Removing Paint From Plaster in 7 Simple Steps

November 26, 2020

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.


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If the old paint in your wall is already loose or peeling, you may be in luck. You can scrape it off carefully using a scraping tool or a putty knife, which will remove the loosened paint. You can deal with any small patches that haven’t come off with a careful application of sandpaper. 

Test a small area first to check that you can use this method.

However, if your paint isn’t loose or peeling already, you will need to get the paint off by using a chemical paint stripper. You can buy a paint stripper in your local home improvement shop. If you have any questions, speak to a professional painter who can explain the current state of your walls before they begin work. 

It’s really important to take care when using a paint stripper because of the strong chemicals involved. You don’t want to cause any damage to yourself or to your home! Read on for more information on how to remove paint from plaster and get your walls ready for a new lease of life!

Removing Paint From Plaster in 7 Simple Steps

Removing Paint From Plaster in 7 Simply Steps

1. Make sure you have the correct protective equipment. You will need special rubber gloves that are resistant to chemicals, as paint stripper can eat through normal gloves. A dust mask is also a good idea to keep you from inhaling any particles. Also, ensure you have some old clothes to do the work in so that you don’t ruin any of your good garments! 

2. Keep the room ventilated. Noxious fumes are produced by paint stripper and you don’t want to breathe this in as they can negatively affect your health. So, make sure you keep the windows open! 

3. Clear the roomGet all of your furniture and belongings out of the room – you don’t want anything to get damaged by the chemical paint stripper.

4. Protect your floor. You need two layers of protection. You want a waterproof layer (such as plastic) on the bottom and a more absorbent layer on top. There are floor protection products available that include both layers. You will find these in your local home improvement shop. 

5. Apply a thick coat of paint stripper with a wide brush. You don’t want the paint stripper to dry too quickly. The amount of time the paint stripper takes to work will depend on the product, so make sure you follow the instructions on the tin.


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6. Start scraping off the paint. When the paint starts to bubble, this is time for you to take your scraping tool and begin to remove the paint. When you are using the paint scraper, start at the bottom and slide under the paint to remove it. A toothbrush can help you with any awkward spots. You may need to repeat steps 5 and 6 if there is another layer of solid paint underneath. If you have a large area to strip, it is also worth doing small bits at a time, because if anything goes wrong, you don’t want to ruin the plaster on the entire wall. It could be very time-consuming or costly to fix all of the plaster.

Paint Scraper

7. Neutralise the walls. If you want to repaint the walls, it is essential to neutralise the walls so that the paint stripper does not affect any new paint. You can even damage the walls and structural integrity of the wall if you do not neutralise the paint stripper, so make sure you are very careful with this! Check the instructions on the paint stripping product that you have used to see which type of neutraliser you need to use. You may be able to simply wipe down the wall with a clean and wet sponge or you may need to purchase a special type of product. This will depend on the specific type of paint stripper that you have purchased. 

If this all sounds like a time-consuming work, it may be worth hiring a local professional to remove the old paint from your walls. This can often work out as the best option as it may be more affordable than you think! 

A word of warning – if your house was built prior to 1978, it is possible that there are some deeper layers of lead-based paint. In this case, you should hire a professional to remove the paint from the walls as it will be unsafe for you to do so yourself.

Looking for more information on the costs associated with painting and decorating? Check out our handy Interior Painting Price Guide to find out everything you need to know to plan your interior painting budget!

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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.

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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.


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