How Long Does It Take Between the Paint Coats to Dry?

Useful info regarding how long to let the paint dry. Amateur’s Painter Guide

Written by Olivia Paxton. Updated on Paint Coats

Doing some painting at home is a widespread way to renovate your accommodation a bit. And as long as you have to deal with big surfaces, one layer of paint is not enough to color anything. First of all, because the final color will look dull, and second, because one layer of paint is not enough to paint the external surfaces, for example, as they require more durability. 

However, without being a pro, you may wonder how much time you will need between the coats of paint to dry completely. 

And how long does it take for paint to dry? It takes 30-90 minutes for the paint to dry to the touch. It depends on the thickness of application, type of paint, and method the paint is applied. On average it takes up to 1 hour and 30 minutes for the paint to dry.

In this article, we will give you lots of useful info regarding how long to let the paint dry between applying different coats of it onto the walls or any other surfaces.

Related: Can You Paint Vinyl Siding?

How Long Does Paint Take To Dry? Different Types Of Paint Drying Time

Painting walls may seem to be an easy thing to do unless you start doing it. It’s not only about the amount of effort that is required from a person to spend to properly prepare the color and the place it will be used for. 

The time gap between applying the coats of paint required for them to dry is quite a headache for the amateur painters. The most frequent mistake they do is to cover the surface with the second layer too early when the first layer is still damp. 

What happens, in this case, is that one receives a slatternly painted wall with a rough layer of paint and an uneven tone.

To avoid such mistakes, learn first the specifics of different kinds of paint drying and how much time it is required for each of them to become ready for applying the next layer over the primary painted one.

Related: Can You Paint When It Rains? Useful Tips and Advice

How Long Does Paint Take To Dry
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  • What is the water-based paint drying time?

Since the water is the basic ingredient in such paints and, as we all know, water dries very fast, the average time a water-based paint needs to dry is pretty short. The minimal time gap is about thirty minutes.

Nevertheless, it may alter depending on what kind of water-based paint is being used. For example, if we are talking about a matte or a flat sheen paint, it will get completely dry after half an hour or even faster (depends on how thick the layer was).

What paints do you usually use?
Semi-gloss paint
Acrylic paint
Spray paint
Water-based paint
Oil paint

On the other hand, glossy paint with a water base will require more time, from one to one and a half hours, until one can say it has dried through. 


How long does it take for semi-gloss paint to dry
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  • How long does it take for semi-gloss paint to dry?

On average, semi-gloss paint dries for one hour approximately. Nevertheless, if you read the instruction on the can attentively, you may notice that it is advised to wait longer, for about two hours to ensure that everything has completely dried through and not only on the surface.

  • How soon will acrylic paint dry?

On average, acrylics are dry in half an hour. But to make it dry through completely, an additional hour may be required.

Take into account though that everything hangs upon the surrounding temperature.

  • How long does it take for spray paint to dry?
paint to dry
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Normally, any spray can color can considered to be dry in two hours. Its surface dries in five minutes already and the paint layer will be non-sticky and hard after ten minutes it was applied.

  • Does oil paint dry fast?

Oil paints are the most “stubborn” when it comes to drying. Usually, no less than twenty-four hours pass until it gets dry. 

Water-based paints (watercolor, water-based acrylic, latex)

This type of paint consists of 30-40% of solids dissolved in the water-based dispersion media which contains a significant amount of organic solvents e.g. alcohol.

Water-based paint provides good corrosion protection, and it is known for giving a high gloss. Most of such paints are water-resistant when dry but certain kinds are water sensitive.

Oil paints

These paints consist of oil, usually, it’s raw or boiled linseed oil, a base, and one or more coloring pigments. This kind of paint is known for its pretty heavy smell and oily texture, and also, due to containing oil, it takes pretty long to dry fully.

Oil paints have very good protective properties which makes them popular in both interior and exterior use (for protecting wood or various metal constructions like bridges, for instance).

Hanging upon these distinctions, the drying time for these paints will significantly vary from several minutes to several days. To compare them all at once, we offer you to check out the house paints drying time chart below.

Type of paint Dry to the touch time

Recoating time
Oil 24 hours after 72 hours
Acrylic 30 min

1.5 hour
Semi-gloss paint

1 hour

2 hours


10 min 2 hours

Latex 1-1.5 hours

4 hours

Sheen paint 30 min 1 hour

Of course, note that this is the approximate time since the speed of drying varies depending on the thickness of the paint layer as well.

Related: Does Paint Go Bad When It Freezes?

How Long Should Paint Dry Before the Second Coat?

Now that you learned how fast various kinds of interior paint dry, let’s figure out the amount of time it will require until you can apply the second layer.

The same as he general drying time, a paint dry time between applying different coats varies in accordance with the specific features of each paint type.

To know precisely when to apply the second coat of paint, check out the list of most frequently used paints.

What is the acrylic paint drying time between the coats?

It takes 10-20 minutes between coats of thin acrylic paint to dry. Thicker applications of acrylic paint will dry for 1- 2 hours. Time between coats of acrylic paint is from 2o minutes to 2 hours, depending on the thickness of the paint.

Want to know how long it takes between the coats of acrylic paint to dry? Since acrylic color dries pretty fast, you may require about four to six hours before it will be possible to apply the next layer.

paint dry time between
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How long will it take between the coats of latex paint to dry?

To cover the prime layer with the second one using latex color, wait from two to four hours to ensure the painted area is ready.

How long will it take between the coats of oil-based paint to dry?

Paints with the oil base usually dry for about four hours with the handling time of five to nine hours. So you will be able to recoat your surface after no less than twenty-four hours.

How long to wait between the coats of spray paint to dry?

Spray paint, when being pulverized in the light and even layers at the proper temperature (about 65-85 degrees), feel free to recoat the surface every five minutes.

How long does semi-gloss paint take to dry?

Semi-gloss colors dry hard for approximately one hour, so recoating is possible after two hours at least to allow the first layer to get dry completely.

How long does water-based paint take to dry?

Water-based paint dries in 30 minutes after the first coat is applied. Thicker water-based paints dry in 2-3 hours after the first coat is applied. It takes from 30 minutes up to 2 hours for water paint to dry completely.

When working with the paints based on water, be ready to give them from thirty minutes till one or one and a half hours to get dry.

In accordance with the sort of paint, re-coating could be put on after one to two and a half hours after the first layer was applied. For the paints that dry fast (from 30 minutes to one hour), recoating is possible in two hours whilst the layer made with the paint that dries for one/one and a half hours can be recoated after two hours.

Primers can be recoated after one hour of drying.

How much time between coats of paint?

4-6 hours is the time between the coats of paint being applied. Wait until the first coat of paint gets dry for 3 hours and apply another coat of paint. 24 hours between coats of oil-based and primer paint is needed.

How long should paint dry between coats?

Paint should dry after 4-6 hours between coats. Wait for 3 hours to recoat water-based paint or primer. Oil-based paint and primer gets dry in 24 hours. It takes from 4 to 6 hours for the paint to dry between coats.

What Factors Influence The Way Paint Dries And Cures

What Factors Influence The Way Paint Dries And Cures
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

 Whenever we decide to refresh our house by painting it, no matter whether it is an interior room renovation or just a slight refreshment of the exterior, we always face the issue of paint drying.

Inexperienced painters and even those who do it quite often still keep on stumbling over the same problem: why does my paint dry too slow? What affects the drying time of the paint at all?

Many of us indeed become a bit confused when we apply the first coat of paint, we wait for a while, and afterward, we start applying the next layer. And that is when we find out that, even though the paint seemed to be dry to the touch, it is, in fact, still wet! 

And here we are, with the unevenly painted room or exterior wall, mad and frustrated!

Is it possible to find the way we could fix this problem, you may ask? Fortunately, such a way exists. All we need to do is to learn several easy hints regarding the certain specifics of paint drying and curing.

The type of paint we are using

Sounds quite easy but still many people skip this requirement and end up with the screwed up room wall that was supposed to be just beautiful.

Paint Coats
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To avoid such a misfit, simply remember by heart that: 

  • the oil-based paints become dry to the touch after six to eight hours, however, your masterpiece will be ready for re-coating only in twenty-four hours!
  • latex paint will be dry to the touch after one hour already, and you will be able to apply the second coat after four hours

Nevertheless, we would recommend you to pay attention to the labels on the paint cans. They always indicate the best drying and re-coating time.

The way we apply the paint

Yes, it also matters! Did you know that? We bet you didn’t, otherwise, you wouldn’t be here reading this article. To start painting walls like a pro, all you need to remember is that:

  • If the paint is applied in a too thick layer, or if we start re-coating our room walls too soon even before the first layer is not fully dried, the drying time will be much longer. In addition, there is a high risk for the paint to dry unevenly
  • It is best to always put two thin layers of paint rather than applying one very thick layer at once

Be sure that, if you follow these simple hints, you will be at least able to finish painting your house sooner!

Painting conditions. Humidity and temperature

Oil Painting BasicsOil Painting Basics

No matter whether we are refreshing a room or do any exterior painting work, the conditions we are working at play a big role.

  • If the level of humidity is too high, or if the room that is being painted is warmer than usual, the paint will finish drying not so fast as it could
  • To make the paint finish drying faster, the best what could be done is to close all the windows and doors, and to turn on the air conditioner (or at least turn on the fan)
  • Make sure that enough ventilation is provided in the room that is being painted! The stuffy room will make the paint dry way slower
How Long Does It Take Between the Paint Coats to Dry
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Consider the time the paint needs for curing

What is paint curing? It is when the paint reaches its maximum hardness. Before it can be considered dry, enough solvents have to evaporate so that the paint layer could felt dry to the touch. However, even when the painted object seems to be dry, it doesn’t mean the paint has cured, too.

Usually, painted items, both big and small, need several days until they can be used.

  • Oil-based paints cure after seven days
  • Latex paint is best to be cured for 30 days

Keep this information in mind the next time you will be renovating your home so that it could delight you longer!

Read next: How to Make Paint Dry Fast?

Written by
Olivia shares all she knows about the hotels, houses, and home cleaning with Beezzly readers. And she knows a lot! 15 years of work experience as a Manager in a former Four Season Service gave Olivia an exceptional base of professional knowledge and practical experience.
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