Anyone’s patience can be tested while waiting for paint to dry. It is preferable to have a more precise time frame instead of speculating how long it will take.
This article will discuss various paint drying times and the factors that influence how long it takes for paint to dry.
How much time does it take for paint to dry? Oil-based paints dry in 6-8 hours. However, you may need to wait another 24 hours before recoating the surface.
Latex paint dries faster – in about an hour – and you may safely apply a second coat within 4 hours.
The drying time of various types of paints varies due to many factors. Continue reading to learn more about how long it takes different types of paint to dry and the factors that influence total drying time.
Table of Contents
The drying process of paint
Dry time for the first coat
The thickness and application of your paint can directly impact how long it takes to dry. The amount of time it takes for your wall to dry will also vary dramatically depending on how you choose to paint it.
A paint roller is ideal for smooth to semi-smooth walls since it allows for a thinner coat of paint to be applied. It normally takes 30 to 90 minutes for the paint to be dry to the touch.
The drying time of paint is determined by the type of paint, sheen, thickness of application, and the application method.
Using a brush delivers substantially more paint. While a paintbrush is more convenient to hold and dip directly into your paint, its application is thicker and takes longer to dry.
However, when you use a paint sprayer, the applied paint isn’t nearly as thick as when you use a brush or a roller, needing the least amount of time.
Adding a second coat
After the initial layer of paint has dried, it is okay to recoat after four to six hours. A decent rule of thumb is to wait at least three hours before recoating your water-based paint or primer.
For oil-based paint and primer, it is recommended to wait 24 hours. If you’re unsure, the instructions on the paint’s label are your best bet.
Curing refers to the time it takes for paint to harden completely to resist scratching. Waiting for your paint to dry to the touch could take as little as an hour, but it could take up to a day to dry enough for a second coat.
However, drying it sufficiently to be washed or subjected to other uses could take weeks.
Waiting weeks to return your belongings to their normal place isn’t ideal, but it’s necessary. Depending on the humidity and temperature in the room, we recommend giving it one to three weeks. Allow your paint to cure before setting up anything or moving furniture.
How long does it take for paint to dry?
Several factors determine the drying time of the paint. I’ll list how various long types of paint take to dry based on the following factors:
Factor #1: Humidity and temperature
Temperature and humidity are two crucial factors influencing how long paint dries. The ideal temperature or humidity level is determined mostly by the weather and the type of paint used.
So, what happens if you paint when it’s too cold or too hot outside?
- Cold Weather
Colder conditions — less than 50ºF (10ºC) – make it harder to apply paint smoothly and consistently. If you use oil-based paints or alkyds, they may grow thicker.
Water-based paints, on the other hand (also known as acrylic or latex paints), are especially sensitive to freezing when exposed to low temperatures.
- Hot Weather
When the weather is excessively hot, the paint may dry faster. It may also cause the primer (also known as the base coat) to lose adhesion to the topcoat, resulting in peeling.
To avoid this issue, paint in the shade rather than in the sunshine.
Both oil-based and water-based paints can be affected by high humidity. Because of the increased moisture in the air, the solvents in latex and acrylic paints evaporate considerably faster than the water in the paint.
Drips, dust contamination, and cracking or bubbles (due to moisture trapped under the paint) may occur as a result.
To avoid these issues, what temperature should your home be inside or outside?
On the labels, manufacturers normally state the minimum and maximum suggested temperatures. Water-based paints, in general, require temperatures ranging from 50ºF to 85ºF (10ºC to 29.4ºC).
Oil-based paints range from 40ºF to 90ºF (4.4ºC to 32.2ºC). The ideal humidity level for painting is between 40 and 70 percent.
Factor #2: Paint type
The type of paint is the second most important factor in determining “how long does paint take to dry?” There are numerous types of paints available on the market. Their applications and drying periods also differ substantially.
Below, we’ll go through eight of the most common types of paint.
1. Oil-Based Paint
Doors, windows, walls, and steel structures are typically painted with oil-based paints. In humid temperatures, they do not dry completely.
If you want them to dry quickly, use them in warmer weather, such as summer, or at temperatures of at least 70ºF (21ºC).
Drying Time: Under typical conditions, oil-based paints may take 6-8 hours to dry to the touch.
2. Enamel Paint
Enamel paint, often known as oil-based enamel paint, is used to paint surfaces regularly subjected to temperature changes. The real benefit of enamel paint is that it produces a long-lasting, glossy surface.
Drying Time: This is determined by the type of enamel paint used. You’ll have to wait 8-24 hours for oil-based enamel (alkyd-based) to dry.
If it’s water-based enamel (also known as latex or acrylic), you’ll need to wait 1-2 hours, or possibly less, before it completely dries.
3. Emulsion Paint
Emulsion paint is a type of water-based paint commonly used on walls and ceilings. It has a low odor, is simple to use, and dries quickly.
Drying Time: Water-based emulsion paints are touch-dry within 1-2 hours of application. However, you will need to wait 4 hours before adding a second coat.
4. Bituminous Paint
Bituminous paint protects concrete, wood, asphalt, and ferrous and nonferrous metals against elements and corrosion. In most scenarios, it lasts longer when applied to porous surfaces that aren’t exposed to long periods of direct sunlight.
Time to Dry: Most bituminous paints dry in 2-4 hours.
5. Cement Paint
Masonry paint, also known as elastomeric paint, is the preferred paint for cement because it can contract and expand. When used appropriately, it can last up to ten years.
Drying Time: It takes 4-6 hours for masonry paint to completely dry. However, if the temperature is too cold or too humid, it may take longer to dry. Recoat after at least 24 hours.
6. Aluminum Paint
Aluminum paint is a mixture composed of aluminum flakes and oil varnish. It’s frequently used on well-prepared metal surfaces to give them an aluminum finish that’s very resistant to corrosion and rust.
Drying Time: If no other color pigments are present, aluminum paint should dry and harden completely in 1-2 hours in warm weather.
7. Cellulose Paint
Cellulose paint is used for various tasks, including painting a classic car. It’s easy to use, forgiving, and excellent when drying time is critical.
Drying Time: Cellulose paint dries entirely in around 12 hours.
8. Silicate Paint
Silicate paints are inorganic, zinc-containing paints. They have the remarkable capacity to preserve ferrous metals from corrosion, such as stainless steel and wrought iron. This paint is long-lasting, environmentally safe, and weather-resistant.
Silicate paints dry entirely in 1 hour, but you must wait another 6-12 hours before adding a second layer.
Factor #3: Ventilation level
Paint drying and curing times are affected by ventilation. When combined with high humidity and excessive temperatures, poor ventilation can result in comparatively sluggish drying times, uneven curing, and a poor-quality finish.
Assume you’re painting your room’s walls and ceiling with water-based paint, which has a 60-70 percent concentration by volume of water. Approximately 3,000 millimeters of water are added to the air when you’re finished.
Because of the increased humidity, this technique causes the paint to dry more slowly, although enough ventilation could speed up the process.
How long should you wait before settling into your poorly ventilated room? It depends, but you may need to wait a day or two before starting to move stuff in.
The drying period is not the only reason you should ensure sufficient ventilation when painting an object or place. Chronic inhalation of hazardous fumes from paint has been linked to various health problems, including moderate asthma, nausea, dizziness, and severe headaches.
To promote ventilation when painting, open windows and use fans. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, depending on the paint you’re using, you may need to maintain employing fans for 48-72 hours afterward. 
Factor #4: Painting application
The general guideline is that the more layers of paint you apply, the longer you have to wait before doing your second coat. If you apply a thick layer of paint, you will also have to wait longer for it to dry.
Know how long you should wait between coats of paint to avoid these issues. The following are the many types of paint finishes and their recoating times:
- Matte – between 30 minutes to 2 hours
- Glossy – between 1 and 2 1/2 hours
- High Gloss (Alkyds) – within 24 hours
Generally, a recoating time of 1 to 2 1/2 hours is expected.
Another option is to thin paints. The consistency of most water-based paints, such as latex paints, is thicker than oil-based paints.
Water can be used to thin them. On the one hand, oil-based paints can be thinned with paint thinners.
Some high-quality paints are ready to use and do not need to be thinned. Here are some quick techniques to see if your paint needs to be thinned before use:
- Dip a stick (or another stirring implement) into the paint you’ll be using.
- Take it out and observe how rapidly the paint drips off the stick. If it drips well, there’s no need to dilute it with thinner or water to make it less dense.
Factor #5: Material painted on
The drying time of the paint will be affected by the material, particularly its current condition and anticipated use. Some typical types of paint used today, their drying durations, and certain materials painted on.
Latex Paints (Water-Based Paints)
- Plaster (for internal walls and ceilings) – 1 hour
- Drywall – 1 hour
- Concrete – 2-4 hours
Enamel Paints (Oil-Based Paints)
- Plaster (for internal walls and ceilings) – 6-8 hours
- Drywall – 6-8 hours
- Concrete – 6-10 hours
Wood and Concrete Stains
- Wood – 1-3 hours (wait 2-4 days before exposing to water)
- Concrete – 2 hours
Factor #6: Mediums mixed with paint
The mediums used with the paint are the final aspect to consider when answering the question, “How long does it take paint to dry?” Household paints contain mediums that either speed up or slow the drying period.
Slow-drying alkyd or oil-based paints are frequently pre-mixed with drying mediums like Liquin, Galkyd, and Neo-Megilp. On the other hand, water-based household paints do not often require additives to dry faster (or slower).
There are three types of drying media for household paints:
1. Primary Driers
Cobalt, manganese, cerium, and vanadium are examples of main driers, sometimes known as top driers. The primary function of primary driers is to promote surface drying.
2. Through Driers
Lead, strontium, and zirconium are examples of through driers. The fundamental function of through driers is to ensure that the paint dries uniformly rather than only on the top of the film.
3. Auxiliary Driers
Auxiliary driers include barium, calcium, and zinc. Because they lack a drying effect, they are frequently employed with other major driers such as cobalt and manganese.
Their primary function is to alter the effect of the other paint driers.
Factor #7: Make an extra effort to be patient.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions for the paint you’re using, and add a few minutes to the periods to be safe. If you’re working in a less-than-ideal environment (such as a room with fluctuating temperatures, poor ventilation, or high humidity), use the manufacturer’s directions as a guideline, adding as much time as needed to avoid the ill-fitting finish that comes with applying a second coat of paint too quickly.
How to make the paint dry faster
- If you’re short on time, there are several easy ways to make latex or oil-based paints dry faster. Here are a few examples:
- Apply thinner coats of paint to provide an even and faster drying period on the surface.
- Avoid painting the side of your house facing the sun to avoid blistering or bubbling paint. Most south-facing homes receive the most sun in the front, while north-facing homes receive the most sun in the back.
- If you must paint in humid conditions, use a heater, hairdryer, or dehumidifier.
- If you know the weather will be frigid for several days, reschedule it for the spring or summer.
- Keep all windows open to facilitate proper airflow through the space.
- Place multiple box fans in or near your windows to improve air circulation in the room.
Conclusion – How long does it take for paint to dry?
To summarize, how long does it take for paint to dry? The temperature of your surroundings, the humidity level, the ventilation in the area, and the type of paint you’re using.
How you apply it, the presence of drying mediums, and the material you’re going to paint on are just a few of the factors that influence the drying and curing times of household paints.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label to achieve a smooth, faultless finish.
Because oil-based paints are slow-drying, they take much longer to dry than water-based paints. Their typical drying time is 6-8 hours. However, it is not recommended to apply a second coat for at least another 24 hours.
Water-based paints, like latex paints, dry to the touch in about an hour. It’s ideal for applying another coat of water-based paint after four hours.
Faq on how long it takes for paint to dry
Consider the answers to these commonly asked questions if you still need more information about paint dry times.
How long after can you hang things after painting?
Wait until your paint project has fully cured before hanging artwork or resuming routine use of a freshly painted surface. Latex paint has a cure period of up to a month, whereas oil-based paint has a cure time of roughly a week.
Is it really necessary to wait 4 hours between paint coats?
Yes, patience is essential if you want long-lasting, great results. Failure to wait the prescribed recoat period might weaken the bond between the surface and the paint, potentially causing the paint to crack, blister, or peel later on.
The 4-hour wait time between coats of latex paint is advised, but for an oil-based product, wait 24 hours.
How long should you wait between paint coats?
4 hours is the recommended dry time between applications of latex paint. Wait 24 hours between coats of oil-based paint.
How long will it be before you can sleep in a painted room?
Paint emits gases and odors as it dries. This is one of the reasons why water-based paint, which contains fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds) than oil-based paint, is favored for interiors, particularly bedrooms. Even if you use low-VOC, water-based paint, you should wait at least 4 hours before sleeping in the room.
Wait at least 24 hours after applying oil-based paint before sleeping in a freshly painted room. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations as well.
Is primer required?
There are a few instances where the primer is required. The first is when you use a light color over a darker color. If you try to paint a light color over dark paint color, such as yellow over red, the yellow will not be solid yellow.
Primer will serve as a foundation for your work. Primer is also recommended when painting fresh drywall because it absorbs paint. What’s the best part about it all? Primer is significantly less expensive than regular paint.
This means you can spend more money on high-quality paint!
Do I begin with the trim, the walls, or the ceiling?
Different people will have different ideas about how to paint a room. Typically, the ceiling and walls are primed first when constructing a house.
The trim is then installed, caulked, primed, and coated. Then, it stands to reason that you should do so in the same order if you’re repainting a room. Although you may not be repainting the ceiling, it is a good idea to keep it in mind and repaint it regularly.
When painting, start with the walls and work your way down, finishing with the trim. This makes the most sense because if something splatters when you paint, you won’t have to reapply to cover up what was already covered.
Is it important what type of brush I use?
Yes, it is! A china bristle brush is an excellent idea if you’re using oil-based paint. If you’re using latex-based paint, use a synthetic brush.