Can You Paint Directly Onto Plaster Walls?”

That’s one of the most asked questions about cement wall art, as prepping and painting cement walls, whether new or old, requires some special considerations to get the best and longest-lasting results.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll share everything you need to know about painting directly on cement, from proper prep work to choosing the right paints and primers. I’ll also cover whether you can apply wall cover to cement walls and how to do it right.

Keep reading with Nousdecor to find out the answers to all your cement wall decorating questions for home improvement!

Key Takeaways

  • New cement must dry thoroughly before painting, usually 30 daysLightly sand and apply mist coat first.
  • Prime bare or repaired cement before painting to seal surfaceUse alkali-resistant primer.
  • Emulsion and latex paints work best on cement wallsAvoid oil-based paints.
  • Wallpaper adheres well to cement with proper prepPrime first and use adhesive made for cement.
  • Allow proper drying time between coatsTwo finish coats give best coverage on cement.
Plaster Walls A Complete Guide
Can You Paint Directly Onto Plaster Walls?

Can You Paint Directly Onto Plaster Walls?

The short answer is yes, you can paint directly onto both new and existing cement walls. However, the preparation required before painting new or bare cement is different than previously painted cement walls. Here’s what you need to know about painting both types of plaster walls:

Newly Plastered Walls

Fresh cement needs significant drying time before any paint coat can be applied. This allows the cement to be fully set and prevents issues with the paint later on.

  • Leave new cement to dry for at least 30 days before painting. This gives moisture a chance to evaporate completely.
  • Lightly sand the new cement once dry to smooth any irregularities.
  • Apply a “mist coat” first. This is a thinned down coat of primer diluted with water. It acts as a sealer and allows for proper adhesion of regular paint.

The mist coat prevents new cement from absorbing too much paint too quickly and creates an even finish.

Previously Painted Plaster Walls

Painting existing cement walls with an intact paint coat is more straightforward than new cement:

  • Clean the walls thoroughly to remove any grease, dirt or loose paint.
  • Lightly sand to rough up the surface and help the new paint bind.
  • Spot prime any bare cement patches or repairs first before painting the entire wall.
  • Old gloss paint may require sanding to dull the shine for proper paint adhesion.

Then you can go ahead and apply your new paint as normal.

When Can You Paint New Plaster Walls?

It’s crucial to allow ample drying time before applying paint to fresh cement.

Here are some tips on when new cement is ready for paint:

  • Allow at least 30 days for new cement to dry out fully. This gives the cement time to complete the curing process.
  • The walls should not feel cool to the touch before painting. This signals residual moisture in the cement that needs more time to dry out.
  • Know about how to paint” test – apply a small amount of paint on a section after 30 days. If the paint doesn’t change color as it dries, the cement is ready.
  • Don’t rush! Let the cement dry thoroughly to prevent long-term problems like peeling, cracking or bubbling paint.

It’s always best to allow new cement longer than 30 days if possible. This guarantees the walls are completely cured before adding paint.

When Can You Paint New Plaster Walls

How to Prepare Newly Plastered Walls for Painting?

Prepping new or fresh plaster walls adequately before painting is key to getting a durable and attractive finish. Here are the steps to follow:

Wash the Walls

Once completely dry, wipe down new cement walls with a clean cloth and mild detergent mixed with water to remove dust or residue. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry again.

Sand the Walls

Lightly sand new cement with fine 220-grit sandpaper once fully cured. This smoothes down any small bumps for a uniform surface. Be careful not to over-sand which can damage the cement.

Fill Any Holes or Cracks

Use filler designed for cement to patch any small cracks or dents for the finest paint finish. Allow filler to dry completely before sanding smooth.

Prime the Walls

Priming new cement before painting is an essential step. Use an alkali-resistant primer to effectively seal the cement and ready it for paint. Allow the primer coat to fully dry.

Best Paint Types to Use on Plaster Walls?

Choosing the right paint makes a big difference when painting cement. Here are the best options:

Emulsion Paint

Emulsion paint (also called latex wall paint) works extremely well on both old and new cement. It allows moisture to pass through, resisting bubbling and peeling. The flexible finish doesn’t crack easily.

Masonry Paint

Masonry paint contains silicone water repellents that work well on alkaline cement. It resists moisture damage better than standard paints.

Either of these paints will adhere well and provide a durable finish:

  • Avoid oil-based paints as they don’t flex well and can yellow over time.
  • Make sure to use interior paint for cement walls and ceiling paint on ceilings.
  • A satin or eggshell sheen usually gives the best results on interior cement walls and ceilings.
Best Paint Types to Use on Plaster Walls

Best Primer for Plaster Walls

Priming ensures proper adhesion and seals the surface for a long-lasting paint job. For cement walls, an alkali-resistant primer is best:

  • It prevents a reaction with the natural alkalinity in new cement that can cause peeling.
  • Alkali-resistant primers include Zinsser’s B-I-N Shellac-Based Primer or their GARDZ High Adhesion Sealer.
  • If repainting over existing color, using a primer tinted close to your final paint color allows for better coverage.

Be sure to apply a full coat of the best primer for cement as directed by the manufacturer for a smooth, lasting finish.

Everything You Need to Know on How to Paint Plaster Walls

Once you’ve prepped your cement walls properly and have your paint and supplies ready, follow these tips for the painting process:

Apply the Paint with a Roller or Brush

Use a quality nylon or polyester roller cover or soft natural bristle brush. Paint in sections starting at the top near the ceiling and working downwards.

Apply Two Coats of Paint

New cement and dramatic color changes typically require two finish coats for best coverage. Allow the first coat to fully dry before adding the second.

  • Darker colors may need an extra coat to achieve full coverage and an even appearance.
  • If applying a mist coat first, only one or two finish coats are needed.

Take your time with the prep work, prime coat, and painting for beautiful, long-lasting results on your cement walls.

Everything You Need to Know on How to Paint Plaster Walls

Can I Put Wallpaper on Plaster Walls?

Can i put wallpaper on plaster walls“, you asked? Yes, you can.

Wallpaper can definitely be applied successfully to cement walls as long as the surface is properly prepared first. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Allow new cement to dry fully and prime with an alkali-resistant primer before wall covering. This stabilizes the surface.
  • Remove any existing wall cover. Scrape off all residual adhesive.
  • Repair any cracks or holes with cement filler. Sand bumps smooth.
  • Prime the cement before hanging the wall cover. Look for adhesive primer made for wall cover use on cement.
  • Use an acrylic or cellulose wall cover adhesive suitable for cement surfaces. Don’t use starch-based glue.
  • Check the wall cover manufacturer’s instructions for any special directions on cement application.

Properly prepped cement provides an excellent painting canvas for a beautiful wall cover. Just be sure to address any repairs, fully prime, and use the right adhesive.

Then you can choose from hundreds of stylish options, like Pottery Barn plaster tile wall art, unique plaster arch wall decor ideas with molding or medallions, or modern geometrics, to make a stunning statement on your cement feature wall.

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s best to allow new cement to dry completely for a minimum of 30 days before painting. This gives the cement time to fully cure. Test a small area by applying paint – if it doesn’t change color as it dries, the cement is ready for paint.

Yes, always apply at least one coat of an alkali-resistant primer designed for cement before painting. This seals the surface properly for paint adhesion.

Clean thoroughly, sand lightly to rough up the surface, spot prime bare areas, and dull any existing glossy paint by sanding. This readies old plaster walls for good paint adhesion.

It’s best to use an alkali-resistant primer made specifically for cement. Standard drywall primers can react with cement’s alkalinity leading to peeling or bubbling paint.

Typically new cement needs two finish coats of paint for proper coverage. If using a mist coat first, one or two finish coats are adequate. Darker paint colors may require an extra coat.


Painting or hanging a wall cover on cement walls is a great way to transform the look of any room when done properly, creating such outstanding wall decor ideas.

Following the tips in this guide will help you avoid issues like peeling or bubbling paint long-term. Be sure to allow ample drying time for new cement, lightly sand, prime with a product designed for cement chemistry, and choose the right paint for the surface. Address any repairs to existing walls prior to decorating as well.

With the right prep and products, you can achieve beautiful, lasting results on your cement that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

By the way, are you a Muslim, by any chance? If so, you might be interested in checking out our Islamic calligraphy wall decor ideas!

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