How Long Does Plaster Take To Dry on Ceiling?

logo by Editorial Staff | Posted on December 21st, 2022

Are you planning to give your ceiling a makeover? If yes, then you’re probably wondering how long it will take for the plaster to dry. Don’t worry – we’ve got all the info you need right here. This blog post will discuss how long plaster takes to dry on a ceiling and provide tips for achieving the best results. Let’s get started!

How Long Does Plaster Take To Dry on Ceiling

When applying plaster to your ceiling, it is important to allow adequate drying and curing time. This is especially true for waterproof plaster, which contains polymers that prevent water absorption by the plaster.

Professional construction workers installing plaster boards drywall and decorating apartment.

Depending on the type of plaster used and other factors, such as humidity and air circulation, it can take anywhere from two to ten days for plaster to dry. Once the plaster is dry to the touch, it must be allowed to properly cure before painting, drilling, or fitting kitchen cabinets on it. Generally, it is best to wait at least 24 hours before attempting any of these activities.

Factors Affecting Drying Time

When it comes to plaster drying times for ceilings, a few factors can affect how long it takes for the plaster to dry and be ready for decoration.

Humidity Levels in the Room

Humidity levels in the room can greatly affect how long plaster takes to dry on a ceiling. If the air is too damp, it will take longer for the plaster to dry. Conversely, if the air is dry, the plaster will dry faster. It is generally recommended that the humidity levels in the room be kept at around 50%, as this will create ideal conditions for the plaster to dry quickly and evenly. Additionally, dehumidifiers can reduce the humidity in a room if necessary.

The temperature of the Room

The room’s temperature is an important factor in plaster drying times. Cooler temperatures will slow the drying process, so keeping the ambient temperature above 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) is best.

Heating the room may be an option if the temperature does not reach the plaster norm marked on the package. This will help speed up the drying process. However, it is important to ensure that the plaster is not exposed to temperatures too high, as this can damage the material.

The thickness of the Plaster Layer Applied

The thickness of the plaster layer applied to a ceiling can greatly impact how long it takes for the plaster to dry. A thin coat of gypsum plaster takes around 30-60 minutes to dry, while a thicker coat of exterior stucco might take days or weeks. For instance, if you apply 4 paper-thin coats of plaster, it will take approximately 12 working hours before it is fully dry and ready to be painted.

On the other hand, if you apply one thick coat of plaster, it can take up to two weeks to dry fully. If a plastering job has been carried out on new plasterboard, it usually takes 2-3 days for the plaster to be dry enough to apply a watered-down primer. If the job has been done with backing plaster, it can take up to 7 days to dry.

Air Circulation in the Room

Air circulation is an important factor in the drying time of plaster on a ceiling. The plaster may take longer to dry if the room lacks air circulation. To ensure proper air circulation, ensure windows and doors are opened, or fans are used to help speed up the drying process.

Also, it can help to place a dehumidifier in the room while the plaster is drying to draw out any excess moisture. Proper air circulation will ensure your plaster dries evenly without mold or mildew forming.

Types of Plaster Used on Ceilings

When it comes to plastering the ceilings in your home, there are several different types of plaster. The most common type is gypsum plaster, a mix of gypsum and water to create a paste that can be applied to ceilings and walls. This type of plaster dries quickly and is easy to work with.

Another popular type of plaster is lime plaster, made from limestone, sand, and water and has been used since ancient times. Lime plaster is generally more expensive than gypsum plaster but offers superior breathability and moisture protection.

Lastly, specialist plasters, such as acrylic or waterproof plasters, are designed for use in areas where moisture protection is essential. These plasters contain polymers that prevent water absorption by the plaster and can take 2-3 days to dry fully.

Methods for Testing When Plaster Is Dry

When plastering your ceiling, one of the most important aspects is ensuring that the plaster dries properly. It is essential to know when the plaster is dry to apply the next coat, start painting or do any other task that needs to be done. You can use a few methods to test when your plaster is dry.

The first method is the “touch test.” This involves lightly touching the plaster surface with your finger and feeling any dampness. If it feels damp or cool, the plaster has not dried yet. Another method is the “knuckle test.”

This involves tapping the surface of the plaster with your knuckle and listening for a hollow sound. If a hollow sound is heard, the plaster is still wet and hasn’t yet dried completely. Finally, you can use a moisture meter to measure the humidity in the room and check if it has reached an acceptable level for painting or other tasks.

These methods can determine when your plaster is dry and ready for further work. Remember that drying times vary depending on factors such as humidity levels in the room, temperature, thickness of the plaster layer applied, air circulation in the room, and the type of plaster used.

Tips for Speeding Up Drying Times on a Ceiling

If you’re in a hurry to get your ceiling plaster dried, you can use a few methods to speed up the process. For starters, increasing room ventilation can help dry the plaster faster. Open windows or use fans to help move air around and remove moisture. You can also increase the room’s temperature slightly, as warm air will help dry out the plaster quicker. Lastly, you can reduce the thickness of the applied plaster layer, as thinner layers dry faster than thicker layers.

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Dried Plasters on Ceilings

When the plaster is left to dry on a ceiling, it can be prone to cracking or flaking due to the weight of the plaster and the lack of ventilation in the room. To prevent these issues, make sure that you leave enough time for your plaster to dry before you start painting or decorating.

Additionally, you can use a spray bottle to mist the plaster frequently while drying, as this will help keep it supple and reduce cracking. If you do find that your plaster has already cracked or flaked, you can use a patching compound to fill in any gaps and smooth out any imperfections.


When it comes to plastering a ceiling, there is no definitive answer as to how long it will take to dry. Several factors can affect the drying time, such as the type of plaster used, the thickness of the layer, the humidity and temperature of the room, and the air circulation in the room.

It is important to be patient and allow enough time for the plaster to dry and cure properly before any further decorating or fitting of furniture is done. Properly applied plaster should last for many years with minimal maintenance. With patience and preparation, you can be sure that your freshly plastered ceiling will look its best for many years.


Editorial Staff

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