How long does paint take to dry? A key guide to drying times

Person standing looking at painted wall with a roller in hand next to step ladder
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’ve got a paint project coming up ask yourself How long does paint take to dry? It is essential that you know the drying times of the different paints you are going to use on the project so you can plan ahead. This will help get the job done quicker, so you don’t have to sleep downstairs any longer or wait as little as possible before you can occupy the lounge again.

If you are painting a wall it is most likely that you are using an emulsion that will be touch dry in an hour and ready to recoat in a couple of hours. While your gloss or satin paint will take longer to dry. So knowing paint drying times will help you decide where you are going to start and when you should be finished. 

Here we take a closer look at the types of paint you use in a typical paint project, how long they take to dry and how long before you can recoat. 

Steve Jenkins

Steve Jenkins is a freelance content creator with over two decades of experience working in digital and print and was previously the DIY content editor for Homebuilding & Renovating. 

He is a keen DIYer with over 20 years of experience in transforming and renovating the many homes he has lived in. He specialises in painting and decorating, but has a wide range of skills gleaned from working in the building trade for around 10 years and spending time at night school learning how to plaster and plumb.

He has fitted kitchens, tiled bathrooms and kitchens, laid many floors, built partition walls, plastered walls, plumbed in bathrooms, worked on loft conversions and much more. And when he's not sure how to tackle a DIY project he has a wide network of friends – including plumbers, gas engineers, tilers, carpenters, painters and decorators, electricians and builders – in the trade to call upon.