How Long Do You Leave The First Coat Of Plaster?

If you want your walls to be smooth and long-lasting, whether you’re building from the ground up or just renovating, plastering is an absolute must. How long should one wait after applying the first coat of plaster before moving on to the next steps?

This is a subject that comes up frequently among both amateurs and experts in the field. To avoid problems like scorching, cracking, or poor adhesion and to guarantee a perfect finish, it is crucial to dry the materials according to the recommended periods. 

Learn how long it takes for plaster to cure, what situations call for specific amounts of time, and how to get the most out of your plastering efforts by reading this article. If you want a high-quality finish that will last, you need to be patient and precise with this process.

How Long Do You Leave The First Coat Of Plaster?

Applying plaster is a crucial part of achieving smooth, durable walls in construction and renovation projects. One key aspect of the plastering process is determining how long to leave the first coat of plaster before applying subsequent layers or finishing touches. Ensuring the proper drying time is essential to avoid common issues such as cracking, blistering, or poor adhesion.

Factors Influencing Drying Time

Several factors influence the drying time of the first coat of plaster:

  • Type of Plaster: Different types of plaster, such as gypsum or lime, have varying drying times. Gypsum-based plasters generally dry faster than lime-based ones.
  • Thickness of the Coat: Thicker coats of plaster take longer to dry. It’s important to apply the plaster evenly to avoid extended drying times in some areas.
  • Ambient Conditions: Temperature, humidity, and ventilation in the room can significantly affect drying times. Higher temperatures and better ventilation speed up drying, while high humidity slows it down.
  • Substrate Material: The material of the wall or ceiling being plastered can impact drying times. Porous materials like brick or block may absorb moisture, influencing how quickly the plaster sets.

Recommended Drying Times

For most standard plaster applications, the first coat should be left to dry for approximately 24 hours. This duration allows the plaster to set sufficiently, providing a stable base for the second coat or further finishing work. However, this time can vary:

  • Gypsum Plaster: Typically dries within 24 hours under optimal conditions.
  • Lime Plaster: This may require several days to a week to dry thoroughly, depending on the thickness and environmental factors.

Tips For Ensuring Proper Drying

  • Maintain Adequate Ventilation: Open windows and use fans to circulate air, helping the plaster dry more quickly and evenly.
  • Control Humidity: Use a dehumidifier in high-humidity environments to facilitate faster drying.
  • Avoid Direct Heat: While it’s important to keep the area warm, avoid using direct heat sources like heaters, which can cause the plaster to dry too quickly and crack.

Patience and attention to detail are crucial when working with plaster. Allowing the first coat to dry thoroughly ensures a smooth and durable finish, minimizing the risk of defects. By understanding the factors that affect drying times and following recommended practices, you can achieve professional-quality results in your plastering projects.

Is It Bad To Leave A Plaster On Too Long?

In the context of medical plaster (such as adhesive bandages or casts) or plaster in construction (such as the first coat of plaster on walls), leaving plaster on too long can indeed have adverse effects. Here, we’ll explore the potential issues associated with both types of plaster.

Medical Plaster

Adhesive Bandages

  • Skin Irritation: Leaving adhesive bandages on for too long can cause skin irritation or rashes. The adhesive can also break down, making removal more difficult and painful.
  • Moisture and Infection: If a bandage covers a wound, prolonged use can trap moisture and sweat, creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth and infection.
  • Delayed Healing: Regularly changing bandages allow you to clean the wound and assess its healing progress. Leaving a bandage on too long can impede this process.


  • Skin Issues: Prolonged wearing of casts without proper monitoring can lead to skin problems such as sores, irritation, or infection.
  • Muscle Atrophy: Extended immobilization in a cast can lead to muscle atrophy and joint stiffness, requiring more extensive rehabilitation.
  • Improper Healing: If a cast becomes loose or too tight due to swelling or reduction of swelling, it can affect bone alignment and healing, potentially requiring corrective procedures.

Construction Plaster

First Coat Of Plaster

  • Cracking and Delamination: If the first coat of plaster is left to dry for too long before applying subsequent coats, it can lead to cracking or poor adhesion between layers. The surface might become too dry and not properly bond with the next layer.
  • Difficult Application: The longer the plaster sits, the harder and more brittle it becomes, making it more difficult to work with when applying additional coats or finishing touches.
  • Dust and Contaminants: Extended exposure can cause dust and other contaminants to settle on the plaster surface, compromising the quality and appearance of the final finish.

In both medical and construction contexts, leaving plaster on for too long can result in negative consequences. For medical uses, it can lead to skin problems, infection, and impaired healing. In construction, it can cause issues with adhesion, cracking, and application difficulty. It’s essential to follow recommended guidelines and regularly monitor the condition of the plaster, whether on the body or walls, to ensure optimal results and prevent complications.

What Is Plastering?

Plastering is a fundamental building process that involves applying a smooth, durable coating to walls, ceilings, and other structures. This technique has been used for centuries to enhance the aesthetics and structural integrity of buildings. Plastering provides a clean, finished surface that can be painted, wallpapered, or left as is, depending on the desired look and purpose. Below, we delve into the essential aspects of plastering, including its purpose, types, materials used, and the basic process involved.

Purpose Of Plastering

Plastering serves several important functions:

  • Aesthetic Improvement: Plaster creates a smooth and visually appealing surface, hiding imperfections in the underlying structure.
  • Protective Layer: It acts as a protective barrier against moisture, mould, and other environmental factors, enhancing the longevity of walls and ceilings.
  • Surface Preparation: Plastered surfaces are ideal for painting, wallpapering, and other decorative finishes, ensuring better adhesion and a superior final appearance.
  • Insulation and Acoustics: Plaster can improve thermal and sound insulation, contributing to a more comfortable and energy-efficient building environment.

Types Of Plaster

Different types of plaster are used depending on the requirements of the project:

  • Lime Plaster: Made from lime, sand, and water, lime plaster is known for its breathability and flexibility, making it ideal for historic buildings and restoration projects.
  • Gypsum Plaster: This plaster sets quickly and is easy to work with, commonly used in modern construction for a smooth, hard finish.
  • Cement Plaster: Comprising cement, sand, and water, cement plaster is strong and durable, suitable for exterior surfaces and areas exposed to moisture.

Materials Used In Plastering

The primary materials involved in plastering include:

  • Plaster Mix: The base material, which can be lime, gypsum, or cement-based, is mixed with water to form a workable paste.
  • Sand: Used as an aggregate to provide bulk and texture to the plaster mix.
  • Water: Essential for mixing and achieving the correct consistency.
  • Additives: Sometimes added to improve workability, setting time, or other properties of the plaster.

Basic Plastering Process

The plastering process generally involves the following steps:

  • Surface Preparation: Clean and prepare the surface to ensure it is free of dust, dirt, and loose particles. Applying a bonding agent or primer may be necessary for better adhesion.
  • Mixing: Combine the plaster materials (lime, gypsum, or cement) with sand and water to achieve a smooth, lump-free consistency.
  • Application: Apply the plaster mix to the prepared surface using a trowel, starting from the top and working downward. Spread the plaster evenly to the desired thickness.
  • Smoothening: Once applied, smooth the surface with a trowel or float, removing any excess material and ensuring an even finish.
  • Curing: Allow the plaster to set and dry properly. This may involve misting the surface with water to prevent rapid drying and cracking, especially for lime and cement plasters.

Plastering is a versatile and essential technique in construction and renovation, providing both functional and aesthetic benefits. By understanding the types of plaster, materials used, and the basic process, one can appreciate the skill and precision involved in creating smooth, durable surfaces that enhance the overall quality and appearance of buildings.


Plastering is an important skill in both old and new construction because it protects buildings, makes them seem better, and makes them more practical. To produce a smooth and long-lasting finish, one must meticulously prepare, apply, and cure cement plaster, gypsum plaster, or lime plaster. Producing high-quality surfaces that are prepared for additional ornamentation or use requires an understanding of the materials and procedures involved. Learning how to plaster properly not only enhances a building’s aesthetics and structural soundness but also guarantees a pleasant and long-lasting atmosphere for its occupants.

Looking for more information? Click my review here

No Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *