How long does oil or spray paint take to dry? Many, many people all around the world love and adore painting. For some people it becomes a hobby for stress relief or just a way to express creativity. For other people, painting becomes less of a hobby and more of a career, whether that means you are painting the walls of a house or the walls of a canvas.
No matter what you are painting, there are a few things you should know about using paint. Of course, you should know what type of paint best suites the job you are doing. However, you should also have a good idea of how long it takes for paint to dry.
What Goes Into Paint Dry Times?
With that being said, there is no straight answer for how long it takes paint to dry. This is because there are so many different kinds of paint with so many different ingredients that it would be tough to list them all out. There are also several different factors that go into determining the amount of time that it takes for the paint itself to dry.
For instance, the weather outside, the temperature of the room where the paint is, and how much paint was used can all play a role. The material you were painting on, whether or not you used other ingredients during your paint job, and how thickly you layered the paint onto the surface also play a role in this as well. Understandably, it can be tough to determine just how long you will be waiting around for paint to dry.
When looking at times, you will notice that there are a few terms. These are “touch dry,” “surface dry,” and “hard dry.” These describe different stages in the drying process and can be used to gauge just how much longer it will take for your paint to fully dry. More often than not, you should know the following:
Surface Dry: This happens when the solvent inside the paint evaporates, which is the beginning stage of the drying. This surface layer will stick to anything it touches, which means you should be careful if you are planning to apply more layers after this one.
Touch Dry: As the name suggests, the paint becomes harder to the touch. There’s a chance it could still stick to your finger, but there’s also a chance that it won’t. Any slight pressure will remove the paint though, so if you are testing to see if it is drying, you should only use a light touch.
Hard Dry: As the paint dries, it becomes harder. If you touch it now, it probably won’t come off. Depending on how much pressure you put onto the paint, you could still leave fingerprints or smudges on the surface of the paint though, so you should still exercise caution.
Thorough Dry: The paint is completely dry and you are free to continue working on the project.
When you think about it, there are two main types of paint you should consider: spray paint and oil paint. These are some of the most commonly used paints out there for just about all types of jobs. Because they are so common, it would be a good idea to know how long it takes for these paints to dry and what factors can influence the dry time.
How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry?
Spray paint is a wonderfully versatile type of paint that can be used in just about any situation that you need paint. Because of how common it is, it is important for you to know just how long it takes for it to dry. After all, depending on what you are doing, it can make or break your project to try and do anything to it while the paint is still wet.
Even just a touch-up paint job can take a good deal of time to fix and finish if you mess it up. Knowing this, you can usually expect most spray paint to be fully dry within one day. This is somewhat generous, but it’s better to be safe than sorry in these situations.
Drying Times of Different Spray Paint
Different types of spray paint are understandably going to take longer to dry than others. This is something you need to keep in mind when you are working, since these times can vary from drying in one hour to drying in over eight hours. The amount of time it takes for different types of paint to dry are as follows:
Enamel Paint: These paints begin the drying process within a few minutes due to their unique solvent formula. Surface dry can occur within 10 minutes, usually no more than 30 minutes. Within eight hours, it will be at the hard dry stage and you can expect it to be done within the day. However, if you use thicker layers of paint, it can sometimes take the entire day to be thoroughly dry.
Lacquer Paint: These paints dry noticeably quick, much quicker than enamel paints. Surface dry will occur after five minutes at most, with touch dry happening after 10 minutes. After three hours, it will reach the hard dry stage. You can expect it to reach thorough dry not long after this.
Epoxy/Polyurethane Paint: Because these paints dry mainly through a chemical reaction, they are some of the fastest-drying paints out there that you can purchase. After five minutes, it will be surface dry and within the hour, it will reach the hard dry stage. To play things safe, you can let it sit for a few more hours to reach the thorough dry stage, but after this, you will be ready to go.
How Long Does Oil Paint Take to Dry?
Oil paint, as you might be able to imagine, is noticeably thicker than other types of paints. This is because, well, it contains oil in it. Because of the thickness of the paint itself, it can sometimes take quite a while for oil-painted projects to completely dry. However, you can rest assured knowing that your oil paintwork will be completely dry within a matter of days.
Some particularly high-end paints might take upwards of weeks to dry, but these paints are rare and not commonly used because of their drying times. The same stages of drying apply to oil paints as well. For a general rule of thumb, most common oil paints will take no more than a week to be completely dry. Many paints, however, will become touch dry within 24 hours if you need to do any work with the painting before it is completely dry.
This is good news if you enjoy painting things at a leisurely pace between working at a job and taking care of the family. This is not good news if you are pressed for time, want to add new layers to your work, or you simply just don’t have the patience to wait five to seven days for the oil paints to be completely dry.
The color, or pigmentation of the paint can affect how long the paint takes to dry compared to other colors. Additionally, some paints are marketed to be fast-drying oil paints, meaning that they should take no more than two days to become completely dry. This is something that you will have to pay attention to, since drying times can vary between colors of paints. It is a general rule that cooler colors tend to dry more quickly than warmer colors, due to the pigments being used.