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Deciding to give your walls a new coat of paint is exciting, but the anticipation of waiting for them to properly dry can be torture. Sometimes, you just can’t wait to re-hang your art or move your furniture back into place after a fresh coat—but you should. Trying to figure out how long to wait can be tricky, and a little boring, but totally worth it in the end. Water Based Wood Paint Colours
According to designer Anita Mullane, knowing the type of paint you’re using goes a long way in understanding how to get the best results. This research can even help prevent uneven textures or visible imperfections during the process.
Brooke Grasley, founder of Restore Decor and More, says as a general rule—in ideal conditions— you can usually apply the second coat within two to four hours of the first coat. According to design writer Emily David, “with modern convalescent paint technology, the paint dries quicker than ever.”
While the painting process could technically be completed overnight you want to ensure that your paint is thoroughly dry before moving forward. A few things to consider are temperature, humidity, type of paint and finish. Advertisement THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary. Tired Of Looking At Dull, Faded Surfaces? Book painting services and compare quotes form highly rated painters near you. Find local pros on HomeAdvisor that offers both residential & commercial painting services. Explore Options
Tired Of Looking At Dull, Faded Surfaces?
Book painting services and compare quotes form highly rated painters near you. Find local pros on HomeAdvisor that offers both residential & commercial painting services.
There are three primary types of paint: water-based, latex and oil-based.
Water-based paints dry faster than oil-based paints because they’re thinner, and easily affected by airflow. A thicker paint (like two-in-one paint and primer) takes longer to paint (and dry) because it’s significantly thicker. Sheen is another aspect to consider. Matte paint dries faster than glossier paint, in fact, using a glossier paint can add up to an hour to your total dry time.
According to professional DIYer and interior designer Cara Newhart, there are three important time frames when it comes to paint drying: dry time, recoat time and cure time.
Thickness and application of your paint can directly affect how long it takes your paint to dry. Your dry time will also vary greatly depending on how you choose to paint your wall. A paint roller is best for smooth to semi-smooth walls and will apply paint in a thinner coat. For the initial drying time, it usually takes 30 to 90 minutes to be dry to the touch. Paint drying time depends on the type of paint, sheen, thickness of application and application method.
Andrew Wilson, a contractor with Contractor Advisorly, says there is much more paint when using a brush. While a paintbrush may feel more comfortable to hold and dip directly into your paint, it’s application is thicker, and will take longer to dry. On the other hand, if you use a paint sprayer, the paint that gets applied isn’t nearly as thick as a brush, or a roller, requiring the least amount of time.
After your first coat of paint is dry, it’s safe to recoat typically after four to six hours. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least three hours to recoat your paint or primer if it’s water-based. Waiting 24 hours is best for oil-based paint and primer. If you’re unsure, the instructions on the paint’s label can give you the best final say.
The time it takes for paint to harden completely so that it resists scratching, is called curing. The wait time required for your paint to become dry to touch could be as soon as an hour, but for it to be dry enough for a second coat could take up to a day. However, having it dry enough to wash or subject to other use could take weeks.
Waiting weeks to move your things back to normal isn’t ideal, but it is necessary. We recommend giving it one to three weeks, depending on the humidity and temperature in the room. Wait for your paint to cure before mounting anything or moving furniture back into place.
Painting during the spring or fall is ideal because the temperatures aren’t too hot or cold. If you’re painting in a hot or chilly room, expect increased drying times. The best temperature to paint a room in is a warm room with low humidity.
Airflow is necessary in order to paint to dry quickly. If your ventilation is poor and you don’t have the ability to open a window, expect much longer drying times than if you were working in a room with high ventilation.
The more humid a room is, the longer paint will take to dry. Put simply, the moisture in the air inhibits the paint’s ability to stick to the wall and dry. If you live in a high-humidity area and plan to paint soon, consider getting a dehumidifier to reduce humidity to 50 percent or less.
When considering paint colors, some people are surprised to learn that darker colors may require additional dry time. Regardless of all the variables, there is no exact time to wait for your paint to dry. To be safe, Newhart suggests that you err on the side of caution when deciding whether you’re waiting too long, or not long enough.
Paint finishes also contribute to the overall process of painting and letting it dry. Molly Machmer-Wessels, designer at Woodland Design Company, says you should allow for two hours of dry time for satin and semi-gloss finishes. Glossy paint finishes require the longest wait time which is about three hours before being able to re-coat.
Bill Samuel is a general contractor who rehabs houses in Chicago. Samuel says to “reference the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific paint you purchase and follow their guidelines on wait times for between coats.” Since the environment you are painting in can affect the amount of time it takes for your paint to dry, also be sure to consider the temperature and humidity levels to estimate your dry time.
While most people use a plastered wall as the surface of their paint project, other surfaces require different dry times. According to Grasley and other designers, here are general rules of thumb to follow when waiting a minimum amount of time for your paint to dry:
If you want to speed up the paint drying process, you have a little bit more control with interior paint jobs. For water-based paints, increasing airflow can help in speeding up the drying time. So, if you’d like to increase the drying rate, be sure to open up windows and bring in a light fan to increase ventilation.
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Apply light coats of paint, and paint one wall at a time to allow for the most circulation to work on drying that side. You can also use a hairdryer or heater and make sure that you have proper ventilation.
Oil-based paint usually takes up to 24 hours to be dry to the touch.
While it’s not always ideal, you should wait for one to three weeks, depending on the humidity, temperature and ventilation in your room, before putting furniture back.
Your room’s paint may dry anywhere between a few hours and a day after painting, you should aim to stay out of that room for a few weeks afterward. Toxic chemicals could be released in this timeframe, so ventilation is an important factor to ensure you’re not inhaling anything in that paint.
Savannah is a news producer turned professional homebody. As the Home Assistant Editor at Apartment Therapy, contributing writer at Forbes, and Lifestyle Blogger, she loves creating content centered around design, home and a happy lifestyle. She firmly believes that happiness begins at home.
Acrylic Based Samantha is an editor who covers all topics home-related including home improvement and repair. She edited home repair and design content at websites like The Spruce and HomeAdvisor. She also has hosted videos on DIY home tips and solutions and launched multiple home improvement review boards staffed with licensed pros.