how long to let paint dry between coats

How Long to Let Paint Dry Between Coats

In this article, I will share how long to let paint dry between coats. In an ideal painting condition, 3 hours is enough time for your paint to dry. But, there are some factors that may affect the time it may take to dry. Some factors are as follows.

  • What type of paint you are using.
  • Is it oil-based or water-based?
  • The surface you are painting on?
  • The method you used to apply the paint, like a paintbrush, sprayer, or roller.
  • What is the average temperature and humidity in your area? 
  • Are you using it for exterior or interior paint? 
  • How good the ventilation system in the area is where you are painting?

All these can affect how long to let paint dry between coats in your particular house and area. Here is a quick overview.

The Average Paint Re-coat Time

Paint re-coat time mainly depends on these four things.

  • Time: All the paints require at least one hour to dry. Most professionals say you let it dry for a whole day for a better effect.
  • Type of paint: If you are using water-based paints, they will dry faster than oil-based paints in average conditions.
  • Air Humidity: More humidity hurts the paint’s dryness as the water in the paint will take more time to evaporate. A humidity level of 40 percent is good.
  • Temperature: 21 degrees Celsius or 70 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal and average.

Now let’s explore these things in detail so that it may become clear to you why you should wait some time and in which cases.

Table of Contents

1. Maximum Time Between Coats of Paint

dry the paint

Here is the data you can use to know the exact time on an average condition.

  • Oil paint takes about 24 hours to dry.
  • Chalk paint also takes 24 hours to dry.
  • Latex paint takes 4 hours.
  • Spray paint takes only 2 hours.

The method can also have an effect on the dry time. For example:

  • If you are using a brush to paint your walls, it will take a long time to dry up.
  • If you are using a roller, then it will take even more time. The longest time to dry.
  • But if you are using a spray, it will take the minimum time to dry (just two hours).

You can see the methods and material you use can have a huge impact on how long to let paint dry between coats. Okay, the next one is the type of paint.

2. Type of Paint Your Are Using

The Time it Takes to Dry a paint

So if you are using any of these paint types, you can expect the following.

  • Eggshell paint takes about one hour to dry, and you can start re-coating after 2 hours.
  • Flat paint takes about half an hour to dry and has about one hour of re-coating time.
  • Glossy paint takes about one hour to dry. The re-coating time is 2.5 hours.
  • Semi-gloss paint takes one hour to dry and 2 hours in re-coating on average. 
  • A primer takes about 30 minutes to dry and one hour to re-coat it.

That is average, but I have seen professionals use re-coating after a whole day to make the best the paint can be. You do not have to do that if you are in hurry and the condition allows you to do that.

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3. Humidity and Temperature in the Air

Humidity and Temperature Factors to Dry a Paint

Humidity and temperature also can affect how long to let paint dry between coats. Here is a quick overview of it. I will use water and oil paint as these are the most common ones.

  • In a highly humid area above 80 percent, the water paint will dry slower than in a low humid area as the water will take more time to evaporate. But oil paint will usually take the same time in both cases, but the temperature may affect it.
  • The ventilation will also affect the time. If the ventilation is not that good, both paint will take some time to dry.
  • If you want to dry things faster, use a fan.

No one can tell exactly what will happen. That is why most professionals let it dry for about a day before they re-coat it.

What Will Happen If I Re-Coat Too Soon

What will happen if a second coat of paint is applied too soon

If you paint a second coat before letting the first coat dry completely then you risk bubbles and pits on that soft gel. So do not waste that expensive paint. Wait and then use the re-coat. We we are done in how long to let paint dry between coats. But one more thing!

What is the maximum time for re-coating a exterior paint

You can wait as long as possible but do not wait more than seven days. If you wait too long, then dust and UV rays can harm your paint which will reduce the life span of the paint. One day is enough and if the weather is not good, re-coat it after two days.

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Last Words

So how long to let paint dry between coats? Minimum an hour and maxim a day. If you are in hurry then use these data, the paint type, humidity factor, temperature, and the things you use to paint. That will make things faster for you. Good luck.

Exterior Paint FAQs

paint dry between coats FAQs

What is the maximum time for paint re-coat?

You can wait as long as you want but do not wait more than seven days as the dust and UV rays can harm your paint and reduce its life span. The one-day wait is good for exterior and interior painting.

What is the optimal temperature for re-coating paint?

21 degrees Celsius or 70 degrees Fahrenheit is the optimal temperature for paint re-coat on both the exterior and interior.

How long it takes to dry the paint?

You can start the re-coat after about 3 hours but waiting a whole day is good if you want a better performance in the long run.

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About Author

Nazim Ali

Nazim Ali is an engineer who loves fixing things at home. He loves to try new things and share the knowledge with the world.