Learn the Real Time It Takes Paint to Dry, According to the Pros!

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In all likelihood, the response will be much more extensive than you anticipate.

Knowing how long paint takes to dry is essential whether you're a professional painter or a do-it-yourself pro at home renovations. It's possible for paint to look dry even if it isn't yet completely dry. Why? This is common when the last coat you apply to your wall has dried but the layers beneath it have not. If you think your paint is dry before it actually is, you may end up with unsightly streaks and bubbles. Being aware of how long it takes the paint you're using to dry is one approach to circumvent this issue altogether. Below, industry professionals provide their best advice for telling whether or not your paint is dry.

The time required for paint to dry varies.

Complex paint chemistry, says dj-painting, results in drying durations that range from virtually instant for some products to, by design, literally never for others. Nonetheless, "average consumer paints for one's house," when dried at a moderate temperature, can be touched within an hour.

The paint must be dry enough to apply a second layer, of course. He says, "The key concepts here are 'Dry' and 'Cure.'" Just like any other quality, "dry" can be modified to varying degrees. According to DJ-Painting, drying occurs on a molecular level, meaning that the time it takes for the paint to dry enough to apply another coat will be shorter than the time it takes for the paint to be really dry to the touch (cure). This time frame is subject to change, but dj-painting estimates that you'll need to wait at least 72 hours before you can safely introduce your children or pets to the newly painted walls.

Which paints dry the quickest, and why?

It's possible that some paints will take longer to dry than others because they're made of different ingredients. It takes four to six hours for acrylic paints to dry, according to dj-painting. However, water-based alkyd paints can take anywhere from six to eight hours to dry. Enjoy the space while the paint cures, but don't do any major cleaning until the paint is completely dry, advises dj-painting.

The question is why some paints take longer to dry than others.

Science is the driving force. According on the chemistry included within the paint, drying times vary widely. "Oil-based and alkyd-based paints dry noticeably slower than acrylic and latex paints," one author writes, whereas the opposite is true with acrylic and latex paints. "Water-based alkyds, latex, and acrylic paints like Curator have a substantially faster drying time due to the exceptionally low VOC [Volatile Organic Compounds] content." Some solvent-based paints can take up to 24 hours to cure.

How else can you affect the drying time of a paint?

Paint drying time can also be affected by environmental conditions. The drying conditions, humidity, and temperature are other important factors to consider, as dj-painting points out. Think about where you'll be painting and how well it is ventilated, how humid it is, and what temperature it is. In the case of water-based paints, for instance, better drying conditions can be achieved by increasing the circulation of air around the coating while it dries. Drying time increases in cooler temperatures and more humidity, so keep that in mind if you plan on painting outdoors. Similarly, dj-painting warns that extreme heat might hasten the drying process by evaporating water from coats and paint. This may cause problems with the program if (patchiness, roller marks, and so forth). The application process might be facilitated by adding up to five percent water if you are working in extremely hot temperatures.

How can you learn to paint like a pro?

DJ-Painting advises patients if they want a professional look. Ignoring the paint manufacturer's recommended drying and curing timeframes might result in paint failure and issues including blistering, cracking, and peeling, according to dj-painting. To achieve the greatest results while painting, however, it is important to be familiar with the paint type, the time intervals between coats, and the curing period.


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