To dry appropriately, paint uses four components; Additives, Binder, Filler, and Solvent.
The effectiveness of all four will depend on the temperature at which the wet paint is applied to the surface.
Understanding whether heat or cold causes paint to dry faster will help you make the best-informed decision about when to paint exteriors.
It will also help with painting interiors if you know where to set the thermostat, along with bringing in fans to circulate the air.
Effects of Temperature on Paint
To properly dry, most paints will need a temperature to be at least 50 degrees F, although there are some exceptions.
This means that the temperatures will need to stay above 50 for the entire drying process; otherwise, the paint may not dry fast enough.
Too cold, and the paint will have a difficult time bonding to the surface.
This means that the paint itself may have difficulty sticking, which also means that the work will look sloppy or, in some conditions, need to be redone.
Too hot, and the paint will dry so fast that it will tend to crack or create a hazy film on the top that makes the paint look unattractive.
You do not want to paint in temperatures above 90 degrees F.
That means you will have to do the job again by removing the layer and starting over when the temperatures have dropped.
For information regarding the optimum temperatures to paint both exteriors and interiors, you can look on the side of the can or check with the paint expert at the store where you made the purchase.
Keep in mind that if you do have to paint in cooler conditions, there are paints that can work in temperatures as low as 35 degrees F as long as the air is dry.
What Dries Paint Faster – Heat or Cold?
The hotter the temperature, the faster the paint will dry.
This is one reason why you see most people paint the exterior of their homes, offices, and buildings during the summer.
The heat evaporates the water or moisture inside the paint, which causes it to dry.
In addition to the heat, the circulation of the air also helps the paint to dry.
Air that is moving helps pull away the moisture from the paint, causing it to dry faster, especially in warmer conditions.
So, you’ll probably want to paint in the late spring or early fall if you are outdoors.
The temperatures during this time may be more comfortable depending on where you live, and it helps the paint dry at a proper rate.
If you decide to paint at another time of the year, you will need to keep your eye on the weather reports to ensure that you have enough time to complete the job before it becomes too hot or too cold.
Ideal Temperature and Humidity for Interior Painting
Always remember that high humidity and low temperatures can take the paint longer to dry.
It can also cause paint to run when you are spray painting.
It’s, therefore, vital that you keep a note of an ideal humidity range and temperature before you plan to paint your interiors.
Sometimes, it will more or less depend on the type of paint you are using.
|Paints||Temperature in Fahrenheit||Humidity Percent|
|Oil-based||40 to 90 degrees||40 to 50|
|Latex-based||50 to 85 degrees||40 to 50|
While keeping the ideal temperature and humidity in mind, ensure that you are painting at the right time of the day.
The best time of day to paint the interiors or exteriors of your house is by starting early in the morning.
At this time of day, the temperature is rising, and the humidity is getting lowered by the warmth of the morning sun.
If you are staining or oiling your decking area, for example, you can start by painting the surfaces that have already been warmed by the morning sun and are now falling into the shade.
Make sure you avoid painting your house late in the day or evening. Since this is the time when the temperature is falling and relative humidity is getting higher, it may take longer to dry.
7 Tips to Speed Up Paint Drying Process – Use Them When In Hurry!
It’s always challenging to dry the paint faster when you are spray painting in high humidity season.
Fortunately, there are ways that can help you speed up the moisture evaporation inside the paint so that it dries faster in high humidity.
Before we go through them, remember that you do not want the paint to dry too fast, or it will not bond to the surface as it should.
The following seven tips will help you speed up the drying process while the paint forms a bond with surfaces so that it stays put.
1- Lower the Humidity Levels
If you are outdoors, there is little you can do about the humidity.
But if you are indoors, you should lower the humidity levels by running the air conditioner or, even better, a dehumidifier in your room.
The cooler the temperature, the less moisture the air can hold. This means that the paint will evaporate faster.
However, you do not want the room to be cold because that might trap moisture in the paint, making it more challenging to paint.
2- One Area at a Time
I have seen people making this mistake many times.
By trying to paint more than one wall at a time, you slow down the drying process, which means you will be waiting around for the paint to dry to add a second coat.
Instead, focus on one wall and move to the next when completed.
In simple words, you should focus on applying a paint coat to the first wall section at a time. And when the first wall is completed, then only move to the second wall in your room.
By the time you have put a coat on the last wall, the first wall you painted may be ready for a second coat.
3- Thin Coats
The thinner the coat, the faster the paint will dry.
The reasoning is simple since there is less paint on the surface, it will dry faster compared to more paint of thicker paint layers.
It’s a good idea to paint in thin coats regardless because it speeds up the process of painting and will make the surface look more uniform as well.
When you are ready to paint, avoid piling paint on the brush. Instead, take the right amount of paint on the brush to apply a thin coat, let it dry, and repeat until you get the desired appearance.
4- Use Fans
The better you can circulate the air, the faster the paint will dry.
Using fans and opening windows is a good idea not only in speeding up the drying process but also in removing any toxic elements from the paint that otherwise might build up inside.
Plus, providing good ventilation for moving the air around will dissipate any unwanted odor from the wet paint to make it easier to work.
You do not need to direct the fans against the surface that is being painted.
Instead, you’ll want to circulate the air in the room by moving the air from one side to another, such as a door to a window or the other way around.
However, if the gloss paint is taking longer to dry than you anticipated, you might want to direct a fan or two at the surface to speed up the process of quickly drying the paint.
5- Use a Heat Source
Homeowners who need to paint their homes urgently during the cold winter find this paint-drying method highly useful.
No matter what surface you are painting (a wall, metal, wood, plastic, paper, or canvas), using a heat source like a space heater can work for you to make the paint dry faster. Just point the heater to the surface you are trying to dry quickly while painting.
Alternatively, you can use your hair dryer, a lamp, an oven, or a heat gun for drying purposes.
Using a heat gun or a hairdryer may seem tedious when you want to paint and dry a larger wall or decking area. But when it’s about drying the puffy craft paint or varnish on a piece of furniture, this method works the best.
Whichever heating technique you use for drying, ensure you do not overheat the wet paint, as it may cause cracks in the finish making the paint chip faster.
6- Water-Based, Non-VOC Paint
How fast paint can dry will also depend on the type of paint you are using.
Water-based paints tend to dry quickly because water evaporates faster than oil. This is, in fact, the fastest-drying type of paint available on the market.
Not having any Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) will also allow the paint to dry faster since they tend to resist being dehydrated.
Plus, being non-VOC means, it lacks the volatile compounds that can be dangerous to your health when wet.
7- Oil Paint Drying Mediums
Well, if you cannot compromise with the paint material and want to use only oil-based enamel paints to get the work done, this is what can help you out.
Oil paints are known for their slow drying time.
However, adding linseed oil or other types of drying mediums (like cobalt medium) can significantly speed up the paint drying process.
This can be useful when you want to spray paint your drywall in cold weather conditions.
Make sure you thin the oil paint (using turpentine) before you spray it on walls to hasten the drying process.
Another good way to speed up the paint drying is to paint the surface (or your painting) with acrylic paint washes and then apply a thin layer of oil paint over it.
While providing you with a lovely glossy finish, this will ensure that the oil paint dries out quickly within 2-3 hours, which may typically take about 24 hours.
The Bottom Line
The drying time of latex and oil-based paints will depend on factors like humidity and temperature (heat or cold).
Although most paints take an hour or less before they get dry to the touch, it may take about two weeks to completely get cured (to the point you can wash the surface).
That said, there are many types of acrylic paints and chalk paints that can dry faster, but it’s good to wait for the preferable temperature and weather conditions that are most appropriate for house painting.
Hopefully, the above information will help you decide under what conditions you can paint and what steps you can take to dry/cure the paint faster.
Knowing this beforehand will ensure that you get the quality paint job that you desire to have.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.