Why is my paint peeling off the plaster? | Checkatrade
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Why is my paint peeling off the plaster?

Paint peeling off plaster is incredibly frustrating. You’ve got freshly plastered walls, you’ve applied your paint, but now the paint is peeling off.

If you’re at a loss as to why and want to know how to remedy it, keep reading. We’ll cover why paint is peeling off your newly plastered walls and, crucially, how to fix it up so it doesn’t happen again.

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Why is my paint peeling off the plaster?

To understand why paint is peeling off your plastered walls, you need to know one or two things about plaster.

  • You cannot paint straight onto fresh plaster – it must be allowed to dry completely before it is painted
  • Plaster takes between two and five weeks to dry
  • Completely dry plaster will be an even, pale pink colour. If there are any darker patches, the plaster is not fully dry
  • Once dry, plaster is like a sponge – it must be primed prior to painting it with your chosen wall paint
  • Standard emulsion is too thick to paint onto fresh plaster as a mist coat – it won’t adhere and will peel. The initial mist coat must always be watered down

In summary, if you’ve not allowed the plaster to fully dry and/or you’ve not primed the dry plaster properly before painting, your wall paint will peel and flake.

How to repair paint that’s peeling off plaster

Whether your paint is peeling off newly plastered walls or the paint is peeling off new plaster after applying a mist coat, the remedy is the same.

Tempting as it is, you won’t get a lasting finish if you simply paint over the flaking paint.

Peeling paint must be removed before applying a fresh coat, otherwise the paint will not adhere to the wall properly.

You will need

  • A scraper
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • A cloth
  • A paint kettle (to dilute your emulsion in) and water
  • A matt white emulsion
  • Your chosen wall paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Dust sheets


  • This is a messy job, so the first task is to protect the surrounding areas with dust sheets.
  • Use a scraper or medium-grit sandpaper to remove any cracked, peeling, or flaky paint from the wall.
  • Clean the area with a cloth to remove any dust or debris.
  • Apply a mist coat, created by diluting your matt white emulsion with water. Aim for a ratio of three parts emulsion to one part water. It should be a sloppy consistency.
  • Allow to dry completely (a warm but well-ventilated area will help the process) before applying your wall paint (two coats of top coat is best, allowing one to dry before applying the next).
  • If applying a mist coat onto freshly plastered walls, we recommend two applications of your mist coat, allowing the first to dry thoroughly before applying the second, followed by your chosen wall colour the next day.

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Find an experienced painter and decorator in your local area

While it’s possible to fix paint peeling off plaster yourself using the steps outlined above, you may prefer to avoid this messy job by calling in the professionals.

To find a trusted and experienced painter and decorator near you, simply add your postcode to the search box below to find an approved tradesperson in no time.

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