How long should I leave lime plaster before painting?

Decorative doorway with lime plaster
Close up of Devon cottage with a bag rubbed finish

Since we’ve been writing this blog, we’re written a fair amount about external finishes including lime renders and pointing but the time has now come for us at Leyden to move the conversation indoors and start talking about lime plaster, internal finishes.

Inside your average house you have plasterboard with a pink skim finish, it’s a perfectly nice finish that’s fine for modern houses but it’s not right when it comes to period property or heritage buildings. These buildings need and deserve a better quality finish. One that enables the building to breathe better which in turn helps manage issues related to moisture build up, which let’s face it, is never a good thing in an older property.

But whenever we finished any internal walls or ceilings on a project, the very first question that we get asked is ‘how long should I leave lime plaster before painting?’

We get it, customer are always excited at this stage, mainly because painting what we’ve just plastered tends to bring the whole thing to life. The finish itself is important as are the technical qualities that it delivers, but let’s get something straight, everyone loves getting out the Farrow & Ball paint chart and finishing it in some wonderfully named, ‘en vogue’ colour scheme.

Lime isn’t a new or modern product but when it comes to period property then it is the best product. Here at Leyden, we’re heritage specialists covering Devon and the wider South West region and we understand lime plastering better than anything else. So, when people ask ‘how long should I leave lime plaster before painting?’ we always explain that there are two answers to this question.

Firstly, the complicated one which is dependent on so many variables including how thick the plaster is, what type of substrate there is and in fact what time of the year it is. Then there’s the second, slightly more simple answer … two to three weeks as a minimum. So, our advice is always the same, get the paint charts out and look at them lovingly for about 20 days, then go and buy some paint.

OK, so normal plaster finishes are quicker and ultimately cheaper but what they won’t ever deliver is that reassuring feeling that you’ve done the right thing by the building. You’ve future proofed it and you’ve done your very best to protect the fabric of building and the people that live it in.

So, if you’d like to know more about lime plaster finishes to your internal walls and how long you should you leave lime plastering before painting, then get in contact with us at Leyden on, we are after-all, serious about craftsmanship.

Matt & Hannah

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