Adding a second coat of paint to your 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.
Paint Dry Time
Paint dry 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 let the paint dry between coats, you need to know its typical recoat time. This refers to the time it takes for the paint to be thoroughly ready to apply another coat. Depending on various factors, this could be anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours.
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 paint and season.
How Long Between Paint Coats (For All Types Of Paint)
Types Of Paint
Flat Or Matte Paint
30 minutes-1 hour
Paint Coats With Different Surfaces (Dry Times)
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 paint, a 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 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 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 How Long To Wait Between Paint Coats
Climate & Humidity
How long between coats of paint 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 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
When considering paint types, most come down to one of three types: water-based, oil-based, and spray paint. Spray paint is the fastest to dry as its coats are thin, and the low-density paint allows air inside; when spray painting, you typically only need to wait 2 hours max. Water-based paints rely on evaporation to dry and can take 2-4 hours to dry. Oil-based paints take the longest as they have a lot of moisture and oil, meaning that you will often need to wait more than 24 hours before applying a second coat.
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. The tools you use, such as rollers, 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.
What Happens If You Apply 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 job 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 coats of paint to hide this. We recommend checking the recommended time by the paint manufacturer, using additional drying tools like fans, and painting thinner layers.
How To Make Paint Drying & Recoating Quicker? (Pro Tips)
Wondering how long to wait for 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 job. Getting as close to the temperate zone as possible can be helped along by using items such as:
Less waiting around means that you can get the job done sooner with minimal waiting around between coats. While you wait for your paint job to dry, we recommend either taking a break or getting other small errands done, depending on the wait time.
How Long Between Paint Coat FAQs
Do you always need two coats of paint?
Depending on what you are painting, you may not need a second coat of paint. 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?
Bubbling typically occurs 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.
Knowing how long to let paint dry between coats is the key to success. Being patient and thorough while painting thin layers and regulating the environment is the best path to success.