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

Semi-gloss paint is known to give a beautiful and glossy finish but before you can enjoy this glossy finish, the paint has to dry. So how long does it take semi-gloss paint to dry?

It takes semi-gloss paint about 2 hours to dry but it takes longer for the paint to cure. On average, it takes about 12 hours for semi-gloss paint to cure.

But, for best results and durability, you should leave the paint to cure for a day before using it or moving items over it.

The ambient temperature, humidity, weather, and the number of coats applied all determine how long it will take for semi-gloss paint to dry and cure.

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

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

It takes semi-gloss paint about 2 hours to dry between coats. Water-based semi-gloss paints dry faster than oil-based semi-gloss paints. But, the water-based brands usually contain relatively lower gloss when compared to the oil-based types. This explains why the water-based types dry faster.

The dry time between coats of semi-gloss paint refers to how long to wait before applying the second coat. Most manufacturers advise leaving about 2 hours of dry time between each coat of semi-gloss paint. This is to give the existing semi-gloss coat sufficient time to dry and harden enough for another coat and for sanding.

You should know that you have to sand between each coat of semi-gloss paint. This is because semi-gloss paint is a glossy finish so each coat of the paint that you apply will dry to form a hard and slick layer making it difficult for successive coats to stick.

So the first coat must be sanded to allow a second coat to stick and you have to sand the second coat to allow a third coat to stick as well. But if the existing coat isn’t dry enough, you wouldn’t be able to sand it as sandpaper will not move freely.

Asides from not being able to sand, the next coat will suffer bleed-through, staining, and poor adhesion. So always leave enough dry time between coats of semi-gloss paint.

Related Read: Gloss Paint Dry Time?

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

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

Semi-gloss paint can take up to 24 hours to fully cure. The cure time of the paint refers to when the paint is completely hard, washable, and touchable. For this to happen, the paint particles must have chemically bonded and this will take a few hours with a semi-gloss paint.

Though some brands are said to cure in less than 12 hours, some of these paints will come off if you wipe them with a cleaning solvent after 12 hours. So it’s generally advised to allow semi-gloss paint cure for at least 24 hours.

When semi-gloss paint is dry, this means it can be recoated and this usually happens within 2 hours. For the paint to become dry, the solvent in the paint needs to be completely evaporated and 2 hours is enough time for complete evaporation.

However, for the semi-gloss paint to cure, the paint particles and oil deposits in each coat must become hard and completely bonded. This occurs through oxidization where the paint particles react to oxygen or dry air. The complete process can take up to 24 hours.

So is there a way to make semi-gloss paint dry faster? Even better, there are 3 effective ways to make semi-gloss paint dry faster and each of them will be discussed next in this article.

How To Make Semi-Gloss Paint Dry Faster?

Here are the three top ways to make semi-gloss paint dry faster:

1. Use A Hairdryer

Use A Hairdryer

The first method is to use a hairdryer. Hairdryers can produce heat as high as 150 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the semi-gloss paint can dry twice as fast.

For this method, you’ll move the hairdryer around the semi-gloss paint coating for a few minutes after applying the paint. The hairdryer will generate enough heat to dry the paint. To use this method, all you need is a hairdryer.

Here is a guide:

  1. Plug in and turn on the hairdryer
  2. Set to medium temperature
  3. Move the hairdryer over and around the semi-gloss paint coating for 2 minutes
  4. Increase the hairdryer’s heat
  5. Move the hairdryer over and around the semi-gloss paint coating for 1 minute
  6. Turn off the hairdryer and let the paint dry by itself.

While it can be tempting to dry the semi-gloss paint completely with a hairdryer, you shouldn’t. Doing this will make the semi-gloss paint dry too quickly and it can peel off this way.

2. Using a Dehumidifier

Using a Dehumidifier

The next method is to use a dehumidifier but this method works best in cold temperatures. When the weather is cold like it gets during the winter months, there is usually a lot of moisture or water in the atmosphere. This makes it difficult for the semi-gloss paint to dry since the atmosphere is moist.

But you can reduce the moisture level or humidity by using a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier will suck the moisture in the air and replace it with dry air so the semi-gloss paint can dry quicker.

Here is a guide:

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

3. Use a Paint Dryer

Use a Paint Dryer

Another method you can try out is to use a paint dryer. Paint dryers are usually used to make glossy paints dry faster. The paint dryer is an additive that can be added to the paint before applying it. The paint dryer will make the paint dry within an hour.

Here is a guide:

  1. Open the paint dryer
  2. Add the paint dryer to the semi-gloss paint
  3. Stir the mixture properly
  4. Test the semi-gloss paint to see if it goes on smoothly and without color variation.

Here are other tips to make semi-gloss paint dry faster:

  • Allow proper circulation while applying the paint
  • Apply light coats
  • Thin the paint before applying it
  • Use a paint sprayer.

How Long Does Semi-Gloss Paint Take To Dry Outdoors?

It takes semi-gloss paint about an hour to dry outdoors. You can safely recoat semi-gloss paint in about an hour if it was applied outdoors.

This is because the paint will be exposed to heat and wind (or dry air). However, you should know that the time it takes semi-gloss paint to dry outdoors largely depends on the weather or season.

For outdoor semi-gloss paints, the weather plays a major role in the dry time of the paints. During the warm summer months, for instance, semi-gloss paints dry quicker because there is increased heat and air circulation. But during the cold winter months, semi-gloss paints take forever to dry due to increased moisture levels and a drop in the weather temperature.

How Long Does Semi-Gloss Paint Take To Dry Indoors?

It takes semi-gloss paint 2 hours to dry indoors. You can safely recoat the paint 2 hours after it was applied but you should leave it to cure for 24 hours before cleaning or handling it.

You should know that the weather plays a minor role in the dry time of indoor semi-gloss paints. The major determining factors are air circulation and room temperature. If there is proper ventilation and circulation of dry air, indoor semi-gloss paints will dry quicker.

The room temperature also determines how quickly the paint will dry. Though the room temperature is usually determined by the weather, you can alter the room temperature using a thermostat, cooler, heater, or even fireplace.

So you can control the weather indoors to make it more suitable for the semi-gloss paint. But you can’t control the outdoor weather or temperature. So how do you know if semi-gloss paint is dry enough? Let’s find out.

How To Know If Semi-Gloss Paint Is Dry Enough?

Here a signs that will indicate when the semi-gloss paint is dry or hard enough:

1. You’ll Be Able to Sand Freely

When the paint has dried, sandpaper will move over it freely and smoothly. If the paint is still wet, the sandpaper will not move easily and the teeth of the sandpaper will quickly get clogged with paint particles and glossy film.

2. The Paint Will Feel Very Hard

When semi-gloss paint is dry enough, the top layer will be very hard and slick. It will feel like you are touching a glass surface. If the surface feels damp, cool, wet, or sticky, the semi-gloss paint hasn’t dried enough.

3. Water Will Not Penetrate

When semi-gloss paint becomes dry, the glossy layer will make the finish moisture-resistant meaning that water will not penetrate the paint. So if you put a few drops of water on the semi-gloss paint, the water will remain there. But if the paint is still wet, the water will be absorbed.

4. The Paint Color Will Not Come Off if You Clean the Finish

When semi-gloss paint is wet, the paint color will come off if you clean the finish with a cleaning solvent. But if the semi-gloss paint is dry, you can wipe, clean, and even wash the surface without the color coming off.

5. The Finish Will Look Glossy and Not Wet

Semi-gloss paint is popular for its glossy finish. When the paint gets dry enough, the top coat will become glossy and reflective but when the paint is not dry enough, the surface will look wet and not glossy.

How Long Should Semi-Gloss Paint Dry Before Sealant?

Most professional painters advise allowing semi-gloss paint to dry for at least 12 hours before sealing. In other words, before you seal the semi-gloss paint, it must have cured.

This is because when you seal the paint, you prevent moisture or oils from evaporating from the semi-gloss paint. Sealing the semi-gloss paint means covering it completely.

So if the semi-gloss paint has not dried before the sealant, it will never dry beneath it. This can also cause the sealant to peel off after a few weeks due to poor adhesion.

However, you should know that it’s not a common practice to seal semi-gloss paint. This is because the paint is very durable even without a protective sealant on it. Also, semi-gloss paints are known to have a higher level of gloss than eggshell paint meaning that you’ll have to sand the semi-gloss paint before sealing it.

But if you want extra protection and durability, you can seal the semi-gloss paint. Just ensure to sand the semi-gloss paint and ensure the paint is dry enough to be sealed. On average, this would take 24 hours after the semi-gloss paint was applied.

Why is Semi-Gloss Paint Not Drying?

Here are a few reasons your semi-gloss paint isn’t drying as it should:

You Applied Thick Coats

If the coat of semi-gloss paint is too thick, then it will take longer for the paint to dry because evaporation and oxidization will be slow. So before you apply semi-gloss paint, ensure to thin it or apply only light coats.

You Didn’t Sand Between Coats

As explained earlier, each coat of semi-gloss paint dries to form a glossy and moisture-resistant layer so it’s very difficult for other coats to stick if you don’t sand the existing coat. If the paints don’t stick, it can’t dry properly. So always ensure to sand lightly between coats of semi-gloss paint with fine-grit sandpaper.

The Temperature is Too Low

Usually, you are to apply semi-gloss paint when the weather temperature is between 50- and 90-degrees Fahrenheit. If you apply semi-gloss paint when the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the paint will take longer to dry as the weather will be too cold and the humidity levels will be too high.

The Surface Is Wet

If the surface is wet, then the semi-gloss paint will not dry as it should because the moisture on the surface will make the paint remain wet. If you want to apply semi-gloss paint over a damp surface, ensure to make the surface dry properly and use a stain-blocking primer before applying the paint.

Final Words

In summary, Semi-gloss paint takes about 2 hours to fully dry enough for a top coat but the paint takes longer to cure. Semi-gloss paint can take up to 24 hours to fully cure.

To make the paint dry faster, you can use a hairdryer, dehumidifier, or paint dryer. Finally, you should leave the paint to cure before it is used or cleaned. This is to make the paint last longer.

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