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Plastering Drying Times

In this article, we explore a common question relating to plastering drying times. How long does it take for the plastering to dry? 

The answer is not as straightforward as it seems as there actually isn’t a definite answer. There’s so many different factors that affect plaster drying time and we will dig into it in more detail.

Plastering Drying Times
Source: HomeBuilding.co.uk

What are plastering drying times on average?

Plastering onto plasterboard is a very common construction scenario. There are different approaches to plastering which can in turn determine the drying time for each. For instance, you will find the walls are skimmed with plasterboard. 

In which case waterproof plaster must be used since it contains polymers that prevent water absorption by plaster which can take around 2 – 3 days for it to dry.

If you’re plastering onto a solid background like a bonding or a cement render then it can take longer, generally 5 – 6 days.

For best results, keep the optimum temperature for plastering below 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celcius). This will help to speed up the drying process, as well as helping to minimise problems with cracking. 

Keeping the ambient temperature above this will also slow down drying times, which will give you more time to work with the plaster and help you finish your job more quickly!

Why it’s important to wait for the plaster to dry

If you’re going to paint your newly plastered walls straight away, it’s vital that they are completely dry before you do. 

Most paints will seal the surface of the wall, so if your walls are damp or even damp when you start painting, condensation will form and moisture can build up within the wall structure.

What factors affect plastering drying times?

As discussed above, there are no specific drying times for plastering as it depends on various factors. Some of these include:

  • Number of layers of plastering applied
  • If there is a plasterboard or not
  • Humidity levels in the area
  • Surrounding temperature (winter or summer)

How to know if the plaster has dried?

During the painting process, the plaster will go through many stages. It will be bone dry and crumbly looking, then when you apply paint it will become dry and rubbery. Then as it goes through the painting process it will turn pale pink before changing to a darker brown. 

When you paint on the plaster, if there is still a dark brown colour but no visible grains, then it’s ready to use.

If you see a few patches that are visibly darker than the rest of the wall, it could be due to the plaster layer being thicker in certain parts of the wall or that the current room temperature is affecting the drying time. This is an indication that the wall needs more time to dry.

How does weather affect plastering drying times?

Always keep in mind that the weather can affect the drying time of your plaster. It’s a generally accepted fact that plastering can dry out a lot faster in the summer than the winter. 

Cold weather contains more moisture and the overall temperatures are much lower, which tends to keep the moisture in check. Hot weather can really do damage to your plastering project, so try to keep it cool if possible. You can expect it to take an extra 1 – 2 days in winter.

On the other hand, if a newly skimmed wall is exposed directly to sunlight, it can lead to cracks in your plastering as well.

As such, a professional plasterer will always be aware of the weather conditions and try to keep the heat down. It’s important to constantly monitor the plastering drying times and ensure it doesn’t dry up too fast either.

Drying times for different plastering types

There are different types of plastering that can be used for various scenarios. The table below highlights the approximate drying times for each type of plastering.

Type of PlasterUseSetting TimeCoverage per 25kg bag
Base Filler Filling cracks and small holes1-2 hoursN/A
One Coat or Patching plasterPatching large areas3 -4 hours2.25 Sqm @ 13mm thickness
Board finish PlasterTop coat for plasterboard & Dry-Coat1.5 Hours10 Sqm @ 2mm thickness
Multi-finish PlasterTop coat for most backing surfaces1.5 hours10 Sqm @ 2mm thickness
Dry-coat PlasterUsed for resurfacing areas with a new DPC1.5 Hours3.25 Sqm @ 11mm thickness
Tough-coat PlasterHigh strength under coat1.5 Hours3.25 Sqm @ 11mm thickness
Hardwall PlasterHigh impact under coat 1.5 – 2 Hours3.0  Sqm @ 11mmthickness
Browning PlasterUnder coat for highly absorbent surfaces1.5 – 2 Hours2.75 Sqm @ 11mm thickness
Bonding PlasterUnder coat for use on masonry1.5 – 2 Hours2.75 Sqm @ 11mm thickness
Source

Do you require professional help for plastering?

If all of this seems overwhelming or if you require a quicker solution to dry the plaster, there are certain mechanisms that can be used to get the job done.


Get in touch with our professional team of plasterers on Ralph Plastering to learn more about the different approaches you could take to get your wall plastered hassle free.

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Ralph Plastering is a highly recommended plastering company in South London and Surrey providing all aspects of plastering, dry lining & rendering services.