How Long Should You Wait Between Paint Coats? (Upd Guide)

Adding a second coat of paint to your home painting project is a surefire way to elevate its look and increase the lifespan of your work. 

Wondering how long between paint coats you need to wait? We have everything you need to know in this handy guide. 

Types Of Paint 

Drying Time 

Recoat Time 

Interior Paint 

1 hour 

2 hours 

Exterior Paint 

1 hour 

2 hours 

Spray Paints 

20 minutes 

1 hour 

Oil-based Paints 

12 hours 

24 hours 

Water-Based Paints 

1-2 hours 

3 hours 

Flat Or Matte Paint 

1 hour 

1-2 hours 

Glossy Paint 

1.5 hours 

2 hours 

Semi-Gloss Paint 

1 hour 

2 hours 

Eggshell Paint 

1 hour 

2 hours 

Chalk Paint 

1 hour 

2-4 hours 


30 minutes-1 hour 

1-2 hours 

Brick Paint 

1 hour 

2-4 hours 

Painting Time Frames Explained In Detail

Paint Dry Time

Paint dries time refers to the time it takes for the paint to become tack-free, and dry to the touch. If you want to test this, we recommend finding an out-of-the-way spot and tapping it gently in multiple spots with your fingers. 

Paint Recoat Time

To know how long to wait for the  wet paint drying process between two coats like between first coat or previous coat and second coat, you need to know its typical recoat time.

This refers to the time it takes for the freshly painted room to be thoroughly ready to apply next coat after first coat or base coat.

Depending on various factors, this could be anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours. It also depends upon how many coats you have applied.  

Paint Cure Time

Paint cure time refers to how long it takes for the paint to fully harden and be both washable and touchable without damage.

This can take anywhere from 24 hours to weeks, depending on elements such as the latex paint and season. 

How Long Between Paint Coats Should You Wait

Paint Drying Times For Different Surfaces


Drying Time 

Recoat Time 


1 hour 

3-6 hours 


2-4 hours 

24 hours 


1-3 hours 

6 hours 


20-60 minutes 

2-3 hours 


Wondering how long between coats of paint on wood? Wood can be highly porous and absorbent, meaning that it can suck up the paint and make the top layer thinner.

Depending on the type of wood and quality paints, a fresh coat can dry in 1 hour and be ready to repaint in 3-6 hours.  


Knowing how long to let paint dry between coats on furniture can be difficult. Furniture can be made of a variety of materials and in various environments.

All the factors we have previously mentioned apply, but a typical dry time could be 2-4 hours, and a new coat of paint after first coat can be applied after 24 hours max.  


Temperature is a big factor in how long it takes for paint to dry. Of all the materials we have mentioned, metal is highly affected by temperature.

Generally, metal can take 1-3 hours to dry and 6 plus hours to be ready for a new coat. 


Canvas is a highly common material to latex paint in art classes and on boats everywhere. Typically, the canvas can take 20-60 minutes to dry and 2-3 hours to prepare for a new coat of paint. 

Factors That Affect Paint Drying Time Between Coats 

Climate & Humidity 

How long between coats of paint i.e. between first coat and second coat you need to wait depends on various factors, including the climate and humidity level. Colder or more humid temperatures make it harder for the paint to dry, increasing your wait time.  

A temperate zone for latex paint to dry involves low humidity and a warm atmosphere with plenty of airflow. Getting as close to this type of environment as possible means that you may only need to wait a couple of hours before putting on a second coat. 

The Type Of Paint Used

When considering paint types, most come down to one of three types: water based paint, oil based paint, and spray paint. 

Spray paint is the fastest to dry as its coats are thin layer, and the low-density paint allows fresh air inside; when spray painting, you typically only need to wait 2 hours max. 

Water based paints like latex paints rely on evaporation to dry and can take 2-4 hours to dry. This type of paint can be used as door paint.

Oil based paints take the longest as they have a lot of moisture and oil, meaning that you will often need to wait between one or two coats more than 24 hours before applying a second coat of oil based paint or oil paint. Applying the next coat too early can result in peeling paint. 

The Thickness & The Way You Paint 

Thick coats of paint, regardless of type, will take longer to dry. As a general rule, multiple thinner layers of paint are better than one thick one.  Lightly sand the walls between coats of paint.

The tools you use, such as paint roller, can put on thicker coats than using a thin brush or spray paint. Consider what tools you want to use carefully, especially if time is limited. 

woman sitting on the floor holding white paintbrush

What Happens If You Apply The Second Coat Of Paint Too Soon?

While adding a second coat of paint too soon may not seem like a big deal, it could spell big trouble.

When a second coat is applied too early, your paint becomes streaky and starts to peel and show uneven color. 

This means that you will either need to remove the paint entirely or add more paint coats to hide this. We recommend checking the recommended time by the paint manufacturer, using additional drying tools like fans, and interior painting thinner layers. 

How To Make Paint Drying & Recoating Quicker? (Pro Tips)

Wondering how long to wait in between coats of paint? Besides the tips we have mentioned above, there are a few more ways to help speed up the drying time of your paint.

Getting as close to the temperate zone as possible can be helped along by using items such as: 

  • Portable heater 
  • Dehumidifier 
  • Thin coats of paint 
  • Fans 
  • Blow dryer (be careful and keep some distance from the paint to avoid blisters and cracking) 

Less waiting around means that you can get the job done sooner with minimal waiting around between coats.

While you wait for your latex paint job to dry, we recommend either taking a break or getting other small errands done, depending on the wait time.  You can also hire skilled painters for residential and commercial painting services. 

portable heater to dry paint

Common Questions About Paint Coat Times

Do you always need two coats of paint? 

The need of two coats of paint depends on what you are painting. With things painted the same color, you may need one. However, different, especially darker, shades will need more coats of paint to get an even color.  

Why can the second coat of paint bubble? 

The second coat of paint bubble when you paint another coat too early. The too-soon painted layer creates pulls and streaks, which allow bubbles and pits to form in the paint job and ruin it. 

How long do you have to wait between coats of Dulux paint?

The recommended drying time between coats of Dulux paint varies depending on the specific product used, but it is typically around 2-4 hours. It is important to follow the brand instructions for optimal results.

How long is too long between coats of paint?

Waiting too long between coats can result in uneven finish, adhesion issues, or the need for additional surface preparation. It is generally recommended to follow the manufacturer's instructions and not wait more than 24 hours between coats.


Knowing how long to let the paint dry between coats i.e. one coat and two coat is the key to success for many paint projects.  

Being patient and thorough while painting thin layers and regulating the environment is the best path to success.