Gloss Paint Dry Time (& Speed Up Tips)

To get a glossy finish, the paint must dry. So, how long does gloss paint take to dry?

Gloss paint takes 1-2 hours to dry to touch, 2 hours to dry enough for a re-coat, 24 hours to cure (fully dry), and 48 hours before you can wash the coating. 

However, its dry time depends on humidity, room temperature, and the type you used.

Gloss Paint Dry Time To Harden

How Long Does Gloss Paint Take To Harden?

It takes gloss paint 12-48 hours to harden if applied in the right conditions. However, the time it takes the paint to harden depends on the type you used. For instance, semi-gloss paint takes less than 24 hours to harden, while high-gloss paint takes 48 hours to harden.

This is because high-gloss paints have more resins, oils, and sheen in their formula. As such, the extra resins and oils take longer to evaporate and dry.

However, it takes gloss paint longer to cure because of its binder. Gloss uses an acrylic resin that contains fluids like linseed oils, alcohol, and organic acid as its binder. The presence of these compounds makes it have a thick consistency, and the thicker the consistency (flow), the longer the coating takes to dry.

Its cure time also depends on the material type, surface preparation, humidity, and temperature. You must apply it at a room temperature of 50-75 degrees F. 

How To Dry Gloss Paint Faster?

Method 1: Use a Paint Dryer

Use a Gloss Paint Dryer

Gloss paint dryers are paste-like substances made from a combination of metal carboxylates. You must mix them with paint before applying them. 

The paint dryer works by accelerating the oxidization of the particles. This speeds up the cross-linking of paint molecules and alkyd resins, making it harden faster.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Pour the paint into a container.
  2. Open the paint dryer.
  3. Add the required amount of dryer to the container.
  4. Apply the paint quickly and evenly across the surface.
  5. Leave it to dry for at least an hour.

Paint dryers are catalysts, so they will start immediately to accelerate the drying of oils. So, you must apply the paint as fast as possible to prevent it from curing in the container. This method isn’t recommended for beginners. 

Method 2: Use a Hairdryer

Use a Hairdryer

Gloss dries through evaporation, so if you increase the evaporation rate, its coating will dry faster. To increase the evaporation rate, use a hairdryer to increase the heat around the coating.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Move The Hairdryer Around – You must move the hairdryer over the coating all the time. Keeping it focused on one spot can make the coating dry too fast. Also, keep it at least 3 inches away from the coating.
  2. Turn off The Hairdryer – After 10-15 minutes, turn off the hairdryer. You shouldn’t fully dry the coating as the particles will harden too fast. So, the bond between them can easily break. 

Method 3: Increasing Airflow

Increasing Airflow

Gloss paint dries through evaporation, but it cures through oxidization. Oxidization is the process where the particles react with oxygen to become hard. For the paint to cure, the process of oxidization must be completed.

So, if you increase the air circulation around the coating, the oxidization process completes faster, and the paint cures fast. You can increase airflow by:

  1. Turning on the fans in the room
  2. Opening the air vents in the house
  3. Turning on the blowers and fans in the air conditioner
  4. Opening all the doors and windows near the coating.

However, while the coating is still wet or fresh, the coating is a dust magnet. So if you increase airflow in a dusty environment, the finish will be riddled with dust nibs and grain.

Method 4: Apply Thin Coats

Apply Thin Coats

Gloss paint has a thick flow and the thicker the flow (or coating), the longer it takes it to dry. Thicker coats will take longer due to a slow rate of oxidization and evaporation of the oils. So, to make the coating dry faster, you must apply thinner coats. 

Here are other methods you can use:

  1. If you apply the paint on a filthy surface, it will remain tacky for several hours. This is caused by debris and filth interfering with the coating-drying process. So, you must clean the surface before applying it.
  2. Since gloss is usually applied over another finish, sanding the finish will help the paint dry faster.
  3. Apply gloss early in the day.
  4. Don’t apply too many coats.

Indoor Gloss Dry Time

Gloss takes less than 2 hours to dry inside, 4 hours to dry enough for a re-coat, and 1-7 days to cure. The paint must dry for 2 days before you can use, clean, or wash it. 

The difference between inside and outside dry time depends on the weather temperature. For instance, during warm weather, the paint dries faster outside than inside. This is because the temperature is higher outside than inside. The higher the temperature, the faster it dries.

However, the paint will dry and cure faster inside during cold or moist weather. This is because the atmosphere during moist weather is more most or wet outside than inside. Therefore, the evaporation rate is lower if the temperature is moist, and the paint takes longer to dry. Also, inside you can use a dehumidifier to decrease the humidity levels, but you can’t outside.

So, the paint takes about the same time to dry and cure inside or outside. But, it dries faster inside when the weather gets cold or it’s raining.

Quick-Dry Gloss Dry Time

Quick-dry gloss takes less than 1 hour to dry to touch, about 90 minutes to re-coat, and 12 hours to dry enough for light use. You can use it paint 24 hours after applying it. 

The reason this paint dries faster is that it is water-based. For instance, Dulux Trade fast dry gloss is a 2-part water-based coating.

However, due to the water-based nature of the quick-dry gloss paint, the paint doesn’t last long. Though it dries faster, the paint is usually not as strong as oil-based gloss, especially on building exterior or outdoor furniture. So it’s a case of sacrificing the finish durability for a faster drying time.

Final Words

Gloss paint takes longer to dry due to its thick flow. Also, it has extra oils and resins in its formula that increase its drying time. 

However, it is durable, strong, and easy to apply. On average, gloss paint takes 1-2 hours to dry to touch,  2 hours to dry enough for a re-coat, and 24 hours before you can use it. 

However, its slow-drying time is worth it when you think of the strength and durability you get from the finish on your material.

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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