How Long Does Semi-Gloss Paint Take to Dry? (& Speed Up Tips)

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Reviewed by
Eral Kadrija

Tony Adams

Semi-gloss paint is a paint type known for its moderate sheen (or gloss) amount.

Semi-gloss paint takes between 2-3 hours to dry between coats and 12-24 hours to cure (fully dry).

To speed up semi-gloss paint drying time, increase the solvent evaporation rate, use a dehumidifier, or use a paint dryer.

How Long Does Semi-Gloss Paint Take to Dry Between Coats?

How Long Does It Take For Semi-Gloss Paint To Dry Between Coats?

Semi-gloss paint takes between 2-3 hours to dry between coats. The exact dry time depends on the surface type, semi-gloss paint type (oil or water-based), and room temperature and humidity.

Water-based semi-gloss paint dries faster than oil-based semi-gloss paint. Water-based semi-gloss paint uses water as its solvent and its formula contains less sheen (or gloss), so the paint dries faster.

If you re-coat semi-gloss paint too soon, the finish remains wet for longer, turns sticky or tacky, or peels off. That’s because the existing wet coating will prevent the new coating from adhering or drying, creating a sticky appearance.

Semi-gloss paint dries faster outdoors than indoors during summer and slower outdoors than indoors during winter. Since the paint dries through solvent evaporation, the paint will dry faster if the evaporation rate is higher.

Related Read: Gloss Paint Dry Time?

How Long Does Semi-Gloss Paint Take to Cure?

How Long Does It Take For Semi-Gloss Paint To Cure?

Semi-gloss paint takes between 12-24 hours to cure (fully dry). The paint reaches its maximum durability, adhesion, and strength when it cures.

Semi-gloss paint creates a reflective glossy moisture-resistant finish once it cures and prevents water penetration.

If you clean or use the paint finish before it cures, the finish may get removed, damaged, or cracked.

How Long Must Semi-Gloss Paint Dry Before Sealing It?

Semi-gloss paint must dry for about 12-24 hours before sealing it. In other words, the paint must cure (fully dry) and reach its maximum durability before sealing it.

If you seal semi-gloss paint too soon, the finish can turn sticky or tacky as the sealer coating prevents the existing coating solvent (oil) from evaporating. If the solvent can’t evaporate, the coating will remain wet (or semi-solid) until the solvent evaporates.

How To Make Semi-Gloss Paint Dry Faster?

To make semi-gloss paint dry faster, do the following things.

  1. Increase the Solvent Evaporation Rate.
  2. Use a Dehumidifier.
  3. Use a Paint Dryer.

1. Increase the Solvent Evaporation Rate

Use A Hairdryer

Since semi-gloss paint dries through solvent evaporation, increasing the solvent evaporation rate speeds up the paint drying time.

To increase the evaporation rate, increase the heat around the coating with a hairdryer or increase the airflow by opening all the room windows.

To increase the semi-gloss evaporation rate, do the following things.

  1. Use a hairdryer at a medium temperature.
  2. Move the hairdryer over the paint coating for 5 minutes.
  3. Pause for 30 minutes.
  4. Use the hairdryer again over the paint coating for 5 minutes.
  5. Allow the paint coating to dry naturally.
  6. Open all windows to increase the airflow.

Don’t fully dry paint with a hairdryer as it causes the paint particles to bond and harden too fast, creating a weak bond and paint finish.

2. Use a Dehumidifier

Using a Dehumidifier

Paint takes longer to dry if the humidity levels are above 50% as there’s too much moisture in the room that slows down the solvent evaporation rate. To decrease the room humidity levels, use a dehumidifier.

The dehumidifier decreased the humidity levels by sucking moisture from the room and replacing it with dry air.

To decrease the humidity levels to help paint dry faster, do the following things.

  1. Open all vents.
  2. Turn on the dehumidifier.
  3. Set the dehumidifier between 30 and 50%.
  4. Leave the dehumidifier to work until the paint dries.

3. Use a Paint Dryer

Use a Paint Dryer

A paint dryer is a substance added to paint to accelerate the solvent evaporation rate and make paint dry and cure faster. The paint dryer is added and mixed with the paint before application.

To use a paint dryer, do the following things.

  1. Mix the paint dryer and semi-gloss based on the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Stir the mixture.
  3. Apply the mixture to the surface.

You must add the paint dryer to the paint 5 minutes before applying it. The paint dryer can make the paint dry in the container, so don’t wait too long to apply it.

Why Isn’t Semi-Gloss Paint Drying?

Semi-gloss paint isn’t drying for the following reasons. 

1. Thick Coats

Thick semi-gloss paint coats take longer to cure as there are more solvents and additives to evaporate from the coating. Thin the paint before application to make it dry faster.

2. You Didn’t Sand Between Coats

You must sand between semi-gloss paint coats to improve the adhesion between coats. If you don’t sand between coats, the glossy existing coat will prevent a new coating from adhering or drying.

3. Low Temperature

For paint to dry normally the temperature must be higher than 50°F (10°C) and the humidity must be lower than 50%. If the temperature is lower than 50°F (10°C), the paint will take two times more than usual to dry.

4. Wet Surface

Paint doesn’t adhere or dry over wet surfaces. If the surface is wet, the moisture will prevent the paint coating from drying or becoming hard (rigid). You must clean and dry the surface before painting it.

If the surface is wet, you can use a stain-blocking primer before applying the paint.

How To Know if Semi-Gloss Paint Has Dried?

To know if semi-gloss paint has dried, do the following. 

  1. Light Sand the Finish: Use extra-fine grit sandpaper (440-grit) to sand the paint finish. The paint is dry if the sandpaper moves freely without clogging over the coating.
  2. Inspect the Finish: The semi-gloss paint finish will have a hard reflective glossy finish when dry. The paint hasn’t dried yet if the top layer looks damp, wet, or sticky.
  3. Apply Water: Semi-gloss paint when dry has a moisture-resistant coating that prevents water penetration. Add a few water drops over the finish, if the water doesn’t penetrate the coating, the finish has dried.
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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