Epoxy paint produces one of the hardest finishes out there. But before you can use or enjoy the hard epoxy finish, the paint has to dry and cure. So how long do this take?
Epoxy paint takes between 4-6 hours to become dry enough to touch. However, it will take at least 12 hours for the epoxy paint to handle the weight. You can walk on epoxy flooring 12 hours after application but epoxy paint curing will take several days.
On average, 1 part epoxy will take up to 4 days to cure while 2 part epoxy will take 7 days to cure. The drying and curing time of the epoxy depends on the ambient temperature, humidity, and application of the epoxy paint.
But there is more to know about the drying time of epoxy. Let’s check it out.
1 Part Epoxy Dry Time
It takes less than 2 hours for 1 part epoxy to dry. To re-coat, 1 part epoxy needs between 4 – 6 hours. And, it has a 24 – 72 hours cure time before it can be subjected to foot traffic.
It takes at least a week (7 days) before you can park or move automobiles including motorbikes on 1 part epoxy. But, 1 part epoxy isn’t commonly used on garage floors and car parks.
It will take at least 30 days before you can wash and clean 1 part epoxy with a solvent. Epoxy paint should be applied at temperatures above 60 degrees F for adequate dry and cure time.
One part epoxy has a fast drying time when compared to other epoxy resins. This is because one part epoxy is a latex acrylic floor paint with epoxy resins added into the paint formula.
Other epoxy paints require a chemical reaction to dry and harden. But, one part epoxy paint goes through a process called “air-drying.”
Air-drying is a process where the paint particles in the one part epoxy dry and harden based on exposure to cool air. This process is very similar to how traditional paints dry and cure. And that’s why one part epoxy dries quicker when compared to other epoxy resins like the two-part epoxy.
2 Part Epoxy Dry Time
Two-part epoxy takes longer to dry and cure than one-part epoxy paint. On average, two-part exposure paint will take 2 hours to dry to touch and about 8 hours to dry enough for a re-coat.
It will take at least 24 hours for two-part epoxy to be strong enough to handle weight and foot traffic. However, the paint should be left to harden enough before automobiles including motorbikes are parked or moved on the finish. This will take an average of 3 days.
Two-part epoxy paints should be left to cure for at least 30 days or longer before the paint is exposed to solvents and cleaning. Also, relative humidity, room temperature, and surface preparation depend on how quickly the two-part epoxy will dry and cure.
That said, two-part epoxy paint should be applied at room temperature above 60 degrees F. Also, the concrete should be washed and sanded before the paint is applied.
The main reason two-part epoxy paint takes longer to dry and cure is that the paint contains a hardener and a resin. Both parts come together but the user has to mix them to create the epoxy paste which will then be applied to the concrete. The hardener and resin will ignite a chemical reaction that will produce exothermic heat.
It takes a while for this chemical reaction to be completed which is why two-part epoxy paint takes longer to dry. However, not everyone can wait several hours before re-coating or sanding epoxy paint. So is there any way to make epoxy paint dry quicker? Let’s find out.
2 Methods To Make Epoxy Paint Dry Faster
Method 1: Heat The Epoxy Paint
A top choice for making epoxy dry faster is to heat the epoxy paint. By heating the epoxy, you will jumpstart the chemical reaction and drying process of the epoxy. You can increase the heat around the epoxy coating by using a heat lamp, hairdryer, room radiator, or heater.
Here is how to do it:
1. Plug in and Turn on The Heater
The first step is to turn on the heater.
2. Set The Temperature Between 70 and 85 degrees F
Other paints will blister off when exposed to increased temperatures. But, epoxy paints dry faster when exposed to hotter temperatures. The temperature, however, should be set below 90 degrees F.
3. Move The Heater Around The Epoxy Paint Coating
Ensure the heating source doesn’t come in contact with the epoxy coating. Keep the heater about 3 inches from the epoxy and move the heater around so the heat is evenly dispersed.
You should do this for about 10 minutes before turning off the heater. According to reports, epoxy will dry 50% faster when exposed to temperatures about 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tip: Never use a heat gun to heat epoxy paint. Heat guns can produce heat as high as 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. This is too much heat for the epoxy to handle.
Let’s check out another method.
Method 2: Increase Air Circulation
This method works better for one part epoxy paint. Since one part epoxy dries based on exposure to cool air, increasing air circulation around the epoxy coating will make the one part epoxy paint dry quicker.
This method also works for two-part epoxy paints as it makes the paint coating leave its tacky state faster. To increase air circulation, you should:
- Turn on fans
- Open the air vents in the room
- Open all doors and windows around the epoxy coating
- You can also run the blower or fan in your air conditioner
Let’s check out some other tips to make epoxy paint dry faster.
Tips To Follow When Applying Epoxy Paint To Make The Paint Dry Faster
Here are a few rules to follow when applying epoxy:
1. Don’t Apply More Than Two Coats Of Epoxy.
Epoxy paint has a thick consistency. Adding more than 2 coats will take longer to cure since the rate of evaporation and chemical reaction is slowed down.
2. Don’t Add Too Much Hardener
This is very vital when applying two-part epoxy. The hardener is designed to make the epoxy coating harder so most users think adding a hardener will make the paint get hard quicker. This is false. When you add too much hardener, the ratio of the epoxy paint will be thrown off balance and thus will result in poor results.
3. Don’t Apply Epoxy in Cold Weather
Cold temperatures slow down the chemical reaction and air-drying of epoxy paints. This is because cold temperature is accompanied by moisture which will increase humidity and cause the epoxy to slow-dry.
4. Always Ensure Adequate Preparation Before Applying The Epoxy
Ensure to clean, wash, degrease, sand, and prime if needed before applying the epoxy. If epoxy is applied to filth, it will take longer to dry due to poor paint bonding.
How Long Before You Can Walk On Epoxy Floor?
If you are using 100% solids epoxy, you should wait at least 12 hours before walking on the epoxy floor. That’s only if the epoxy was applied in perfect conditions. It takes 100% solids epoxy between 12 hours and 18 hours to handle human weight or foot traffic.
However, it’s advised to wait for 24 hours after applying the epoxy before you can walk over it. This time is to allow the epoxy to become strong enough to withstand weight and foot traffic. You should let the epoxy cure for about 3 days before heavy foot traffic or objects are placed on the finish.
Epoxy paints that contain polyaspartic tend to dry faster. You can walk on them in less than 10 hours provided the paint was applied correctly and in temperatures higher than 60 degrees F.
Polyaspartic flooring dries quicker due to the chemical make-up of the coating. Polyaspartic flooring is a sun-group of polyurethane which for the record dries and cured faster than epoxy.
What Temperature Does Epoxy Cure At?
Epoxy paint cures at temperatures above 60 degrees F. Most epoxy paints and resins reach full hardness and physical properties when exposed to temperatures between 60 – 85 degrees F. This is because epoxy paints harden or cure based on the cross-linking of the resin and hardener molecules and exothermic heat.
When the hardener and resin are mixed, the mixture causes a cross-link between the resin molecules and hardener molecules. This link ignites a charge that produces exothermic heat in the epoxy paint coating which causes the epoxy to harden and cure.
If the epoxy is exposed to high temperatures, the ignition caused by the cross-link of molecules will be accelerated causing an increased level of exothermic heat which will then cause the epoxy coating to cure or harden quicker.
So in a nutshell, epoxy paint will harden when exposed to higher temperatures which is why the paint can be exposed to temperatures as high as 85 degrees F without any damage or blister to the epoxy coating.
However, you shouldn’t expose the epoxy to a heat source above 85 degrees F. Though two-part epoxy will benefit greatly from increased temperatures, one-part epoxy doesn’t need that high of a temperature to cure. This is because one part epoxy cures based on ambient airflow.
So if you apply one-part epoxy in temperatures not as high as 80 degrees F, it will still cure fine. One part epoxy will even cure in weather temperature lower than 60 degrees F.
But, you should never apply any type of epoxy at a temperature lower than 50 degrees.
How Do You Know When Epoxy Has Cured?
Epoxy paint has cured when the paint has hardened and reached complete physical properties.
To know if epoxy paint has cured, try denying the paint coating. If you notice an indent, then the epoxy coating hasn’t cured. If the paint coating has cured, it will be very difficult to cause a dent in the finish.
You shouldn’t use your fingernail to dent the epoxy coating. This is because epoxy paint contains harmful chemicals like lead and scrapping or denting the paint coating with your fingernails can leave a build-up of lead underneath the fingernails especially if the epoxy hasn’t cured. So, it’s best to avoid that.
A perfect way to test the curing process of the epoxy is to try and dent the paint coating with an object that wouldn’t go on your body or in your mouth.
Epoxy paint has one of the hardest finishes in the painting world. The finish is so hard that it is used to cover garage floors, walkways, car parks, and driveways.
When the paint has hardened completely, it’s very hard to cause an indent in it. So if you can, then the paint hasn’t cured yet but it might be dry enough to touch or handle. Also, you should let the paint dry completely before sanding or sealing it.
How Long Does It Take Epoxy Garage Paint To Dry?
Epoxy garage paint takes about 12 hours to dry. The finish can handle light traffic in about 24 hours if applied correctly and under the right temperatures. However, the paint should be left to cure for at least 72 hours (or 3 days) before it is used.
For maximum results, let epoxy garage paint dry for at least a week before it is subjected to automobile use. If epoxy garage paint is used prematurely, the finish will develop indents and clumps.
Why Isn’t Epoxy Not Drying?
Epoxy won’t dry if you didn’t mix it properly — usually if you undermix it. If you don’t mix the epoxy paint properly, the chemical reaction between the harden and resin won’t happen properly and the epoxy will turn sticky.
Overall, epoxy paint takes a while to cure. This is because the paint is designed to be used in heavy traffic areas. As such, the paint will take some time to dry and harden enough to handle heavy use. Also, epoxy paint requires a chemical reaction to dry and this will take some time too.
However, you can fasten the drying time of the paint by following the tips above, and remember, always let the paint cure fully before use.