Can Venetian Plaster Be Painted Over?

If you’ve recently bought a new property and it has a decorative plaster coating on a wall or two, that might not be quite to your tastes you may be wondering what the options are for getting rid of it.

Perhaps it’s so bright and garish that you feel the urge to cover it up instantly for fear of scaring guests away or induces nauseating urges from within.

Beauty is after all in the eye of the beholder!

The previous occupier may well have had acquired tastes but that doesn’t mean that you have to, we have a solution for your decorating dilemmas.

Alternatively, if you’d had an installation and have grown tired of the style or just fancy changing it up.

The burning question is undoubted, how do we get rid of this?

It’s not just as simple as painting a new coat of emulsion over an existing wall, we hate to be the bearer of bad news but Venetian plaster is more challenging to get rid of.

First, you must determine which type of plaster has been used and how it has been finished, I’ll list below our methods for addressing each scenario.

As with any hands-on workmanship, if you don’t feel suitably skilled to do these, please reach out to someone who can, such as ourselves. 😊

Polished Marble Plaster

Due to its high shine finish, this decorative Venetian plaster can be tricky to deal with, luckily though it should be flat and smooth for the best part.

When it was finished the chances are a wax protective coating should have been installed and polished up, this should be addressed first.

There are a couple of ways you can deal with this, firstly a wax cleaner/remover could be an option as this will help break down the coating and then you clean it off using microfibre cloths.

Trade wipes tend to be a very useful thing these days so if you’re struggling to find a wax cleaner, or already have some wipes knocking about it is probably worth starting here.

After which I’d recommend giving the wall a thorough clean down, if you’re satisfied from here then you can move on to the next step.

At this stage a light key up is also recommended, if you have an orbital sander with a dust extraction unit such as the Mirka Deros then this is very useful to achieve a nicely keyed up surface.

Remember that if you’ve used trade wipes in particular then a thorough clean down with a damp soapy cloth, not soaking wet, is essential as the next steps will involve painting and this product is designed to remove paint!

Once you’re happy then the next product you’ll need is Zinsser BIN, which is the red shellac-based paintable coating, this stuff is very high V.O.C so make sure adequate ventilation and PPE is used.

It can be tricky to work with for those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of using it, but the effort is worth it, 2-3 coats should do the trick here, ensuring the colour of Venetian polished plaster below is fully blocked out.

Next up you’ll want to potentially give it a light sand, again being considerate of ventilation and suitable PPE for the job.

A decent quality white emulsion is where I’d go next as a base coat, something like Johnstons Covaplus is reasonably priced and has good opacity.

A face fill, then top coats of your chosen paint to finish to the desired standard, being mindful that you don’t want to sand back through the layers of Zinsser.

Textured Venetian Plaster

For the more imperfect coatings, the ones which have visible texture purposely built into the designs require a different approach altogether.

If you want to retain the depth and texture of the wall but just fancy changing the colour you might get away with following the above steps to paint the wall, however, be warned that the paint will infill some of the graininess of Textured Venetian plaster.

But since you’re reading this piece, you may also be interested to find out how to get rid of the wall totally, ending up with a smooth and paintable wall just like the rest in your home.

The first step would be to sand using a coarse grade, such as 80 Grit on an orbital dust extractor, maybe even 40 Grit depending on how rough and deeply textured the wall is, to begin with, try to get as smooth and flat as you can.

Flatter and smoother, here will give the best possible surface for the regular plaster to get spread over.

Next, you’re going to need a high grip primer coating that not only will stick to the surface underneath but also allow top coatings to bond and stick to it, there are no two ways about it the wall will need re-plastering using standard pink gypsum plaster.

Should the wall be very rough after sanding still then it may require floating out first before the top skim coat, this is something I’d only trust a good plasterer to do as if done incorrectly you’ll struggle to get the wall flat and smooth afterwards, which is the whole point of doing this in the first place.

Once plastered, allow to dry fully and mist coat using contract emulsion before finishing the wall in your emulsion colour of choice.

If you don’t fancy this method and would rather just hide the unsightly wall then another option could be to Overboard with 9mm plasterboard and then skim with multi finish gypsum plaster, you never know it could then become one of the hidden masterpieces for someone to discover at a later date.

Skirting boards need to be mentioned at this stage, as by adding plasterboard over the top of your Venetian plaster wall you’ll be bringing the depth of the wall out and risk losing the profile of the skirting board.

For modern homes and woodwork trim, it’s easy enough to whip it off and replace it for another readily available length, but for the more detailed, period style mouldings it may prove tricky to deal with or find a replacement should it break.

That concludes our guide to getting rid of, painting over or hiding the Venetian plaster on your walls should you fancy a change.

If you need some assistance taking care of a wall or more that has an existing Venetian plaster install you’d like to paint over, or fancy a fresh installation that is an exact match to your tastes, we’d love to hear from you, simply head over to here and pop your details in, then we can call you to discuss the design ideas or dilemmas.


Speak soon.

The Signature Walls Team

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