Can You Paint Straight Onto Plasterboard?

  • Information on when to paint your plasterboard.
  • Find out how to paint your plasterboard without ruining it.
Paint on plaster board

Plasterboard can be a bit fickle to deal with because it might look dry but that doesn’t mean you can paint it right away.

Is it dry?

Plasterboard can take an extraordinary amount of time to dry. As a rough guide, you’re looking at around four weeks, and that’s when it’s warm and no moisture gets to the plaster.

Because plaster is porous, it will take in any moisture that comes into contact with it. For this reason, when plastering outdoors, it’s always better to complete your project in the summer during a spell of sun and heat.

For indoor plastering, use a plug-in heater or keep the windows open to allow the room to warm up. This will help the plaster dry evenly and quicker. You might get lucky and only need to wait a week or two before you can prep your walls to be painted.

“Prep?” We hear you ask – yes, plaster cannot be painted straight away if you want it to look even remotely professional. Keep reading and we’ll take you through the steps!


Once your plasterboard is completely dry (you’ll be able to tell because dry plaster will be the same light colour with no dark patches), you can begin to prep your plasterboard to be painted.

To do this, first sand down any rough patches of the plaster, and make sure you fill in the joints and any holes. You want to create a completely smooth base for your paint before you start decorating.

Can you paint straight onto plaster board
A room going through some plasterboard repair.


Like many other parts of the home that are painted, using a coat or two of primer beforehand can help you achieve a better finish.

For plaster, using a primer before painting it with your chosen colour can create a barrier between the paint and the plasterboard, as well as locking in the plaster as it is.

Thankfully, you don’t need to go out and buy a specialty paint primer for your walls before you continue. Take the emulsion that you brought to paint this part of your home and mix it with water. You want one-part water to three parts emulsion paint to create a primer.

See Also

This primer is what is known as a “mist coat”, and it is a necessary step towards getting an even coat of paint on your newly plastered walls.

Go ahead and apply the primer to the entire area before painting.


“My paint is cracking!” – This happens when the primer is of cheaper quality and does not seal the plaster effectively. It will also happen when you use a paint that doubles as a primer.

“I can see the plasterboard joints through the paint.” – There’s no easy fix to this. Try sanding down the seam again and re-apply primer and paint. Alternatively, use drywall tape before painting or apply some setting compound.

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