Can you plaster over painted walls: Can I plaster straight onto a painted wall?

Can you skim plaster over different paints?

Skimming / By Carl

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In this article, we will be looking at several different types of paint and whether it is possible to skim plaster over them. The aim is to provide you with a guide, that will enable you to make an informed decision when it comes to skimming plastering.

It might be tempting to just plaster over any paint. However, there are a number of considerations to make. Depending on the type of paint, you might need to carry out prep work. This will make sure that the plaster bonds to the wall and stays in place.

If the paint is cracked, blown, flaking, or bubbling, then you will need to remove it. Should the paint be in perfect condition, you can take the necessary steps to skim directly over it.

Can you skim over emulsion?

If your walls and ceilings have been painted with emulsion paint, it is possible to skim over it if the surface is in good condition.  

Emulsion paint is the most common paint used in the UK. Its generally used on ceilings and walls around the home. Therefore, when it comes to over-skimming, you will usually find that emulsion is the surface you are plastering onto. This paint is water-based with the addition of vinyl and acrylic to improve durability. It comes in a number of finishes that either give the paint a sheen or a matt finish.

When plastering over any surface, it is important that it is in good condition. This means, it is especially important to thoroughly check the surface for imperfections. If you choose to skim over emulsion paint, it has to have a solid bond to the subsurface, as this will ensure that the plaster doesn’t come away from the walls.

If there are problem areas, you’ll need to remove the paint by either scraping or sanding it. This will take effort and time, but it will enable you to plaster over the subsurface, giving a solid finish.

Should the paint be in good condition, you can carry on with the prep work. The aim is to prime the surface, so it has a good key. You have two options:

  • Lightly score the paint. This is a quick and easy process
  • Give your walls a coat of blue grit. This will take slightly more effort, but will give you a solid key.

Can you skim over gloss?

If the surface is in a suitable condition, it is possible to skim over gloss paint.

Traditionally, gloss paints have been oil-based, but water-based gloss is now becoming more popular due to its flexibility. In most cases, it is possible to skim over gloss paint, providing the paint is in good condition.

Where oil based gloss is failing, you will need to use sandpaper a sander to remove it. For water-based gloss, you can use a scraper and sandpaper. This can be time-consuming, but it is worth doing as this will enable you to skim plaster over a solid subsurface.

If the walls are in good condition, then you can plaster over gloss, but you’ll need to carry out prep work first. As the gloss has a sheen finish, you’ll need to make sure that you create a key. This will give the plaster something to adhere to.

To create a key, after sanding, it is recommended that you apply a coat of PVA and wait for that to go tacky. Once it gets tacky, you can then apply your skim coat of plaster. If you prefer to carry out more prep work, you can apply a coat of blue grit, giving your walls a better key that the plaster can grip to.

Can you skim over masonry paint?

Masonry paint can be skimmed over, but again it’s important to carry out the correct prep work beforehand. Masonry paint is designed for use on stone, brick, concrete, plaster, and many other surfaces. It is a highly durable paint that is acrylic-based.

If the paint is not in a poor condition, then you will need to remove it. This might be possible using a scraper. However, if the paint is still firm in places, you may need to use a heavy-duty paint stripper and laminated paint removal strips.

This is a job that takes some time, as the paint stripper needs to be applied before the strips are then placed on top. The strips can then be removed after the allocated time has passed, bringing the masonry paint with it.

If the masonry paint and walls are in a solid condition, then you’ll need to prepare them correctly. You’ll need to apply a bonding agent, as this will ensure there is no suction from the subsurface, preventing moisture from being drawn out of the plaster. Apply one coat of PVA or bonding agent and when this is tacky, you can then skim plaster.

Can you skim over distemper paint?

It is possible to skim over distemper paint, but you will need to carry out the right prep work. Distemper is an old paint that is often seen in older properties, it has a chalky consistency. This consistency is the reason it is not possible to skim directly over it.

As plaster needs a solid surface to bond to, you’ll need to make sure the chalky finish that comes with distemper paint is completely removed or dealt with correctly.

There are a number of options available, and they take time and effort but will give you a good base to skim over. This includes:

  • Scrubbing the walls with hot water or a wallpaper steamer to soften the distemper before scraping it off.
  • It is also possible to coat the paint with wallpaper paste. The paint will soak up the paste causing it to soften, enabling you to scrape it off using a scraper.

If you decide that you don’t want to completely remove the paint, you do have the option of sealing it. However, you will need to thoroughly wash the walls with hot water to remove the dust. It is then possible to apply a coat of PVA, Artex sealer or other sealing products before skimming.


So, as you can see, it is possible to skim over the different paints we have covered above. However, the recommendation is that you thoroughly check the surfaces for problems and remove them where necessary. The aim is to make sure that you have a strong surface that is suitable for the skim coat.

If you fail to carry out the right preparation, there is a chance that your skim plaster might fail. If the plaster does fail paint could weaken and come away from the wall. This is why it is so important to spend time on the prep work, to ensure the perfect finish.

Can You Skim Coat Over Paint? (Let’s Find Out) 2023

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Last updated on August 14th, 2022 at 01:28 pm

Skim coating has always been an option for damaged walls or minor cracks; most homeowners prefer it to orange feel textures. Also, it is a simple alternative to chipping away from texture materials and, even plasterers love using it.

Now, with the growing popularity of skim coating, people wonder if it’s applicable in every case. Thus, there is quite a growing concern about whether you can carry out skim coating over paint.

You can skim coat over paintings. But just in case the wall has been painted in recent times, don’t skim coat! The fact is, no matter how you paint your house or building, intentional or unintentional wear and tear are bound to occur. Skim coating is a good and easy technique to put all these damages in place.

Table of Contents

Can You Skim Coat Over Painted Plaster?

Skim coating over painted plaster is possible though you ought to think about some elements first, as the state of your plastered wall. If the paint on it appears to be alright and the wall is in a decent condition, you can skim coat over it with practically no doubts.

When I say a decent condition, it implies a wall with no breaks and damages. Skim coating over plaster that is already cracking is not a good thought.

Significantly, use a setting-type compound for the primary layer or base coat while skim coating over painted plaster.  Also, you should utilize a setting-type compound because they intensify drying by their synthetic activities. However, these activities don’t affect any paint on the wall.

On the other hand, air-drying compounds can debilitate a paint bond, causing the paint and skim-coating to fall away eventually. Nonetheless, once the base coat is on the wall, you can use a ready-mix joint compound for the second and third layers.

You can see how the skim coating removes a lot of burdens. It is as easy as that. Now you’re aware of applying a level five drywall finish over your painted plaster wall. Go and start yours!

How Do You Skim Coat Over Paint?

The process of skim coating over paint may take you some time, although it’s straightforward. You can skim coat over paint by firstly, getting rid of any shedding paint if there is, and lightly sanding the surface. After that, clean the surface, apply the joint compound, and allow it to dry. After it’s dried, sand the surface.

Also, in this skim coating process, you will need some pieces of equipment. For example, you’ll need medium coarseness sandpaper, a wet cloth or piece of fabric, a taping knife, and a wallboard joint compound.

1. Get rid of any shedding paint you find

The initial step of skim coating over paint is to check if there is any shedding paint on the wall or not. If you find any shedding paint on the wall that you plan to skim coat, eliminate it tenderly before starting.

2. Lightly sand the surface.

Take medium coarseness sandpaper, which I recommend from Amazon, and sand the surface softly with it. This stage is fundamental, particularly in a case where there is a gloss or semi-shine finish.

It will shape the surface somewhat rough. Likewise, you can eliminate wall paint with a drywall sander for a quick sanding process.

3. Properly clean the wall surface.

At this point, take the wet piece of cloth or fabric and clean the wall properly. This step helps to eliminate all the residue from the sanding. Additionally, it removes other derbies and dirt, if any are remaining.

In most cases, the wall turns out to be so dirty that only a piece of damp rag will not be able to clean it appropriately. Instead, you can utilize a gentle yet compelling dish cleanser in such a situation.

It will surely clean the wall impeccably. Ensure to allow the wall to dry before stepping into the next stage.

4. Apply the joint compound.

In applying the joint compound, you’ll need a wallboard joint compound and a taping knife, which I both recommend from Amazon. Use the taping knife to spread the drywall compound on the wall. You can even use any broad knife.

If the wall you wish to paint is big, use any 8, or 9-inch knife. It will be the best option. You also can use a 4-inch blade to deal with unnoticeable imperfections.

5. Allow it to dry, then sand it.

Wait for about 30 to 60 minutes after applying the compound to dry without any problem. After drying, take a Sandler or grit paper and sand the outskirts delicately to dispel ridges and other imperfections.

Then, apply a second skim coat again and wait until it dries. You could even sand the wall again if needed. After using the second coat of skim, hang tight for a more extended period so that the wall can dry appropriately.

Then, take a damp fabric or piece of cloth and wipe down the entire region to remove the dust and unwanted residues. Finally, skim coating over paint is straightforward. You merely need to follow the procedures step by step to achieve the desired result.

I suggest that you call the attention of a specialist in the field of skim coating and not try it yourself if you’ve never done it before or seen how it’s done.

Pros And Cons Of Skim Coating Over Paint?

Skim coating over paint has upsides and downsides. The upsides include; it gives you a beautiful and consistent surface, gets rid of the damages that wallpapers cause, updates your house, and makes it pleasing. In addition, you can easily apply it. Likewise, the downsides include the fact that the paint under the skim coat can start stripping and preparing the painted walls usually take much time, amidst others.

Advantages of Skim Coating Over Paint

1. Beautiful and consistent surface.

Skim coating over paint gives you lovely and steady surfaces, especially when there are long stretches of mileage from the occupants in the house or external agents. Surely these wears and tears destroy the walls or buildings.

Also, in the skim coating, they usually sand the walls before the main job of covering, which is an excellent procedure.

2. Eliminates damages wallpapers cause

The paintings underneath the wallpaper in your home might be ruined after some time when you have removed wallpapers. Skim coating assists you with recovering the walls in a short while.

Merely clear the wall surfaces totally, and apply the skim when the walls are completely smooth. If you mix and apply the skim coat correctly, the walls will last longer than you even think.

3. Ambience for your house

A short skim coat will make your house look more appealing and less outdated.

4. Easy to Apply

It is an excellent alternative to replace your current texture, especially when you’re tired of it. The good thing is that you can do it without paying for the previous work.

Disadvantages of Skim Coating Over Paint


Paint under the skim coating can start stripping

Paintings peeling underneath skim coats are the worst experience you can ever witness.  When painting strips under skim coats, they undermine the skim covering itself and result in uneven surfaces. Sometimes if you’re lucky, it can occur right in the process of your skim coating, where you’ll be able to fix things.

2. It usually takes a lot of time.

In the course of skim coating, you might take much time setting up the painted dividers. You may even need an intense sanding process to ensure that the walls are in good condition.

3. Extra costs which you may incur

There is likewise a chance that it will be costly because you’ll risk using more materials than usual.

4. Requires an expert individual

An amateurish individual wouldn’t be too good at completing on the outer layer of the wall. You need a person with professional skills to skim coat over paintings.

5. The whole process could be very stressful.

Skim coating is a more workable and skilled process. However, it needs more time while the joint compound drying precisely takes time. Just imagine the stress of going around a large surface area.

It’s more than you could even think cause in the final stages of the coating, you’ll need to apply the Joint compound and allow it dry, after which you’ll sand and repeat the process it can go on and on.

I strongly advise that if the state of the wall is not good, don’t skim over it. Also, observe if there is any shedding paint while surveying the condition of the walls. Remove any shedding paint if there’s any before you skim coat.

The nature of the paint you wish to skim coat over also matters. When skimming over painted surfaces, it’s ideal to allow the nature of the paint, guide the items you will use. Skim coating over paint won’t be a problem if you make legitimate and fundamental arrangements!


Skim coating is relevant in building and construction because it has created alternative techniques and methodologies. Now, it has gone to the extent where you could use it over paint and painted plaster.

Applying a skim coat over paint is also a straightforward process, air-drying compounds On but always try to weigh the upsides and downsides of skim coating over paint and see the one that suits you. If you feel skim coating will do more harm than good, it is always advisable to find another solution.

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Is it possible to plaster over paint?

Pavel Nazarov

During the finishing process, amateurs ask themselves the question – is it possible to plaster over paint? Such a coating is difficult to dismantle, so non-professional finishers sometimes apply material to paints and varnishes in order to save time. The result – after a few weeks, the finish falls off. To prevent this situation from happening, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the rules for preparing the surface before plastering, as well as decorating the plaster.

Plaster over paint


Coating analysis

There are two possible paint finishes:

  • Water based material. The product has a porous structure, so the coating can not be removed before plastering. The only exception is gypsum composition. If water-based paint comes into contact with this material, it will begin to crack and peel off. This will cause the finish to come off and necessitate restoration.
  • Oil composition. This tool was popular a few years ago. Now the material is practically not used. If such a coating is preserved on the walls, it will have to be dismantled. Oil paint has poor adhesion, so it cannot be plastered.

It is impossible to tell with the naked eye which paint was used to paint the surface. To determine the type of material, a test is recommended. To do this, moisten the surface with warm water using a sponge. The water-based coating will begin to foam and wear off, but not to the point where the material is completely removed. If after such manipulation the coating has not changed, then the coating was applied with oil paint.

Oil paint does not swell after washing

Can painted building substrates be plastered?

Is it possible to plaster over paint – this question is asked by many amateurs. Such manipulation is only permitted in the following cases:

  • If the paint adheres well to the surface. In the event that it completely or in some places peels off, then the material is dismantled before plastering. Ignoring this step will cause the paint to peel off with the new finish over time.
  • If the plaster is applied in a thin layer. A large amount of material will fall off under its own weight if the base has poor adhesion.

Plastering paint is not recommended in rooms with high humidity, even if the material is firmly attached to the building substrate. Over time, the paintwork will peel off under the action of moisture and fall off along with the finish.

Peeling paint must not be plastered

Paint removal methods:

  • Chemical method. The surface is treated with a special liquid that softens the paint. The products are safe for health, so these products are also used indoors. After applying the liquid, the paint swells and is easily removed with a spatula.
  • Heat treatment. The coating is exposed to high temperatures. To do this, use an industrial hair dryer, iron or gas burner. In this way, you can quickly remove paint from plaster and other building substrates. A small area of ​​the surface is treated with hot air and the coating is immediately removed with a spatula.
  • Mechanical method. It is based on the use of a spatula, sandpaper, grinder and other similar tools. The paint is peeled off by hand. If the coating is firmly attached to the base, then it will take a long time to dismantle it by this method.

Paint Stripping

Plastering Painted Building Substrate

Before finishing, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the rules that will tell you how to apply the plaster to the paint so that the material adheres securely to the surface.

Surface preparation:

  1. Surface examination. The building base is evaluated for the degree of drops and curvature to determine the thickness of the plaster layer. They study the type of coating and the reliability of fixation on the building base. Such activities will help to understand whether plaster can be applied to the paint or the coating will have to be dismantled.
  2. Removal of unreliable pavement areas. If the paint holds firmly and peels off only in places, these areas are cleaned with a spatula or sandpaper (as in the photo below).
  3. Surface cleaning. Removes dirty spots and dust. In case of severe contamination, the coating is washed with water.
  4. Priming of the base. For this finishing step, a penetrating paint primer is used. The surface is treated with the product twice with a break for drying. After applying the product, a rough coating is formed on the building substrate, which improves the adhesion of paint and plaster.

Cleaning the wall with a trowel

Plastering the base

Plaster is applied to the surface in two ways: by machine and by hand.

Machine application

To plaster the surface in this way, a special machine and material intended for mechanized application are used. Usually only professionals use this method, since the high price of the device makes it economically unprofitable for a one-time use. The advantages of mechanized application of plaster are high speed, ease of processing and the creation of a perfectly smooth base.

Another way to spray plaster on surfaces is to use a spray gun. This method applies only finely dispersed material. From the dry composition, the solution is mixed according to the instructions indicated on the package. The material is poured into the standard container of the apparatus, taken by the handle and the product is sprayed onto the surface. They do not use a special spray gun for plaster, but a conventional device for applying other building materials. The material is applied to the corners and then sprayed onto the surface. After processing the building base, the material is leveled with a rule.

Plastering with a spray gun

Manual application

Manual plastering instructions:

  1. Mix the mortar. To do this, pour cold water into a clean container and add the dry mixture. The proportions of products are indicated on the packaging. With a construction mixer, knead the solution of a homogeneous consistency. Leave the product for 15 minutes and stir the material.
  2. Spread mortar onto the surface with a special ladle or spatula. Level the product as a rule and remove the excess.
  3. Stop to dry material. Clean the surface with a construction float. Treat the base with two coats of primer. Take a break after each treatment. Perform surface decoration.

Manual application

Is it possible to paint plaster

Some amateurs who do their own finishing are also interested in the opposite question – is it possible to paint over plaster? Decorating the material is allowed only with certain types of paints and varnishes:

  • Water-dispersion paints based on acrylic resins. The material is moisture resistant and can be easily applied to the plaster.
  • Acrylic-latex water-based formulations. Possess moisture resistance and good adhesion to plaster.
  • Acrylic-silicone products. Such products have improved characteristics, but have a higher cost compared to previous products.

It is not recommended to paint the plaster with oil and alkyd paint, as well as nitro enamel. The materials have low vapor permeability, so their use leads to rotting of the plaster, the appearance of fungus and the destruction of the material and the building base.

Coloring plaster

Types of plaster for painting

Types of plaster for painting:

  • gypsum;
  • cement;
  • cement-sand;
  • clay.

The first two materials are most often used for painting. Gypsum agent is used inside dry rooms. The material creates a smooth surface, so painting on plaster is easy. The paintwork lays down evenly, without defects and roughness.

Cement plaster is used for facades and indoors with high humidity. The material levels the surface and masks minor and major damage to the building base. Painting cement plaster does not cause problems even for amateurs. The main thing is to decorate after the material has dried.

How to paint plaster?

Before painting the plaster with your own hands, it is recommended to treat the surface with a primer. This will improve the adhesion of the base to the paint composition. The surface is treated with a primer twice and after each application the master takes a break to dry the product.

Plaster painting algorithm:

  • the paint is stirred and passed through a metal sieve with small meshes to remove lumps;
  • material is applied to the surface with a brush and roller in multidirectional movements to achieve a uniform coating;
  • the base is treated with paint twice, the second layer is applied only after the first has dried.

If cement-lime plaster is to be painted, the paint is applied in three coats. After each treatment, take a break to dry the material.

Do-it-yourself decorative wall plastering

Decorative plaster is also used as a finishing coat. Such material eliminates the need to grind surfaces to a perfectly smooth state. The product finally levels the wall and masks small imperfections.

Decorative plaster is used for facade and interior wall decoration. Manufacturers of building materials produce products with different textures. Such products create textures on the surface: “bark beetle”, “fur coat”, “marble”, “leather” and others.

Beautiful plaster is created by hand, if you follow the rules of finishing indicated on the package.

The video in this article explains how to prepare enameled walls for plastering.

Can I putty over paint? (preparation and finishing steps)

It is quite common in old type buildings to have ceilings and walls painted with paint. When repairing, many people have a question about whether it is possible to putty on the paint? How much will the efforts be justified, or is it better to completely remove the old surface? To perform a quality repair, you need to take your time and follow some of the recommendations that are presented in this article.


A professional worker, when asked if putty can be applied over paint, will answer that it is better not to do this. At the same time, quite often it is very problematic or almost impossible to remove the old coating. Therefore, ways have been devised to solve the problem, which will allow putting putty on the painted surface.

Analysis of stained base

In order to find out if the walls can be plastered, the type of paint used to paint the surface is first determined. This is done with a sponge and warm water, which wets the wall or ceiling. If you put a little water on water-based paint, it starts to foam and rinses off well. In this case, the painted walls cannot be puttied on the paint; the entire layer must be carefully removed.

Important to know! To quickly remove dirt, a thin layer of paste is applied to a wet surface, which, after drying, is easily removed along with the painted surface.

Water emulsion should be removed, as it absorbs moisture, and the putty layer will simply fall off after drying. The coating is wetted with the same sponge or spray gun and left for 15-20 minutes. At the end of the time, the paint can be easily removed with a spatula, after which the surface is wiped with a damp cloth and dried.

When wondering whether it is possible to putty over water-based paint, it is worth remembering that this coating must be completely removed for further work on the wall.

If the paint does not come off under the influence of water, this is a drying oil based compound. Provided that the paint adheres well to the walls and the surface is clean, puttying on the paint is quite acceptable. It is recommended to scratch the surface with a metal spatula, if the enamel has peeled off, it must be removed.

If we talk about whether it is possible to putty on oil paint, it is worth noting that with even walls without defects, it is possible to putty the surface.

So, we can conclude that puttying walls with old paint is unacceptable in the following cases:

  • water-based enamel on walls or ceiling;
  • the surface is cracked.

Puttying painted walls is unacceptable if they have a loose, flaking surface. The fungus on the surface can even show through the putty layer, so it must first be removed.

Preparation of painted walls

Walls with oil paint adhere rather poorly to putty, so they need to be prepared for finishing work. With partial removal of paint and the remainder of scratches and other irregularities, the surface must be puttied before priming, and after drying, walk with sandpaper.

Walls can also be meshed with notches, scratched with a spatula or chisel to obtain a rough surface.

To avoid possible problems, it is best to remove as much paint from the walls as possible. This can be done in several ways:

  • Thermal. The paint is heated under the influence of a building hair dryer or blowtorch. After the done manipulations, everything is easily removed with a spatula.
  • Chemical. To remove, solvents and washes are used to soften the enamel layer. Chemical compounds are very toxic, so all work is carried out according to the instructions, you also need to use protective clothing and ventilate the room well.
  • Mechanical. Work is carried out using a grinder, a drill with a nozzle, a spatula and sandpaper. The most time-consuming method, in which a lot of dirt and dust remains, so it is better to work in a respirator.

In the video: cleaning the walls of old paint.

Putty preparation

The base to be putty must be dry and free from components such as dust, dirt and grease. The latter can be removed with a soapy solution, which is applied with a regular sponge. Before starting work, you need to check whether all loose parts of paint and plaster have been removed. You also need to embroider cracks with a hammer and chisel to a solid base. These defects are puttied based on the depth, it can be one or more layers.

To strengthen the old coating, as well as to roughen the walls for better adhesion, a primer layer is applied under the putty. The primer must be used based on the base material, the solution is applied with brushes or a roller. With high humidity in the room, a special antifungal composition is used. The consistency of the primer should not be very liquid, it is better not to dilute the solution with water.

When processing large areas, it is rather expensive and unprofitable to cover all walls with a primer, therefore, another method of obtaining a rough layer is often used, namely:

  • scratch the fine mesh with a sharp object;
  • sand the surface with a drill with a special nozzle or with coarse sandpaper.

Important to know! Carrying out such work requires the subsequent removal of dust with a vacuum cleaner or a damp cloth.

Filling steps followed by finishing

After surface preparation work, it is possible to start puttying, which takes place in several stages:

1. In case of unevenness or serious defects, the walls are first leveled with a starting putty with a coarse-grained structure. Plastered in several layers of small thickness, this is much better than once with a large layer.

2. The surface is cleaned with a special mesh or emery to remove sagging.

3. Apply a finishing putty, which should also be sanded to a smooth surface, especially if it will be subsequently covered with acrylic paint. It is worth noting that there is a putty on acrylic, which fits perfectly on the walls and creates a strong connection after hardening.

4. At the final stage, the surface is primed, after which the walls can be painted or wallpapered. On a well-made surface, any materials lie simply and for a long time.

Rules for applying putty

Putty on the painted surface must be applied starting from the corner, moving to the opposite edge. First of all, attention is paid to the corners, so they are passed with special care. Irregularities are removed using a rule that can be used to check the alignment of the wall in different directions.

Different types of putty must be used for painting and wallpapering. Putty in 5-6 layers if we are talking about further painting, or in 2-3 layers if wallpaper will be glued. After hardening, each layer is rubbed with sandpaper.

When working in putty, air bubbles form, which can be removed using the same sandpaper. Actions must be carried out carefully so that irregularities do not form, otherwise you will have to do puttying again.

Wall painting

To get a beautiful color, painting should be done taking into account some rules:

  • The wall must be sanded to get a flat and perfectly smooth surface, because after the paint has set, it will not be able to hide possible defects and irregularities.
  • Wait until the putty mixture is completely dry.
  • Paint the surface starting from the ceiling, so that possible drips can be avoided.

Compliance with all recommendations is the key to obtaining a high-quality and reliable coating that will last for quite a long time over many years. The article fully provides information on how to putty on the paint, when you can put putty on the paint, how the primer should go and all the basic rules for preparing the finish coat for painting.