How Long Does Eggshell Paint Take to Dry? (& Speed Up Tips)

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Reviewed by
Eral Kadrija

Tony Adams

Eggshell paint has a low amount of sheen on its formula, so it dries fast. But, how long does eggshell paint take to dry?

It takes eggshell paint 30 minutes to dry to touch, 1 hour to dry enough for a re-coat, and 4-24 hours to cure (dry fully). But, since oil-based eggshell paint has more sheen (gloss) in its formula, it will take longer to dry.

Also, the eggshell paint drying time is determined by the humidity levels, room temperature, thickness and the number of coats. 

How Long Does Eggshell Paint Take to Dry Between Coats?

How Long Does It Take For Eggshell Paint To Dry Between Coats?

It takes water-based eggshell paint 30 minutes to dry enough for a re-coat, while oil-based eggshell needs 60 minutes. This gives the paint coating enough time to harden and compact to support a new coating.

For the paint to dry, the solvent (oil or water) must evaporate from the coating. Since water dries faster than oil, water-based paints will dry faster than oil-based ones. Also, oil-based eggshell is formulated with more sheen (gloss) than water-based paint, so the solvent evaporates slower, meaning the paint dries slower too.

If you re-coat too soon, the finish will turn sticky because the solvent won’t be able to evaporate. If the solvent hasn’t evaporated, the paint coating will still be wet, meaning the new coating won’t stick over it. This leads to a sticky finish that might peel off. 

To know if the paint is dry enough for a re-coat, feel the texture of the paint. For example, it’s not dry enough if the paint feels wet and moist. On the other hand, if the paint feels dry and hard, it’s dry enough for a re-coat.

You can also swipe fine-grit sandpaper over the coating to know if it’s dry enough. If the sandpaper gets clogged into the wet paint, the paint isn’t dry enough. If the sandpaper moves freely over the eggshell paint, the paint is dry enough for a re-coat. 

How Long Does Eggshell Paint Take to Cure (Fully Dry)?

How Long Does It Take For Eggshell Paint To Cure?

It takes eggshell paint 4-24 hours to dry fully (cure). When cured (fully dried), eggshell paint will have a dry colorful finish with low reflection because of its low amount of sheen. 

For paint to cure, the solvent must evaporate, and the paint particles must oxidize (harden and compact). Once the paint particles oxidize, the paint coating will reach its final form and be durable enough to withstand traffic, handling, and washing.

If you wash or use the paint before it has cured, the coating will get washed off because the particles aren’t bonded closely together and won’t be durable enough to hold water or handling. 

You must wait 24 hours until the eggshell paint cures before sealing it. A sealant, such as polyurethane, will form a glossy clear coat of the paint and protect it from moisture, water, and scratches. If you seal the paint too soon, the solvent will get trapped inside the coating, and the finish will peel off. 

How To Make Eggshell Paint Dry Faster?

1. Use a Hairdryer

Use a Hairdryer

Since eggshell paint dries through evaporation, increasing (or speeding up) the evaporation rate will also speed up the drying time. To increase the evaporation rate, expose the paint coating to increased heat. You can use a hairdryer for this.

Here is a guide:

  1. Turn on the hairdryer.
  2. Move the hairdryer around the eggshell paint coating (for 5 minutes).
  3. Turn it off and allow the paint to dry naturally. 

You shouldn’t dry the eggshell paint completely with a hairdryer. Doing this will make the paint dry too quickly, and this can cause the paint to crack and fall off.

2. Thin The Paint

Thin The Eggshell Paint

The lighter the paint coating is, the faster the solvent evaporates and the paint dries. So, to make eggshell paint dry faster, thin it before applying it. To thin water-based eggshell paint, use water and to thin oil-based eggshell paint, use mineral spirits. You must thin it in a ratio of 4:1. 

Here’s a guide to this:

  1. Pour eggshell into a clean paint bucket.
  2. Add the paint thinner to the bucket.
  3. Mix the mixture with a paint mixer.
  4. Test the thinned paint. 

Don’t over-thin the paint, as it can cause the paint to lose its viscosity and color.

3. Use a Dehumidifier

Use a Dehumidifier

The paint will take 2 times longer to dry during humid conditions or cold temperatures. So, to decrease the humidity levels, use a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier will replace the moisture in the air with dry air.

Here’s a guide to this:

  1. Open all windows and vents.
  2. Turn on the dehumidifier.
  3. Set the dehumidifier at 45%.
  4. Leave the dehumidifier to work until the paint dries. 

Indoor vs Outdoor Dry Time

It takes eggshell paint 1 hour to dry enough for re-coat indoors. The drying time of the paint doesn’t change indoors because the coating isn’t exposed to different weather elements, and the temperature remains the same. Also, you can use a dehumidifier indoors to control the humidity levels, while you can’t outdoors.

On the other hand, it takes eggshell paint 30-120 minutes to dry enough for a re-coat outdoors. During hot and non-rainy days, eggshell paint will dry within 30 minutes. But, during cold and moist weather, the paint will take up to 120 minutes to dry. 

In summary, during hot and non-rainy days, the paint will dry faster outdoors than indoors. But, during cold and moist temperatures, the paint will dry faster indoors than outdoors. 

Why Isn’t Eggshell Paint Drying?

Eggshell paint isn’t drying for the following reasons.

  1. Filthy Surface – If you apply paint over a filthy surface, it will take longer to dry because it won’t stick properly. So, always clean the surface before applying paint.
  2. Too Many Coats – The more coats you add, the longer the paint takes to dry. Also, if you apply too many oil-based eggshell coats, the finish will have too many oil deposits, and the paint will take longer to dry.
  3. Wet Surface – You shouldn’t apply eggshell paint over a wet surface. That’s because the paint won’t dry because the moisture on the surface will keep the paint wet for longer.
  4. Re-Coated Too Soon – If you re-coat too soon, the solvent will get trapped between coats and won’t evaporate. This will cause the paint to turn sticky and peel off. 

Final Words

In summary, it takes eggshell paint 30 minutes to dry to touch, 1 hour to dry enough for a re-coat, and 4-24 hours to cure (dry fully). You can speed up the drying time of eggshell paint by increasing the evaporation rate, thinning it before applying it, or using a dehumidifier. 

Tony Adams

Tony Adams

Woodworker, Interior and Exterior Painter, Flooring Specialist

Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about.

Eral Kadrija

Eral Kadrija

Lead Editor, Home Renovator

Eral has a passion for home renovation and repair. Over the years, he has bought, renovated, and sold 7 old homes. Using his experience from different DIY projects he created DIY Geeks.

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