How Long Does It Take Semi Gloss Paint To Dry? (On Average)

One of the variables that can affect the outcome of your paint project is how long it takes semi-gloss paint to dry between layers and then paint cures completely. 

You may feel impatient waiting for layers of wet paint to dry since most painting projects require us to be as efficient with our time as possible.   

Part of being efficient is knowing exactly long does it take to completely dry between apply light coats of paint, and here’s how to do that. 

Semi-gloss paint is a popular choice for home painting projects. It represents the happy medium between high-gloss and matte paint. It is shiny but does not reflect as much light as a high-glossy paint.  

It is generally easy to clean, durable, and mold/mildew resistant. This is why semi-gloss paint is a popular choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and children’s rooms.  

What sets semi-gloss apart is that it best suits the needs of the average person. The combination of function and beauty makes semi-gloss a go-to choice for trim projects.  

Semi-gloss is especially great for areas like the wall behind the kitchen sink. It is also an excellent choice for touching up a bathroom.  

Semi Gloss Painted Bedroom

How Long Does Semi-Gloss Paint Normally Take To Dry? 

There is a short answer and a long answer to this question. The short answer is that your first layer of semi gloss paint dries to the touch between 2 to 4 hours.  

However, it’s important to note that semi-gloss paints, like high-gloss paints, have to cure. Curing is different from being dry to the touch. When your paint is fully cured paint, it is completely hardened. 

The curing time of most semi-gloss paints ranges from 12 to 24 hours, but most painters recommend 24 hours before treating the spray paint as fully cured. 

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.

Behr Semi-Gloss/Alkyd Paint Dry Times 

Behr is a familiar, trusted name in paint, and they have semi-gloss options available. The Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel is a water based paint like acrylic paints is option. Behr advises a 2 to 4-hour dry time. The recoat time for water based paints is six to eight hours.

Behr alkyd is a high-quality paint especially great for kitchen cabinets and bathroom trim.  

Like many semi-gloss paints, there is a longer cure time. Let the paint dry for at least 30 days before using any cleaners on it.  

People have stopped using oil based paints for their home projects. Oil paints or oil based paints cure more than other exterior and interior paint or interior painting. Oil based paint or oil paint takes between three and seven days and is durable. In contrast to oil based paint, latex paint dries from the outside first.

For latex paint and oil based paint to dry completely and cure require more time. Latex paint take to dry touch in about 1 hour, and you can safely apply second coat in 4 hours. The first coat of the latex paint applied over primer is called the base coat, and the crucial second coat of latex paints is the top one thick coat.

Chalk paint is one of the fastest drying paints.

Valspar Semi-Gloss Paint 

Valspar has a great variety of choices when it comes to semi-gloss options. They even have specific paints for maintenance work, and painters regard their products as high quality.  

While Valspar has a similar time paint take to dry as Behr of 2 hours, the recoat time is only 2 to 4 hours. The cure time is much shorter at 7 days.  

Here's a tip: If you're unsure if your paint is fully cured, press your fingernail into a hidden area. If the paint is fully cured, it shouldn't leave any mark. 

How Long Should Semi-Gloss Paint Dry Between Coats? 

Semi Gloss Paint Coating

If you have freshly painted room, you know that allowing all paint job layers to dry is essential.  

If you’re unsure about how long the dry time between coats is, stick to the max time of about 6 hours. You may be tempted to keep up the momentum and get that another coat slapped on. Unfortunately, there are usually consequences for rushing second or third paint coats.  

This is especially true for semi-gloss paints because most people recommend sanding between each layer. This gives your coats of paint semi-gloss a much better adhesion, and you can't sand unless the paint dries fully.  

The best-case scenario here is that you will see some streakiness once the paint dries. The worst-case scenario is experiencing pits, bubbles, and peeling that might ultimately result in having to do the project again. 

Factors That Affect The Drying Time Of Paint

The environment is the largest variable mentioned at the beginning of this article. Both temperature and humidity play a significant role in the outcome of your painting job or project. 

Consider these factors in tandem with the wet surface you are painting. Planning ahead leads to optimal results! 

Fortunately, the temperature range for painting conditions is broad, from 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. A cooler temperature means a slower paint dries time. On the other hand, heat, especially outdoor heat, will speed up the apply paint drying process. 

Humidity is the other element to consider when it comes to drying time. Each coat of paint will take longer to dry when humidity levels are high, so plan around rainy days. 

Be mindful of your painted surface as well. The damp and porous a surface is, the more difficult to work with it may be. 

Tips For How To Make Semi-Gloss Paint Dry Faster

  • Hairdryer 
    This method is a bit more labor-intensive but highly effective. Heat and fresh air movement is an effective way to speed up dry time.
  • However, don't hold the nozzle of paint dryer too close to your surface, as it can lead to blistering.  Of course, follow all safety protocols and keep the paint dryer away from any rinse buckets.  
  • Fan/Ventilation 
    Air movement is your other best bet to shorten the time it takes for semi-glossed paint to dry. Open the windows and set up a fan or two. The air will do the rest of the work.  
  • Dehumidifier 
    Humidity is naturally the enemy of an efficient dry time for your painting project. If you have extensive work to do, investing in a dehumidifier to help your fresh paint dry more quickly may be well worth it. 
  • Not all semi-gloss paints take the same amount of time to dry. However, taking into account the previous methods and environmental factors, I would say Valspar's semi gloss paint drying process time beats all others. 
Drying Semi Gloss Paint

Frequently Asked Semi-Gloss Paint Questions 

Why is my semi-gloss paint still tacky? 

Semi-gloss paint can become tacky if you apply too thick paint or with too many layers. Humidity may also be a contributing problem. 

Does semi-gloss or high-gloss paint dry faster? 

Semi Gloss and High Gloss paints take about the same time to dry. If the high-gloss paint is oil-based, it can take 8 to 16 hours to be ready for a recoat. Water-based high-gloss and regular semi-gloss paints take about the same amount of time.

How long does a semi-gloss paint last? 

Semi-gloss paint has a shelf life of about 10-15 years. 


When your painting job or project happens in the best conditions possible, you will ensure a great, long-lasting result.  

We hope you found this review of semi-gloss paint helpful. Use these tips and advice for a great result.