How Long to Wait Between Paint Coats – The Best Tips You Need to Know

“How long to wait between paint coats?” It is a simple question, isn’t it? Then, we have to say “it is not at all”. No matter if you are an amateur or an experienced painter, the problem mentioned in the title is not as easy as you think.

The time you have to wait to add one more layer above the previous one is not fixed and changes by time. It also depends on the humidity, climate, and temperature of your living environment. Below are the tips we have finalized that may help you in your painting project. Now, let’s find out how long to wait between paint coats.

​How Long Does It Take Paint To Dry Between Coats?

You will not have to read to the end to know the time when the paint coats get dry between each cover. Now, we will provide some facts about the dry time of paint after you apply it on the surface. But don’t get away so fast because there are some exciting tips and tricks you can use in the painting projects. Stay tuned!

As mentioned above, it depends on many factors to tell how long a paint coat gets dry enough to cover a new one on it. Let’s take a tour to see how the elements affect the dry time between the layers.

How Many Factors Are There to Affect the Dry Time of the Paint?

Climate and Humidity

Climate and humidityIt is different when you do a painting project in a tropical climate zone versus in temperate zone. The temperate zone is a perfect area for the painting work as the climate allows the paint coat to be dry within 1 to 4 hours. With this duration, you can finish painting the walls of a medium room no longer than 24 hours.

Things are dry when there is no (or very little) moisture in them. The temperate area has low humidity in the air, so the paint layer gets dry very fast. On the contrary, the tropical zone is hot and wet at the same time, so it does not allow the liquid as paint to be dry so early. It often takes more than 6 hours for the coat to be dry on the surface.

Humidity also affects the drying time of the paint like climate, but it is clearer to see. With moisture, we are talking about the condition of the air in the living environment. If your room has a high level of moisture, it takes lots of time for you to touch the wall after painting it, which is even up to 24 hours.

However, we are focusing on adding the second paint layer, so the first cover does not need to be thick. The dry time may vary from 6 to 12 hours. We will explain this problem more in the following parts.

Type of Paint You Use

Type of paint you usePaint type is significant when you estimate the time for the paint to dry. There are four main types: latex paint, oil-based paint, chalk paint, and spray paint. You may guess which one has the shortest dry time – spray paint. Why? Because spray paint has low density and allows the air to get inside and patch. In the ideal condition, it may take more than an hour for you to recoat the wall using spray paint.

Latex paint, which is also water-based paint, takes about 2 to 4 hours to dry in a suitable condition. You can apply this paint type with a roll or a brush, so the density and the moisture is at a high level. To make sure the paint is fully dry and ready to apply another coat, you may wait for at least 6 hours.

Oil-based paint is the most humid and moist paint as it has a high-gloss level. You will need patience and carefulness to apply this type of paint on the wall. Usually, it takes up to 24 hours for the oil-based paint to be ready for the second coat. The oil is the main factor which makes the dry time long like this.

Tips for oil paint: when first coating, you remember to roll a layer that is as thin as you can. A thin layer gets dry faster, while you eventually cover a new one over it, so you do not have to put a thick coat in the first place. The second tip is to choose a product with a low ratio of oil and a high amount of pigments. This product will help your work done more quickly.

The Way You Paint

The way you paintHow do you cover the wall with paint? Do you use a brush, roller, or sprayer? The way you paint also affects the dry time of the product. If you apply a thick coat with a roller or a brush, it takes much time to get things dry. On the contrary, using a sprayer or covering with a soft layer will save time for waiting.

As mentioned before, the paint in a thin layer is in low density and contacts more with air and the environment around. The wind blows and dries the moisture in this layer very fast. A thick layer has much paint and a lot of humidity. Also, the high density of the content will lengthen the dry time.

Do I Really Need to Wait 4 Hours Between Coats of Paint?

wait 4 hours between coats of paintAccording to the information above, the answer to the question is “yes, I do”. To ensure the best result for your project, you should wait enough time before applying the second coat of paint.

It is supposed in an ideal condition with an appropriate way of painting; the dry time of each paint type is as below:

  • For latex paint: 2 – 4 hours
  • For oil-based paint: 24 hours and more
  • For spray paint: 1-2 hours

However, we have some tips to shorten and save more time for your projects. Let’s find out some ways to improve the results and decrease the dry time.

The Best Tips for Painting Between Coats

Keep the Paint Coat as thin as You can

Keep the paint coat as thin as you canAs noted above, you will need a couple of paint coats, not just one, so the first coat does not need to be perfect. Do not use your strength and press much onto the wall when using a roller. Doing this will bold the paint lines, and it takes a long time to get the paint fully dry.

Gently roll the paint and spread evenly on the wall. Remember to make a thin layer and do not paint over the area, which is already done. You can also check how thin a cover is by seeing the color and gloss on the wall. If the color is not too deep and the wall is not shining or glossy, then the first coat is good.

Shorten the Dry Time

Shorten the dry timeThe main factor to keep the paint wet is the moisture. Get rid of or reduce the ratio of moisture; you will see the result of your project sooner.

You can use a fan, super fan to create wind blowing and drying the moisture. Remember to use a high-capacity fan and put it in the middle of the room. The fan should spread the wind widely to prevent the wall from drying out unevenly. You should also go outside while waiting as the room will be full of the smell of the paint.

Remaining the humidity at a low level is an effective way, too. The environment with low humidity decreases the moisture in the paint and also keep the room fresh and bright. For this issue, you can use a dehumidifier to absorb and control humidity in your room. This machine can work all day, so you can turn it on before starting your project.

Another way to reduce humidity is to use an air conditioner. Accordingly, this machine also has a function to absorb and dry out the moisture. It provides fresh air to the room and keeps the moisture at a low level. Also, you will need to go out and wait when using these machines as you can smell the paint, which is not good for your health.

Apply a Second Coat of Paint – Paint the Right Way

Paint the right wayThe way you paint affects the quality of your finished wall. Everyone wants a beautiful, bright, and uniform wall, but many of them do not know how to paint the right way. As a result, there are some streaks, drips, and lint sticking on the wall that no one likes at all. So how to apply a second perfect coat of paint?

You can start painting from anywhere as long as it is convenient for you, but remember to follow where you have painted. In this way, your paint lines are straight, even and you won’t miss any area. Paint in “W” or “M” shape as you do in first coat, do the “cut-in” near the doors, windows, and trims. Paint the areas in the right order you’ve planned, or you will paint three layers in one position.

Preparing a mix of paint before getting into the project is also very important. It helps you see the correct paint color so that there is no difference between the actual color on the wall and inside the gallon. Stir and mix the paint thoroughly before pouring it into a bucket. The paint used for the second coat must be in the same bucket with the one used them for the first coat.

When finishing the first coat, you will need to preserve the tools such as paint tray, bucket, stick, brush, and roller. Use plastic to wrap the roller to avoid it from being threadbare. Cover the bucket of paint with a damp cloth to keep the moisture level inside.

You can also clean the brush or roller if you have to wait a day for the wall to get dry. Don’t let the tools dry because they will be less qualified when you use for the second coat.

Patient! Patient! And Patient!

PatientPatience is the key in any stage of the painting project. When you prepare, you need to get things ready and cover things carefully. When you are in the process, you need to cover the areas slowly and do not miss anywhere. And when you finish the first coat, you should never touch the wall to check if it is fully dry or not.

Of course, standing in front of a beautiful wall you’ve just painted will make you feel like touching it right away. But it is not the time. You should be well aware of the dry time for each paint type in each environment. After reading this article, you are confident to know when the wall is ready for the second coat without checking with your hands.

What happens if you apply the second coat of paint too soon?

There is a small but essential question here for those who are rushed and hasty – Is it okay to apply the second coat of paint too soon? The answer is “definitely not”.

If you paint a second coat before the first one is fully dry, the color is not uniform and unevenly. The paint may even get peeled and cracked with many streaks, which will ruin the whole wall and your project. This thing is crucial. Make sure your paint is ready; otherwise, your result will be gone in a minute!

In Conclusion

Now you all know how long to wait between coats so that you can apply the second one onto the wall. Those tips mentioned above are tested and finalized by experienced painters, which can help you a lot in your project. Though many factors affect the dry time between coats, patience is the key to everything.

If you cannot measure and estimate the dry time in your living area, share with us where you are living, and we will give you the suggestion.