How Long Does It Take for Paint to Dry?
Although it isn’t very interesting to watch, allowing the paint to dry is an important step in painting your home, whether it is to allow for the application of further coats of paint, or simply to know that the paint won’t come off if the walls are touched.
There are a few common types of paints that are used for interior painting — water-based, oil-based, and latex based. Each type of paint has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and they all take different amounts of time to dry, ranging from between one and three hours to between six and eight hours.
Keep reading to find info on different types of paint and how long it takes paint to dry, as well as general information on interior painting and repainting.
Set Time vs. Dry Time
How long does it take for paint to set or become fully cured? Most paints will dry after a few hours but it is much harder for the paint project to “set” before it can be repainted. Typically the paint must adhere quickly so as to give a strong finish. Properly cured paint can be painted over without affecting it.
Why Paint Recoat Time Matters
A dry surface and a lack of moisture or temperature can affect the finish of paint. One way to easily damage your painting is by applying a second coat to a freshly painted room.
Paint is non-touchable between coats, and paint that has not set remains wet, liquid, and pliable. After the setting period, it’s possible to apply a second coat of paint without disturbing the first coat.
Paint Drying Time According to Paint Type
As mentioned above, different types of paint will make it take longer to dry. Your work may require a durable oil or latex color, or you may choose latex paints with fewer volatile organic compounds with crack-resistant properties. It’s important to know the drying time for the products you are using for your paint job. Refer to the manufacturer’s directions if you are unsure.
Interior paint types are only a small part of this equation, however — other factors such as application and humidity can also affect setting time.
Recoat Time for Water-Based Paint
Paints that are based primarily on water tend to dry faster. Flat paint has fewer binding agents while glossy paint (water-based and oil-based) contains more binding agents. Glossiness also translates to a longer paint-drying process. The flatter the color, the quicker it will dry.
Water-based paints typically dry within an hour and are safe to repaint after about three hours.
Recoat Time for Oil based Paint
Oil-based paints have more stability and take longer to dry compared to water. Oil paint is also flammable while in liquid form, but becomes non-flammable after the binding agent evaporates.
Oil-based paint dries in about two to four hours but may take as long as eight hours. They should be safe to repaint after a day or so.
Recoat Time for Latex Paint
Latex paints dry faster, are easier to clean, and are non-flammable in liquid form. This sets latex paint apart from oil-based paint, making it a popular option in many cases. Latex paint typically dries within an hour and is safe to repaint after about four to six hours.
Which Paint Jobs Require Multiple Coats?
Several coats of paint are generally required to properly cover up the colour of the wall underneath the paint. Without applying more than one coat, the previous colour may show through. The manufacturer’s instructions should mention how many coats are required.
More complex paint jobs might also require several coats. For example, if you wanted to put stenciled designs or other patterns onto the paint surface. Several coats may also be required for painting things other than walls, such as cabinet hardware.
How Does Application Affect Paint Drying Time for Oil Based Paints and Other Types of Paint?
When applied correctly, wet paint can have a quicker drying time. This makes work much easier and also prevents dripping and streaking. Even when some paints claim that it’ll be “one coat,” this does not mean it’ll be the perfect color.
If you try to apply paint in one thick coat rather than two thin coats, you might end up with streaks or drips. Thick coats also take longer to dry than thin ones and can be more easily disturbed when they have not been set.
Temperature and Humidity Factors
Even if you are not doing exterior painting, the ambient temperature, humidity, air conditioning, and fresh air can have an effect on how long it takes the paint to dry. The ideal painting temperature is between 16° C and 26° C, or 60° F and 80° F in dry weather. Colder temperatures will make the paint dry slower, but high temperatures can make the paint dry too quickly.