Let’s talk about a very common question that needs to be asked. Can you plaster over paint? Is it ok to do so or do I need to strip it all back?
Today I’m going to give you the answer to this crucial question and let you know what to look out for because getting this wrong could lead to your plaster falling off in sheets. Imagine spending all that time for nothing!
I’m going to show you the right way to plastering over paint.
Can you plaster over paint? (Yes and no)
The best answer is yes, the majority of the time it’s perfectly acceptable to plaster over paint. You just need to provide correct preparation. However there’s some cases where you definitely can’t.
I’ve had it once where I was plastering a little ceiling that I thought was fully prepped. I PVA’d the surface (speak more about that in a second), and skimmed it out.
It was the last job of the day and I was good to go home after that. Happy days!
I went back to the job the next day and noticed a huge bubble in the centre of the finished plaster. Next thing I know the whole lot is on the floor with the paint stuck to the sheets of plaster. I was gutted to say the least.
Now I want you to get this right because I learnt a massive lesson that day. There are some cases where you definitely can’t plaster on paint.
Knowing when you CAN plaster over paint (and preparing it correctly
The first thing you need to do is look at the condition of the wall your working on. Has the wall recently been painted? Are there areas where the old paint is peeling from your walls? Is there any grease or residue?
If the paint looks in good condition and it’s not peeling off then perfect. All you have to do next is prepare it with 2 simple steps
1. Wash the walls down
I always recommend this. Sometimes your walls can hold a grease which prevents the plaster bonding so the best option is to wash your walls down with sugar soap. This will give you a better chance for a strong bond.
2. PVA your walls
This is crucial. You want to mix some uni bond PVA with water at a 3:1 ratio (3 part water, 1 part PVA). Roll the mix all over your walls, leave it to dry and then apply another coat before you start plastering.
This has 2 benefits: helps your plaster bond to your walls and also slows down the rate of suction. This basically means that your plaster will dry at a nice rate.
Failing to do this can make your plaster dry at double the speed so you need to follow this step.
(I know there’s a lot of information! If you want to save this article and read again later then the links below.)
This is a crucial part so you could look at our article on PVA before Plastering to get it perfect.
What if your walls don’t look right and the paint is really old? I’ll show you the way to get around this and show you what to avoid.
Knowing when you CAN’T plaster over paint
If the paint is peeling from the wall then you definitely shouldn’t just skim over it. It will flake from the walls and take your precious work with it. Trust me I’ve done it.
But all is not doomed! Here’s how to get around it:
1. Just like the first time wash your walls with sugar soap
2. Scrape the paint off
You need to get all the loose sections from your wall and scrape it back until it stops fighting. If there are some patches of paint that are still sticking and aren’t coming off then you could risk leaving it. However, the best option would be to try and remove it all
3. Use Bluegrit
Bluegrit is basically a stronger version of PVA. You roll it onto your walls and it provides a really strong key to work to. The best thing is that it sticks to anything (even glass apparently).
If there were some patches that would cause problems in the future then this will stop it. It’s a great product and I recommend it for every wall you work on. The only thing it’s a bit pricey.
I would always test your walls to see the condition of its backing. If the paint is scraping off then you need to take action. If it’s staying put then your good to go.
As long as you take the right decision in preparation you should be fine. So your walls are prepped but the next big question is are you ready for plastering?
If you’re new to the world of skimming would you like to learn the full process?
We have a FREE video series available where we’ll teach you the 7 steps to plastering, we’ll show you how to get the perfect mix of plaster and even show you a bonus video on getting your walls flat.
That’s all yours for FREE. Simply enter your detail below and we’ll send you the first video in this Plastering For Beginners training series.