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

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

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

Part of being efficient is knowing exactly how long to wait between dry times, and here’s how to do that. 

Semi Gloss Painted Bedroom

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

Semi-gloss paint 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. Semi-gloss is an excellent choice for touching up a bathroom.  

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 will likely be dry 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, 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 paint as fully cured. 

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 option. Behr advises a 2 to 4-hour dry time. The recoat time is 4 to 8 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.  

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 dry time to 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 painted a room even once, you know that allowing all paint 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 next coat slapped on. Unfortunately, there are usually consequences for rushing second or third coats.  

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

The best-case scenario here is that you will see some streakiness once the paint has dried. 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 Semi-Gloss 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 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 dry time. On the other hand, heat, especially outdoor heat, will speed up the 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 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 air movement is an effective way to speed up dry time.
  • However, don't hold the nozzle too close to your surface, as it can lead to blistering.  Of course, follow all safety protocols and keep the hairdryer away from any rinse buckets.  
  • Fan/Ventilation 
    Air movement is your other best bet to shorten the time it takes for semi-gloss 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 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 time beats all others. 
Drying Semi Gloss Paint

Frequently Asked Semi-Gloss Paint Questions 

Why is my semi-gloss paint still tacky? 

If the paint is applied too thick or with too many layers, it can become tacky. Humidity may also be the problem. 

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

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 to dry. 

How long does a semi-gloss paint last? 

Don't worry if your project is far in the future. 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.