How long does it take for a newly plastered wall to dry? This question is about as clear as the water in London’s river. There are so many different factors that affect plaster drying time and there actually isn’t a definite answer.
Today we’re going to walk through the various scenarios and hopefully get a round about answer to this troubling question. The obvious difference is the material your plastering onto. If you’re skimming plasterboard you expect the plaster drying time to take 2 – 3 days.
If your plastering onto a solid background like a Bonding or a cement render then it can take a lot longer. generally it take 5-6 days. However this can all change.
How do you know when the plaster is dry
You can tell when the plaster is dry by watching the colour change. When the plaster has a uniformed pale pink complexion then you can firmly say it’s dried. You have to wait until the dark brown has completely disappeared – if you paint onto the plaster too early you could risk the paint flaking or developing a mould due to the salts in the thistle.
I have a picture of a plastering job here and i’ll show you the progression and give examples of the different drying stages.
This wall shows the colour your plaster forms when it is completely dry. There is a tiny patch above the door that could do with a little more time but this complexion is what you should aim to strive for. The next pictures shows patches of wet plaster that still needs a little more time:
As you can see there are a few patches that look a lot darker than the rest of the wall. This could be due to the plaster being thicker in parts or the natural current of the room affecting its dry time. This is an example of a wall that needs more time to dry.
Does weather affect how plaster dries?
The answer is yes. If it’s the middle of winter and you’ve just skimmed a wall you can expect it to take an extra 1 – 2 days to dry than if it was skimmed in the summer. This is obviously due to heat in a home, the moisture during that time of year and the lack of natural sunlight.
It’s a different story in the summer. Ive plastered a ceiling in the height of a summer’s day and the plaster dried by the evening. It sounds good but the plaster can dry too fast and damages the finished results. If you’re working in the summer try to close your blinds or curtains.
The direct sunlight on your newly skimmed walls can actually crack the plaster and leave a nasty surprise. Just always be aware of the weather conditions and try to keep the heat down; it really doesn’t help when your plastering and the whole lot dries in 20 minutes.
But what can you do if you want to increase the plaster drying time?
Can you increase the plaster dry time?
There are a few ways to speed up the process. Some are advices whilst others can actually damage your finished product. The best way is to use heaters. If you want your walls to dry faster then plant a few heaters around the worked area and let the plaster dry naturally.
A few tradesmen tend to use dehumidifiers but I really don’t agree with this method. This drains the water from the thistle and actually forces the plaster drying time. This can cause the wall to crack and it can even effect the strength of the plaster.
Heaters are a safer bet but I would stay away from the latter option. When the plaster is completely dry and you wish to use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture then feel free to use one. Just don’t use this option as the plaster is drying.
The best way is to just let nature to its thing. I don’t force my plaster to dry – I just let it do what its got to do and wait for the process to finish. In the winter expect 5-7 days whilst the summer you can get results as fast as 2-3 days.
I hope this has helped answer your question and just remember to only act when the plaster is completely dry. You don’t want any issues due to impatience! For more advice visit our blog on plastering and get skimming!
what is the plaster drying time