How Long to Wait Between Coats of Paint? 

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If you have decided to paint a room yourself, there are several points to consider before you roll your sleeves up and grab the paint roller. You first need to choose both the adequate type and quality of primer and paint, and invest in the right tools for the job: roller, paintbrush, tray and tape. 

A question that is likely to arise, whether right before you put roller to wall or after you have done your first coat, is how much time you actually need to spend watching paint dry. 

Let’s find out!

How Long to Wait Between Coats of Paint? 

If you are using a latex-based paint, you should wait at least 3 hours between coats. If you are applying an oil-based paint, wait at least 6 hours before applying the second coat, but you ideally want to give it 24 hours. 

While paint may appear dry, you should always play it safe and give it a bit more time to dry, to ensure you get an even coat and finish. 

Here are some minimal paint times to adhere to, depending on what you are painting:

  • Interior paint: re-coat in 3 hours with latex-based paints, in 6 hours with oil-based paints
  • Exterior paint: re-coat in 3 hours, or let it dry for 12 hours if you are covering heavy stains
  • Ceiling paint: re-coat in 3 hours
  • Brick paint: re-coat in 4 hours
  • General-purpose spray paint: re-coat in 1 hour

How Long Does Paint Take to Dry?

Latex-based paints will be dry in as little as an hour, while oil-based paints generally take 6 to 8 hours to dry. 

However, to achieve the best possible results, you should always let your coats of paint dry a little bit longer than indicated. Make sure you have also left enough time between your primer and first coat of paint

How long a coat of paint takes to dry will also depend on the weather conditions and humidity levels, so make sure you factor those in as well, before applying your second coat of paint. 

If you are in a rush, use latex-based paints and roll out thin, even layers. They will dry more quickly, and can be ready for a second coat in less time. 

How Long Does Gloss Paint Take to Dry?

An oil-based gloss paint will need between 16 and 24 hours to dry completely. A water-based gloss paint will take around 6 to 8 hours to dry. 

Gloss paint drying times are longer than with matte paint, so take that into consideration if you are looking to paint a room quickly. 

How Long Does Matte Paint Take to Dry?

A matte paint will dry in an hour or so, but you should wait at least 2 to 3 hours before applying your second coat, to ensure the smoothest results. 

The flatter the paint, the less time it will take to dry, so if you are using a matte paint, you can paint a room much quicker than when using a glossy or semi-glossy finish. 

How Long Does Dulux Paint Take to Dry?

Dulux Quick Dry paints will be touch-dry in an hour, but you ideally want to wait 6 hours before applying your next coat of paint. 

Dulux paints are water-based, so they will have quicker dry times than oil-based options. 

Can Paint Dry in 30 Minutes?

Water-based paints can dry in 30 minutes. However, you should still let your paint dry for at least another 2 hours, to achieve the best results and ensure your paint doesn’t get streaky or start to flake.

Check the manufacturer’s recommendations on the proper cure times of the paint you are using, and always add another hour or so on top, just to be perfectly safe, especially if you are painting on a humid day. 

What Happens if You Paint a Second Coat Too Soon?

If you apply a second coat of paint too soon, the paint will start to pull up when you roll on it again. This will cause streaks, clumps, flakes and an uneven colour. It may even cause your paint to start peeling. 

Always let your coats of paint dry completely before applying the next coat. This will ensure you are happy with the results, and that you don’t need to call in a professional to help you redo the walls from scratch. 

Can You Paint Two Coats in One Day?

Yes, you can certainly paint two coats in one day, provided that you start early enough. As you will need to wait anywhere between 3 and 12 hours for your first coat to dry, check your paint’s drying times and calculate your ideal schedule 

If you are using water-based paint, you can expect to be done with the entire paint job of an average-sized room in around 8 hours, prep-work and cleanup included. 

Factors That Affect Paint Drying Times

How long paint takes to dry will depend on several factors, so always take them into consideration before applying your next coat of paint: 

Temperature 

Ideally, you want to paint a room when the temperatures aren’t too cold or too hot. Painting in a very hot or chilly room will increase drying times, so aim for fall and spring for any paint work. 

Humidity 

The more humidity in a room, the longer paint will take to dry, as the moisture in the air prevents the paint from sticking to the wall and drying. Do your best to reduce humidity levels before you start painting, and while you let the paint dry. 

Ventilation 

In order for paint to dry as quickly as possible, the room needs to be well ventilated. If you can’t open a window in the room, you can expect longer paint drying times. 

Your Choice of Painting Tool 

Painting with a roller will result in shorter drying times, so only use a brush for painting small surfaces and precise work, like cutting in

How to Make Paint Dry Faster

If you are looking to make paint dry faster, try applying some of these methods:

Apply Thin Coats 

Two thin layers of paint will dry faster than one thick one, so always aim to roll out the paint as thin as you possibly can. This will also help you prevent streaks and creases, and achieve a uniform and even effect.

Keep the Air Moving 

Paint will dry faster in a well-ventilated room, so open all the windows and get the air flowing to help your coats of paint dry as fast as possible. 

Turn the Air Conditioning On 

Paint will dry faster if the room is cool and dry, so if you have an air conditioner available, use it to ensure optimal paint drying conditions, either by heating the room up, or cooling it down. 

Place a Dehumidifier in the Room 

You can also turn a dehumidifier on in the room to ensure the air is dry, which will help your paint dry significantly faster.

Use a Hair Dryer 

If there is a stubborn patch of paint that simply isn’t drying as quickly as the rest of the room, try using a hair dryer to help it out. Just aim the nozzle at the area and keep it about 2 inches away from the wall. Move the dryer around slowly, so you hit all the slow-drying areas evenly.

How to Check the Paint is Dry 

Even when the required number of hours has elapsed, make sure to still check that your paint is dry before applying another coat. 

Look for any visibly darker or shinier patches. If the entire wall appears even, the paint has dried, and you are ready for the next coat.

You can also run your hand over the surface, slowly and carefully. If there is no residue on your palm, you can get on with your paint job.

Wrapping It Up 

In order to achieve the smoothest and most satisfying result, let your paint dry longer than recommended, for an hour or so. You can still get the job done in a day, but you will prevent any unwanted streaks and flakes. 

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