How Long To Wait Between Coats Of Paint

by | Sep 13, 2021 | Exterior House Painting, Painting | 0 comments

If you are looking to paint a room, then it is likely you have heard people mention that you should not paint another coat on top of one that has not dried yet. This is because it will affect how the paint dries and it will not look even. 

When you are new to painting, it can sometimes be difficult to know how long you should wait for the paint to dry. To help you know how long you should wait between coats, we have compiled an article of everything you need to know.

The Paint Drying Process For Interior Paint

To know how long you need to wait between paint coats, you will need to have a better understanding of the paint drying process as a whole.

The First Coat 

The first coat of paint is important. While it does not need to be perfect, it is the base coat and it needs to be applied correctly. It is the base that the other paint(s) will be painted on top of, so the paint should be applied in an even layer that is not too thick.

If you place too much paint on the wall, it is going to take a long time to dry. In addition to this, it could potentially get patchy and even begin to run.

While some people assume that fewer coats of paint are better, this is not necessarily the case. It’s actually better to add an extra layer of paint than to try for one layer that is too thick.

When you are applying the paint, you will want to use a paint roller. This will help you get an even finish on the base coat. It will also help ensure that the wall will dry evenly. 

Once the first layer of paint has been applied, you will need to wait for it to dry before applying the second coat. This will ensure that the paint is drying correctly and help you to see how the paint is drying on the wall. It will then be easier to see the areas you may need to focus on. 

On average, the base coat of paint will take up to two hours to dry. The exact time will vary depending on the type of paint used and the finish. In addition to this, the thickness of the paint needs to be taken into consideration too. 

The Second Coat

As we have already discussed, you will need to ensure that the paint has completely dried before you apply the second coat. The second coat of paint is one of the most important coats, as this is where you will need to be even and accurate with your roller strokes. 

While the paint may have completely dried after two hours, you do not want to go straight in with the second coat. You will want to give the paint a chance to settle on the walls first. This is called the curing process.

It is very important to ensure that the paint has time to cure and be completely dry. While the paint may seem to be dry, it will need to be scratch resistant before you are applying the second coat of paint. Only then will the second coat of paint sit on top of the first coat correctly. 

Ideally, you will want to wait for around 6 hours at least after the initial coat of paint has dried. By then, it will be safer for you to apply the second coat.

However, we would only recommend doing this if you are short of time. Waiting for around 24 hours is the best option, as you will then know for sure that the first coat of paint has dried completely. 

This is especially important for thicker types of paint, especially ones that are oil-based, because they do take much longer to dry. If you are using a water-based paint, these will dry in less time. 

How Long To Wait Between Coats For Other Types Of Paint

When it comes to other types of paint, the amount of time you will need to wait in between coats will be longer, or shorter, depending on the materials you are painting. 

For example, exterior paint is far quicker to dry because it is exposed to the air and sunlight. On average, outdoor paint will typically take around an hour to dry. Even so, you will still want to wait around 12 hours before you apply the second coat of paint. 

If you are using a front door paint that is water based, these will typically take 30 minutes to dry and 30 minutes to cure. This means that the second coat can be applied with no issues after just one hour.

Spray paint is one of the quickest types of paint to dry. This is because it is applied in a very thin layer, in comparison when you use a bucket of paint and a paintbrush. It will only take around 20 minutes to dry and one hour to cure before applying the second coat.

However, in contrast to this, brick paint takes far longer to dry. When you take into consideration the texture of bricks, this is understandable. Typically, brick paint will take around 3 hours to dry. Due to the uneven surface, painting bricks can be more challenging, but, they can be repainted in just four hours. 


As you can see, the time you have to wait in between coats of paint will vary, depending on the paint used and the surface it is being applied to. Remember, you will need to ensure the previous coat has dried and cured completely before applying the second coat.