When working on home renovations, makeovers, and DIY projects, one of the hardest parts is waiting for paint to dry. It surely tries our patience, but it is crucial to allow the paint to fully dry between coats to avoid smudges and uneven texture.
So, now comes the big question: how long does paint take to dry? Well, it will depend on the kind of paint you are using because they all have different drying times. For example, latex paint can be dry to the touch in about 1 hour, whereas oil-based paint takes between 6 and 8 hours to be dry to the touch.
And that is not all! There are three other factors that affect the drying process directly: paint application, humidity and temperature of the room, and ventilation. By keeping these factors in mind, you can speed up the drying process considerably. We will give you all the juicy tips so that “watching paint dry” does not become a reality.
Do you want to know how to achieve professional results when painting along with a detailed summary of how long it takes for paint to dry? Then keep reading to find out!
How long does it take oil-based paint to dry?
Oil-based paint is a lot more durable than other types of paint, and it can produce better results as well. However, it is probably the one that takes the longest to dry. So, to achieve that smooth and nice-looking gloss finish, it is important that you wait at least 6 hours for it to be dry to the touch. If you are not in a hurry to finish your project, then we recommend that you wait 8 hours, which is the optimal time for letting oil-based paints rest.
You should wait 24 hours before applying a second coat, just to be sure that the paint is completely dry. Oil-based paints can be hard to clean since you cannot use water, so it is best to avoid any smudging by adding another layer too early.
If time is of the essence for your project, then you can mix an oil drying agent with the paint to reduce the drying time.
How long does it take latex paint to dry?
Latex paint is water-based, so it dries quicker than its oil-based counterparts. Because cleanup is easy and waiting times are short, latex paint is most commonly used for interiors.
Some water-based paints can be dry to the touch within 30 minutes of application. Latex, specifically, takes closer to 1 hour to be completely dry to the touch, and about 4 hours until it is ready for another coat.
Latex has come a long way in terms of durability, so if you are a beginner or in a hurry to finish your project, you can’t go wrong with it.
How long does it take spray paint to dry?
Spray paint is extremely popular nowadays, especially among DIYers who like to spruce up their furniture or home décor with a touch of color. With spray-painting, you will find no brushstrokes in sight, just an even coat. You can achieve a smooth finish effortlessly, even on textured surfaces!
But how long should you wait between coats? This can be tricky to answer because waiting times for spray paint can vary a lot depending on the material you are working on.
The rule of thumb with spray paint (or with any other kind of paint for that matter) is that the smoother the surface, the quicker the paint dries. Likewise, the more porous and permeable the material, the longer it takes to dry.
Let us see the drying times for the three most common materials you can spray paint.
- Plastic – It takes about 30 minutes for the paint to be completely dry. After 20 it will be dry to the touch, but if you are not careful when checking the state of the paint, you can leave your fingerprints on it. So, it is best to just wait the extra 10 minutes.
- Metal – This is probably the easiest material to spray paint. It only takes about 10 minutes for thin layers to be completely dry. Granted, you will need several coats of paint to cover the whole surface, but the drying time is so low that you will make quick work of it.
- Wood – This is the material that takes the longest to dry. Depending on the type of wood and how porous it is, you might want to wait at least 1 hour for it to be dry to the touch. To recoat you will have to wait between 3 and 5 hours.
As you can see, spray paint dries rather quickly, which makes it a great choice for small projects. However, the drying times for spray paint can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so make sure to always read the instructions before applying it.
How can I speed up the paint drying process?
To speed up the paint drying process, there are three main factors that you should consider: application, humidity and temperature, and ventilation.
The correct application of paint plays a key role in the paint drying process. Thick coats take ages to dry, and that is why you should always make sure to apply thin layers. Furthermore, thick coats may drip down paint, dry unevenly or leave smudges. They can ruin your project, forcing you to remove the paint and start all over again. So, two thin coats are always better than a thick one.
To achieve an even application on large surfaces, we suggest that you use a paint-roller or a spray paint gun because painting with a brush often leads to thicker coats.
You should also remember to stir the paint regularly. Oil-based paint separates often, and latex less so, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Humidity and temperature
Humidity is the level of moisture in the air, so the higher the humidity percentage the longer it’ll take for the water in the paint to evaporate. You should try to paint when the humidity levels are around 50% or lower.
Avoid painting if it has rained recently, as humidity levels are going to be high. Check the weather forecast as well to be sure there is no rain in sight.
If you live in a humid area, the ideal time for painting is the dryer period, or at least after it has been dry for several days. If you are painting inside, you can speed up the drying process by closing the windows and running a dehumidifier or turning the air conditioner on to draw some of the moisture out of the air.
The temperature of the room you are working in is also an important factor to consider. If it is too cold, the paint will not be able to dry at all. On the contrary, if it is too hot, the top layer of the paint might dry too quickly and result in bumps or blisters.
Ideally, the room should have a temperature of 50 °F (10 °C). This number might vary slightly depending on the type of paint. For example, latex paint requires a temperature between 50 °F and 85° F (10 °C – 30 °C), while oil-based paint can be used when it is between 40 °F and 90 °F (5 °C – 32 °C).
So, basically, when it comes to weather conditions you should avoid humid days and extreme temperatures.
Good ventilation can speed up the paint drying process drastically. If it is not too humid outside and the temperature is mild, you should open a window on opposite sides of the room to facilitate ventilation.
If that is not possible, you can also set a fan on low or medium speed to help the paint dry quicker. However, keep in mind that the room should be clean of any dust or dirt that could accidentally stick to the paint.
The process of waiting for paint to dry can be quite tedious. Luckily, we have given you the average wait time for the three main types of paint (oil-based, latex, and spray paint) so that you do not have to check every 10 minutes to see if it is finally dry.
We have also included some factors that can speed up the process if your project is time-sensitive. Remember that thin layers and good ventilation are key. Also, be sure to check the weather forecast to plan your painting job for a day with optimal humidity and temperature conditions.
By following this guide and the manufacturer’s instructions you are sure to achieve the best painting results!