Painting, decorating and home improvement tips blog

How to paint new plasterwork

Posted by Adrian
April 7th, 2012

Painting new plaster

When you have had either walls or ceilings plastered or skimmed over with plaster you need to know how to paint them correctly to get a long lasting finish.

Firstly ensure they are dry, this will depend on what plastering you have had done. One thing not to do, start painting colour samples on bare plaster, due to the brushes that come with the samples and how thick you apply the sample you will see this on your walls forever unless you rub them down, best to paint on some lining paper or plain white paper, you can then move it around the room and see the colour in different lights. There is a previous post about this Colour samples and testers.

To Paint new plasterwork

Firstly get some sandpaper, not too course, as you don’t want to ruin the new plaster, around 120 grit and lightly rub over the plaster to remove any splashed plaster or drips of dirty water. Then brush the area down to remove any loose dust.

Next, you may well think it’s simply a case of deciding on a colour and painting over the new plaster? STOP!
You should never paint new plaster with a vinyl emulsion as this will sit on top of the plaster leaving a skin or layer that could peel off. You should always paint new plaster with a ‘New Plaster Sealer’ or a non-vinyl emulsion.

I use a non-vinyl emulsion and is my preferred method. I use a matt emulsion, typically white to seal the plasterwork before using a vinyl emulsion colour over the top to complete the job. The ‘New Plaster Sealer’ or a non-vinyl emulsion will soak into the new plasterwork and the finish coats you apply will adhere to this first ‘mist’ coat.

You don’t have to worry about covering the plaster totally, you just need to give it a ‘mist’ coat (as it’s known) to seal the plaster, you’re not looking for complete coverage and opacity.

Once you have mist coated your new plaster you can now apply your choice of finish coat and colour.

Paint Calculator

You may find my paint calculator useful to help work out the quantity of paint you require to mist coat your new plaster and also for your final finish coat. One thing to note, new plaster can be absorbent so slightly more paint maybe required than normal to get a good depth of colour and a good finish.

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Posted in Decorating Tips | 11 Comments »

11 Responses to “How to paint new plasterwork”

  1. vicky Says:

    I have a newly plastered ceiling and was advised to pain it with pvu glue (watered down), is this a good tip/idea?

    Date posted : August 14th, 2014 at 10:02 pm
  2. Adrian Says:


    You can used a diluted mix of PVA and water but I always use a non-vinyl white emulsion, that way you are sealing the plaster and covering the plaster colour, ideal for white ceilings :)

    Date posted : August 15th, 2014 at 1:54 pm
  3. j spence Says:

    Very informative and useful information covering many decorating issues.
    Thanks for putting it all together and making it publically available.

    Date posted : November 4th, 2014 at 9:18 am
  4. Julie Says:

    I have had my kitchen ceiling and walls replastered. I painted the ceiling with a cheap white matt emulsion – I did not brush the ceiling or use a mist coat. I have painted the ceiling twice now and it looks patchy. What can I do to correct matters?

    Date posted : December 2nd, 2014 at 9:03 am
  5. Adrian Says:


    I normally mist coat with a non vinyl emulsion so it soaks into the plaster and seals it, I then apply a further 2-4 coats for a good coverage and finish.

    If you are using a cheap emulsion then the opacity will not be as good as more expensive or trade paints so will require more coats.

    The only way to correct matters is to 1. either apply more coats of the heap emulsion or 2. buy some better emulsion and apply a coat or two to get an even finish.

    Hope that helps.

    How to paint a ceiling
    How to paint new plaster

    Date posted : December 4th, 2014 at 11:38 am
  6. Caroline Says:

    I have some great Victorian tiles in the hallway which could do with freshening up. What would you recommend for cleaning them and then shining them up to maximise their colour?

    Date posted : December 16th, 2014 at 6:53 pm
  7. Adrian Says:


    You don’t say if these are wall or floor tiles but just a good wash with soap and water I’m guessing would be OK, then you could seal them with a sealer to keep them looking there best.

    Date posted : December 19th, 2014 at 3:07 pm
  8. Marilyn Says:

    I have sanded newly plastered walls and added mist coating. Now when I have painted top coat of the emulsion still parts have peeled off. How can I rectify this?

    Date posted : August 3rd, 2015 at 6:53 pm
  9. Adrian Says:


    It’s a job for me to say why the emulsion is peeling off.

    Was there dust on the surface from rubbing down?
    Was it a non-vinyl emulsion?
    Was there any contaminates on the plaster such as grease?
    Was the plaster fully dry?

    I would remove the peeling emulsion back to a solid edge, then use fine filler to fill, rub down, dust off, mist coat these areas and re-apply top coat of emulsion.

    Date posted : August 4th, 2015 at 8:22 pm
  10. Chris Says:

    Hi Adrian
    I wonder if you can help me.
    After the mist coat is it necessary to sand down the whole area before painting with emulsion?
    Is it necessary to sand again between the 2 ‘top’ coats of emulsion?
    If it is necessary to sand down, is it better to remove the dust by using a ‘dry mop’ like the Wooster dust eater or is it equally effective just to wipe down the walls with a damp cloth?

    Date posted : October 12th, 2015 at 6:08 am
  11. Adrian Says:


    Depending on if there are any bits of dirt, dried paint etc in the coats will depend on if you need to sand down between coats. If you do use fine paper so not to rip up the emulsion and I typically use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust, but it is entirely up to you what you want to use. A damp cloth may lift or or remove some emulsion, especially the mist coat.

    Date posted : October 15th, 2015 at 3:17 pm

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