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I've recently painted a room with latex paint. To finish the room I need to reinstall outlet covers, as well as some other fixtures that screw to the wall. I was wondering how long I should let the paint dry/cure before putting these on so that I minimize the chances of them sticking to the paint and peeling it up when they're removed in the future. Any tips/tricks to minimize their adhesion to the paint?

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Most latexes cite 30 days drying before allowing scrubbing. The rubber component will never fully release adhesion, if compressed (such as a cover fully tightened. Latex enamels will cure 'harder', making them better for trim (over a wall formulation). I like @mike 's suggestion of candle wax. Paraffin might be a bit cleaner (and with a lower melting point, easier to apply). –  HerrBag Jul 15 '13 at 19:05
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Wax the back edges with a candle. Tighten only as much as necessary.

In the future, if a cover plate does not fall off after removing the screws, use a knife to score around it's perimeter. Scoring will go a long ways in preventing visible/exposed paint from being pulled off with the plate.

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I would give it 24 hours to be safe. Best way to minimize adhesion is to just let it dry. If you need to get the covers on sooner (say you have kids crawling around) then I would say to just loosely tighten the screw until 24 hours has past, and then go back and tighten the wall plates.

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