Oftentimes, the hardest part of any makeover is waiting for the paint to dry. After you’ve spent time and elbow grease on a great project, it’s tough to remain patient and let the paint dry fully before putting the item to use.
Paint Drying Times and Factors
There are four main factors that determine how long you should keep hands off your new beauty:
Type of Paint
- Oil-based paint - dry to the touch in 6–8 hours and ready to recoat in 24 hours.
- Latex paint - dry to the touch in about 1 hour, and you can safely recoat in 4 hours.
- However, the labels on all paint cans specify the dry and recoat times for that particular paint, so be sure to read the manufacturer’s directions for exact times.
Application of Paint
- If paint is applied too thickly or is recoated before the first coat is fully dry, the dry time will be considerably longer and the paint may dry gloppy and uneven.
- It’s usually better to apply two thin coats of paint than to cover your project with one thick coat.
Humidity & Temperature
- If there is too much water vapor in the air (humidity) or the room is warmer than average, it will take considerably longer for your paint to dry.
- To speed up dry time, close the windows and turn on the air conditioning or run a fan.
Amount of Ventilation
- Much like with humidity and temperature problems, wet paint in a stuffy room will have a slower dry time than a room with good air flow.
Paint Curing Times and FactorsOnce your paint dries, your project may still not be ready for everyday use. For a paint to be considered dry, enough solvents must evaporate so it feels dry to the touch. This means that the paint also has to cure.
Paint doesn’t cure, or reach maximum hardness, until days after the paint is dry.
How long it takes to cure depends on the type of paint:
- Oil-based paints - about 7 days.
- Latex paints - about 30 days
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