Categories interior painting

How Long Should You Wait Between Coats of Paint? 

Coats of Paint

When it comes time to tackle a painting project at your home, people often wonder how long you should wait between coats of paint? Not allowing enough drying time after your first application can likely leave you with disappointing results. If the first coat isn’t completely dry, the second coat has a good chance of flaking, peeling, bubbling, and clumping. In order to avoid these unpleasantries, we recommend allowing at least 2-4 hours between coats to ensure the first coat is cured. PaintRite Pros also recommends this. 

Why Do I Need Two Coats of Paint? 

A second coat of paint isn’t always necessary but highly recommended. This second application not only guarantees a more even distribution of your paint but also acts as a protective layer. Two coats make your paint job more resistant to fading, chipping and adds durability. It may be tempting to cut corners and skip that extra coat, but you will pay for it in the long run. If you’re going to spend the money for all the paint and supplies, do the job right so you have no regrets. Here are some things to consider when applying that second coat: 

  • Color Consistency 

The pigment in dark-colored paints has a tendency to settle at the bottom of the can when left sitting. In order for your second coat of paint to keep the same consistent color as the first, be sure to thoroughly mix your paint before starting the second application. 

  • Determining Curing Time 

Different types of paint need more time to cure than others. Latex paint only needs 2-4 hours to dry while oil-based paints require closer to 24 hours for complete curation. Don’t rely on just touch alone to give you the go-ahead. Be patient and wait for the appropriate amount of time for your paint type. 

  • Proper Treatment of Tools 

If paint rollers and brushes are left out while you’re waiting for your first coat of paint to dry, they will likely dry out. You will be forced to discard them before moving on. A simple solution is to place a ziplock bag over each brush and roller to ensure they are sealed off from the outside air. Once sealed up, placing them in the fridge will help ensure keeping them fresh. When you’re ready to start that second coat, pull them out and they are good to go. 

  • Painting Technique 

For best results, be certain to follow the same painting pattern on the second coat as the first. Professionals recommend cutting in the edges first then using a W motion to finish off the bulk of your wall using a roller. 

Factors That Affect Paint Drying Time 

There are some variables that can directly affect how long your paint will take to dry. What type of paint you are using, ventilation, humidity, and temperature all play a large role when it comes to drying time.

1. Temperature 

To put it simply, cold temperatures slow down drying time while heat speeds it up. Avoid either extreme for the best and most consistent results. If you’re painting with oil-based paint, the temperature should be above 45 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 48 hours. Latex and Acrylic paints require higher temperatures, typically above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Some paints are specially formulated to cure in cooler temperatures, even as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Humidity 

If your paint is exposed to excessive amounts of high humidity, the protective qualities of the paint can be compromised. You will often see leaching, white or brown discoloration, on the surface of your paint. Humidity can especially be a damaging factor when painting wood. Wood can absorb the moisture in the air which can stop the paint from properly adhering to the surface, causing bubbling and peeling. 

3. Ventilation 

Before painting indoors, always allow for as much ventilation as possible. Open any windows to ensure better air flow through the room. Running fans at the same time will facilitate pushing the fumes out, rather than circulating them back through the room. Air flow will speed up drying time and avoid you breathing in harmful chemicals.

How Many Coats of Paint Do I Need?

It’s a general rule that two coats of paint are best. However, this rule can change based on the color you’re painting over, the quality of your paint, whether or not you applied a primer, and even the surface you are painting. 

  • Painting with the same color 

If you’re repainting the same color your wall already is, one coat may be enough, especially when using quality paint. Consider adding a second coat if the original color has faded. On a new wall, apply two coats of paint after a primer coat. 

  • Painting your ceiling 

When painting your ceiling, use a primer and only one coat will be necessary. We recommend spending more to get high-quality paint to save you the headache of that extra coat. Ceilings can be exhausting! 

  • Painting light over dark 

When you’re covering light over dark or dark over light, plan on two coats of paint, possibly three. Assess the wall after the second coat to determine if it could benefit from a third. 

  • Exterior painting 

Obviously, at least two coats for your exterior paint are recommended. Not applying enough coats to the exterior of a home is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. The exterior of your home really takes a beating from the elements and heat from the sun. Protect your biggest investment and provide an exterior you can be proud of.

Conclusion on How Long Should You Wait Between Coats of Paint

If you decide that you would prefer the quality and experience of a professional painting company to handle your upcoming projects and you live in the Boise area, give us a call. We have years of experience painting in the Boise, Treasure Valley area. Whether you need interior or exterior painting services for your home or business, nobody will do a better job. Our other services include cabinet painting and fence painting. If you live in the Boise area, contact us today for a free quote.

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