has set, you should still make sure that you wait for it to totally dry before attempting to paint it.

Setting Time
BrowningBasecoat for walls, brickwork, blockwork, breeze block, plasterboard 2 hours
BondingBasecoat for walls, brickwork, blockwork, breeze block2 hours
Multi-FinishTopcoat for browning and bonding1-1.5 hours
Board FinishTopcoat for plasterboard1-1.5 hours
One CoatSmall DIY jobs2-2.5 hours

How Long Should You Wait Before Painting New Plaster?

One of the most common questions that arise about plastering and painting is how long you have to wait before painting new plaster. Above all, recently plastered walls should be left to dry thoroughly before any painting begins. The time you should wait before painting new plaster depends on several factors. Firstly, have you used plasterboard, or backing plaster?

Plasterboard takes on average 2-3 days to dry when plastered, whereas backing plaster takes 4-6 days.

No matter what material you have used, it is advisable to wait at least a week before painting new plaster. Sometimes it may even take up to a month for the fresh plaster to be completely dry. You should ensure that there are no dark patches on your freshly plastered surface before you attempt to paint it. Uniform light colour is a key sign that your plaster has dried thoroughly. We have included images below of to show you what the drying process looks like so that you will know what to look out for. Even if your plaster is only showing a couple of small, dark patches, you should only start painting when they disappear.

But… Isn’t a Week a Long Time to Wait?

A week may seem like a long time to wait, and it’s understandable that you may get frustrated with the delay. But, if you want to achieve the perfect finish, the wait time will be worth it. The time fresh plaster takes to completely dry will differ in every case. Factors such as the time of year, central heating, and how many layers of plaster there are will affect the time that it takes.

You should make sure that the room that has been plastered is well ventilated. Opening windows and doors to let natural ventilation flow through the room will gently dry your new plaster. This will also help you to avoid the risks associated with rapidly drying new plaster, such as cracking.


Dry-Plaster-1 more
10 Inspiring Hallway Paint Ideas That Will Elevate Your Home

The first area anyone sees when they enter your home is the hallway, so it’s important to get your hallway paint colour right. It sets the tone for your decorating style! It also gives people an impression of your home as a whole. 

The right decisions can make your home seem welcoming, fresh, and trendy. A coat of paint is a cost-effective and simple way to update your look. Plus, a good hallway design complements the rest of your home. 

We’ve collected 10 of the most inspiring hallway paint ideas to help you get started with your transformation. So read on to find the idea that sounds great for your space!

Already have an idea in mind for your interior painting project? Get free painting costs from a top interior painter and start planning out your project today!


10 Inspiring Hallway Paint Ideas

10 Inspiring Hallway Paint Ideas

1. Make It Inviting

With the right paint colour, your hallway can be the perfect welcome to you after a long day. Indulge in a colour for all seasons so this space will be inviting throughout the year. A pale or buttery yellow can be just the thing to see when you walk in the door.

Yellow Hallway Paint

Pastel shades of yellow can also brighten any hallway, creating a more spacious look by allowing natural light to reflect easily off of the walls.


2. Bright and Bold

If you love a bold look then, you may want your hallway to reflect your warm and inviting personality. Choosing a bright shade of red, green, or blue is the perfect way to add a bright modern burst of colour to your hall.

Bold Paint Colours

Energetic and fun these colours will make anyone happy to come over for a visit. It also creates a fun statement an adds a bold stylish look to your home. more
Removing Paint From Plaster in 7 Simple Steps

Are you updating one or more of the rooms in your home? Is it time for a new coat of paint? It’s always exciting to pick a new colour for your room, but it’s vital to prep your walls before you start to paint so that everything looks superb! 

If your current paint is in good condition, and it is lighter than the colour you want to paint your walls, you might be lucky and be able to paint over the existing paint. Check the walls for chips, cracks, or bubbles to decide whether you do need to remove the paint from the plaster. 

More often than not, the existing paint will need stripping from the walls, either because it is in poor condition, or it is too dark to paint over. This blog post is the ultimate guide for removing the existing paint from the plaster on your walls. more

Why Bidvine is the best place to hire experts

Answer a few questions and we match you to the right pros.

Get custom bids from pros who match your needs.

Compare bids, send messages and hire the right pro for you.