It is often said that the preparation before painting is the most time-consuming part of a job, and this is not necessarily wrong. But what is usually overlooked is that the drying time after the painting itself is what will last the longest in the renovation.

Between the initial drying after the first coat and the final hardening of the material, it can take several days or weeks. To get an idea of what you’re getting into, here are our tips and tricks about paint drying time.

How long does it take for the paint to dry?

What is the drying time for each type of paint?

You have chosen your paint and are now wondering how long it will take to dry before applying another coat. Obviously this will depend on the paint itself (see the product data sheet for precise information), but the following times can be considered:

  • Glycerine paint – touch dry in 6-8 hours and ready to cover in 24 hours
  • Water-based paint – touch dry in about an hour and ready to cover in 4 hours

As mentioned, the labels on all paint cans specify the drying and covering times for each particular paint, so be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for the exact times.

What happens if the paint has not dried before the second coat?

Paint that has not dried before applying a second coat may flake, streak, clump or peel when dry.

Thin coats give better coverage and dry faster. In addition, you can apply 3 thin coats as quickly as 2 thick coats. Why? Trying to be careful to cover every spot is slow. This applies especially to dark colours on light colours or vice versa.

How do you know if the first coat is dry? It simply must not be sticky before the second coat is applied.

How long does the paint take to dry?

Initial drying time and final drying time (curing)

There is a difference between the initial drying time and the final drying time. For a paint to be considered dry, enough solvent must evaporate to make it feel dry to the touch. This means that the paint must also harden.

The time it takes for the paint to fully cure so that it is scratch resistant is called curing. The time it takes for your paint to become dry to the touch may be as little as an hour, but for it to be dry enough for a second coat, it can take up to a day. However, for it to be dry enough to be washed or put to another use, it can take weeks.

Waiting weeks to put your stuff back in order is not ideal, but it is necessary. We recommend waiting one to three weeks, depending on the humidity and temperature of the room. Wait for your paint to dry before mounting anything or putting furniture back in place.

How can I make the paint dry faster?

In addition to not overloading each pass and allowing the paint to dry well between coats, other criteria are important for faster drying: room temperature, humidity level and air circulation.

The temperature and humidity of the room

The optimum temperature is around 20 degrees, although it is possible to paint a room between 8 and 35 degrees. Below this temperature the material will remain wet and above this temperature it will dry too quickly, causing unsightly cracks.

Hot air will heat the drying paint. The hotter a material is, the more the molecules in it become agitated. The more water molecules are stirred up, the easier it is for them to break away and enter the air. Hotter paint dries faster. This is not a problem if you do your renovations in the summer and can air the room well for several hours.

If, however, the painting is done in winter or the indoor humidity is too high, you will have to use a dehumidifier for this purpose. Turning the radiators on full blast may seem like a perfect solution, but beware: any variation in temperature can potentially impact on the final colour of the paint. For this reason, we also do not recommend using a heat gun to dry the paint.

How long does the paint take to dry?

Circulate the air in the room

Circulating air where your paint is drying with a fan will increase the rate of evaporation of the water in the paint. Turn on ceiling or floor fans at medium speed in the room where your paint is drying.

Make sure the room is clean before turning on the fan. If there is a lot of dust, dirt or other debris in the room, the fan may lift it up and it could end up sticking to your paint.

If time permits, air your rooms thoroughly for several hours.

Drying time for airless spray paint

Unlike a roller, you don’t need to apply a second coat of paint using an airless paint sprayer. Why not? Because when you overlap your strips (see here for a detailed explanation), it is like applying two coats at once. Of course, this is only necessary if you use a professional quality paint.

In the end you save the time between several coats of paint, and that’s already a lot 🙂


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