How Long Does It Take For Paint To Dry?

Whether you want to redecorate your room or you are a professional painter, it is essential to know how long it will take for the paint to dry. Sometimes your paint will look like it’s dry when it actually isn’t, and you make the mistake of touching it too early.

There are ways to avoid this, but first, you need to know what level of ‘dry’ you want your paint to be. There are two painting terms you need to understand, ‘dry’ and ‘cure’. The two terms relatively mean the same thing, but ‘dry’ means your paint is dry enough for another coat, while ‘cure’ means every layer of paint is completely dry.

Factors That Can Affect Paint’s Drying Time

Many factors can affect paint’s drying time. 

  • The Environment

Environmental factors such as the weather and temperature are common determinants of how fast paint will dry. Most companies will specify this on the body of the can, but in general, it takes longer to dry in highly humid or warm temperatures. It can also lead to caking or cracking of the applied paint.

  • Lack of Ventilation

Paint needs as much air as possible to dry quickly. The more ventilation a room has, the faster the paint will dry. You can try putting on the fan, opening the windows and doors to increase air circulation as it will help your paint dry faster.

  • Cure Time

As mentioned above, dry paint differs from cured paint. It takes a much longer time for the paint to cure because it has to practically soak the wall. Some paints require more time to cure than others. 

Again, this will be specified on the can, but latex paints cure longer than oil-based paints if you need a standard timeframe to work with. It could take as long as 30 days for latex paints to cure fully.

  • The Size of the Room

The size of the wall you are painting can also determine the drying time. It is easier to tell when a small wall or canvas will be dry because the paint was applied at roughly the same time. 

For larger walls, it is a bit tricky. You will need to calculate the time you started and finished one part of the wall so you can avoid applying a second coat too early. 

If you lose the sense of time or get distracted, finish painting everywhere, then give it at least four hours to make sure everything is evenly dry.

  • Application Process and Tools

Thickly applied paint will take a longer time to dry than one applied thinly. You might be in a hurry and think that applying one thick layer will prevent you from applying a second coat, but that’s not quite how it works.

If you hurriedly do a thick layer, you may end up with uneven and clumpy looking paint on the walls. This will lead to an even bigger problem because you will have to redo the whole wall. 

It’s best to apply a thin, even layer per coat to get desired results. When it comes to paints, remember that patience is key.

  • The Type of Paint

This is perhaps the most crucial factor. There are several types of paint, and each one of them has its drying time. The difference expands more when the companies producing the paints are put into consideration.

  • That means that two cans of oil-based paint from two separate companies might have different drying times because the amount of materials used in producing them varies. 

How To Make Paint Dry Faster

While it is necessary to have patience when painting, it is understandable that some people will be short of time, so here are fun and practical ways to speed up the drying process.

  • Apply light layers

By now, you know that thick layers of paint will ruin the finish of your painting. Apart from making your wall seem like it was done by a professional, it will also help the paint to dry faster.

Make use of a good painting brush that will allow you to carry an even layer of paint each time. The thinner it is, the better.

  • Use a hairdryer

Yes, humidity and warm temperatures are not suitable for paint, but surprisingly, this trick works. All you have to do is bring your hairdryer close to the wall or wherever you painted and let the hairdryer do its thing.

This method is best used on small walls or canvases. Avoid bringing the hairdryer too close to the paint; otherwise, it will form blisters and get ruined. Do not set the heat to the highest either.

  • Grab a dehumidifier

If you have a dehumidifier at home or you can afford it, it is an effective way to get the paint to dry a lot faster. It will help regulate the room’s temperature and keep it cool enough for the paint to dry.

Sometimes, the companies give instructions on making the paint dry faster, so make sure you read the body of the can or check their website for clues on how to go about it.

That being said, let’s take a look at different types of paints, their respective average drying and curing times.

Paint Types and Average Drying Time

  Paint Types  Average Drying Time (Touch Dry)Average Curing Time
  Oil paint24 hours2 – 12 days
Enamel paint8 – 24 hours2  weeks – 1 month
Emulsion paint2 – 4 hours24 hours – 2 weeks
Cement paint24 hours1 – 2 days
Bituminous paint2 – 4 hours24 hours
Aluminium paint1 – 2 hours24 – 72 hours
Synthetic Rubber paint4 hours24 hours
Anti-corrosive paint30 minutes – 1 hour24 hours
Plastic paint30 minutes24 hours
Silicate paint1 – 2 hours24 – 72 hours
Cellulose paint12 hours2 days
Casein paint1 minute24 hours

Note: The timeframes listed above are only estimated ones. Always check with the company you purchase the paint from for their specific drying and curing time.

If you get paint on your cloth while redecorating, no worries! We’ve created a guide on how to remove paint from clothes.