Chalk paint must cure (fully dry) for around 24 hours before waxing. Once the paint cures, it reaches its maximum durability, adhesion, and hardness, and you can seal it.
You must apply wax over chalk paint to protect it from moisture, water, scratches, and other damage.
If you wax chalk paint too soon, the finish will turn sticky, tacky, or may peel off.
How Long Does Chalk Paint Take To Dry?
Chalk paint takes around 15 minutes to dry to touch, 30 minutes to dry between coats, and 24 hours to cure (fully dry). The chalk paint must cure (fully dry) before applying wax over it.
Chalk paint drying time is different from curing time. For paint to dry, the solvent (water) must evaporate and the paint coating must be rigid. For paint to cure, the paint coating must polymerize or cross-link to create a durable finish.
Once paint cures it reaches its maximum durability, adhesion, and hardness.
Chalk paint dries fast as it has a simple formula that consists of water, plasters (or binders, and pigments, which evaporate fast from the coating.
How To Know If Chalk Paint is Dry Enough For Wax?
To know if chalk paint is dry enough for wax, inspect the finish or use a cotton pad to test its dryness.
Chalk paint is dry (or cured) enough for wax if the paint coating is dry, textured, chip-resistant, and hard, its color shade has set, and 24 hours have passed from applying it.
Use a cotton pad to determine if the chalk paint is dry enough for wax. Wipe the finish with a cotton ball — if there’s paint on the cotton ball, the paint isn’t dry enough. If there’s no paint on the cotton ball, the paint is dry.
You can press your fingers on the paint coating — if you leave a dent when you press, the coating is still wet. If there’s no dent, the paint is dry.
Other signs that show chalk paint is dry enough for wax are listed below.
1. The Paint Finish is Dry and Textured
Chalk paint has dried if its coating is dry and textured. The coating will have a smooth and rough appearance at the same time, and give off a powdery feel when the paint is dry.
If the paint coating is still wet, it won’t feel textured or dry. If you swipe your finger on a wet paint coating, the finger won’t slide across smoothly and paint might stick on your finger.
2. The Finish Color Has Fully Set
Chalk paint finish has three (3) color variations from when the paint is applied to when the paint cures.
The chalk paint color shade will look shiny and lighter if the coating is still wet. The color shade will look deeper than expected when the coating is dry and not cured. The color shade will fully set when the paint cures.
What Happens if You Wax Chalk Paint Too Soon?
The finish will turn sticky, tacky, or peel off if you wax chalk paint too soon. In some cases, the wax coating might dry but chip off later.
You must wait until chalk paint cures (fully dries) before applying wax. The chalk paint solvent (water) must evaporate from the coating, and the coating must polymerize and reach its maximum durability before sealing it.
If you apply wax before chalk paint cures, the paint solvent (water) will get trapped between the paint and the wax. The paint solvent (water) will prevent the paint from drying, and prevent wax from adhering or drying, creating a sticky or tacky finish.
In some cases, the wax coating might dry but will chip off later.
What Happens If You Wait Too Long to Wax Chalk Paint?
The finish will be riddled with imperfections, dust, scars, and deterioration, if you wait too long to wax chalk paint.
Chalk paint isn’t durable and will develop scratches, dents, bumps, and imperfections if you don’t seal it. The paint has a dry textured finish that will get removed or damaged if exposed to constant water or handling.
All paint finish imperfections and damages will be highlighted after you apply a wax. Wax is colorless (transparent) and won’t cover imperfections or damages.
It’s recommended to seal chalk paint immediately after it cures (fully dries) to protect the finish from imperfections or damage.
Do You Have To Sand Chalk Paint Before Wax?
You need to sand chalk paint with extra fine-grit sandpaper (440-grit) before applying wax. This is done to remove any imperfections, bumps, or dirt from the finish that may show once the wax coating dries.
You must sand chalk paint with medium-grit sandpaper and apply one (1) coat of it if the coating is old or has been left unsealed for weeks. Old paint coatings are riddled with imperfections, dust, and dirt, and you can’t seal them directly without sanding.
Use medium-grit sandpaper to remove the top coating of chalk paint and smoothen it, touch up the finish with one (1) more coat, wait for the new paint coat to cure, then apply the wax coating.