How Long Does it Take for Exterior Paint to Dry: Complete Guide

Before applying paint, it is important to know exactly how long for exterior paint to dry. It makes the task a lot easier. But the answer cannot be found always. But we understand it is a major need.

How Long Does it Take for Exterior Paint to Dry

However, the answer depends on the type of paint you are using. Generally, it takes about 35 to 45 minutes for water-based paints to dry. On the other hand, for oil-based paint, the drying time is 6 to 8 hours. Moreover, several environmental factors can affect the overall drying time. The factors include humidity, temperature, sunlight, and others.

So, if you are about to obtain a project exterior painting, you better go through the complete guide we have given below. Hopefully, it will help you to achieve a perfect job.

What is the Difference Between Dry Time and Cure Time?

Well, there is a subtle difference between dry time and cure time. You might think these two are the same but no.

Cure time is the next step of dry time. Dry time mainly refers to the time length that requires between two coats of paint application. Thus, it is also known as recoat time. Moreover, you can consider the paint on your exterior is dry when the solvents evaporate from the paint coating.

Also, you can realize it when the paint feels dry to the touch. But you cannot consider the paint is 100% dry. That is why curing the paint is a must.

Again, cure time confirms the daily use of your paint project. Once you manage to achieve the proper cure time without any interruption you will get a perfect finish as well.

Until the paint you have applied gets cured, you cannot consider the job done. Moreover, the dry time of paint can range from a few minutes to several hours. But the cure time might require even more than 30 days.

You can predict the paint coating is cured when it reaches its maximum hardness. Only then you can consider the paint is a hundred percent dried. That is why cure time also intensely depends on the environment and its climatic conditions.

How Long Does it Take for Exterior Paint to Dry?

Well, we have already mentioned that the time of drying of exterior paint depends on several environmental factors. These factors mainly decide the actual drying time. Thus, let’s get to know the factors.

how long does exterior paint take to dry


Temperature is the most important factor that affects the drying duration of exterior paint. Hot temperatures allow the paint to dry faster whereas cold temperatures slow down the drying process.

Again, the too-hot temperature might not bring the best result. Hence, there is a certain temperature range that has to be ensured for proper drying. If the temperature goes below fifty degrees, then it will take too much time to dry and it is surely a hassle.

Then again temperatures more than 80 degrees will make you face another problem. Too much hotness will make the paint dry too quickly without letting the components of the paint make a strong bonding with the surface.

Consequently, you might find cracks in the paint job along with flakiness. Thus, the right temperatures for the drying of exterior paint range between 50 to 80 degrees. So, make sure the environment is offering the right temperature before you apply the exterior paint.


Humidity comes along with the temperature. These two factors are interrelated. High humidity is enough to ruin your paint job.

If the humidity in your region is more than 50% then you better not even start the painting job outside. The humidity of more than this amount will not allow the paint to dry within time.

It is simply because due to high humidity the environment air cannot absorb much moisture from the paint. Hence, the paint remains wet for a long time without drying.

So, it is important to check the humidity. A humidity of less than 50% will make the drying job a lot faster.


Sunlight, be it direct or indirect, is a crucial factor as well since it affects the dry time of exterior paint. Direct sunlight provides heat to the surface where you have applied exterior paint. Hence, surely it is going to accelerate the duration of the drying period remarkably.

Moreover, the study has shown that the ultraviolet ray of the sun helps the paint components to make a strong bond with the wall surface.


Wind speed also has the power to detect the time of the drying of outdoor paint. A light breeze or warm wind can make the drying process faster. But imagine blowing a cool and strong wind! It might ruin the paint job by creating ripples on the surface.

Moreover, a strong wind can take up dust and debris along with it and end up sticking to the outdoor paint. This is certainly an unwanted situation.

Nevertheless, the dry time also largely depends on what type of paint you are using. It is because different paint types are composed of different drying components and chemical elements. Let’s discuss them as well.

Latex-Based Paint:

Many painters out there choose latex paint over oil-based paint. The only reason behind it is its fast-drying properties. Since only one coat of paint is not enough for any painting job, you have to wait for about 3 to 6 hours before applying another layer of latex paint.

However, the paint is capable to boast dry-to-touch characteristics within 1 to 3 hours if it is used indoors. But in the case of outdoor application, it might take 4 to 8 hours almost. Again, it is also very important to achieve complete dryness before applying the second or third coat.

Therefore, professionals suggest leaving the exterior latex paint for about 24 hours before you apply another coat.

Oil-Based Paint:

Oil-based paint, on the other hand, takes a longer period than those water-based paints. It happens because the thickness is also another aspect that influences the drying duration. Also, different types of paint offer different coat thicknesses after application.

Likewise, oil-based paint comes with a thick consistency. Therefore, it also requires more time to dry. So, it achieves dry-to-touch properties within 8 to 10 hours or maybe more than that.

But before recoating, you might have to leave the previous coating for at least 24 hours. Again, depending on the weather and environmental conditions outside, the duration can be prolonged later as well.

Again, there are some other kinds of exterior paints like spray paint, chalk paint, and others. These paints also project different duration. However, among all, spray paint is arguably the fastest-drying paint and good for exterior use. It can dry within 10 to 15 minutes after applying.

However, if the surface where you are applying the spray paint comes with a glass or rubbery properties, then it will take longer to dry. Again, chalk paints are suitable for interior furniture. And the paint takes about 30 minutes to obtain dry to touch and about a day for proper cure.

How Long for Exterior Paint to Dry before Rain?

Okay, first of all, the rainy season is not suitable at all for painting outside. Hence, before you plan to paint the exterior of your home, you better read out the weather forecasting of the day.

How Long for Exterior Paint to Dry before Rain

Rainy weather will never allow your exterior paint to have a proper cure. That is why make sure that you can have at least a week or 4 to 5 consecutive days of extensive sunlight and dry weather.

Also, depending on the paint type you must have to ensure a day or 24 hours without rain.

How Long Does Exterior Paint to Dry before Second Coat?

The answer to this question also depends on the paint type, its process of application, and the surface on which you will be applying the paint. You can apply a thin coat of paint layer using a paint roller over a smooth or semi-smooth wall.

In the case of a thin layer of paint, it will take about 30-90 minutes to dry. When the first coat dries, you better not go for the second coat immediately.
Rather than get the best result from your water-based paint, wait for another 4 to 6 hours and then apply the second coat. The duration goes for almost all types of exterior paints.

However, for oil-based paint, give the first coat a leave of one day and then apply another layer. Moreover, you can also follow the instructions written on the label of the paint for getting a better idea.

How Long Does Exterior Paint Take to Dry on Wood?

Drying time also varies depending on the surface material to which you will apply the paint. You can paint over any material such as wood, glass, rubber, concrete, steel, or anything. Nonetheless, the different surfaces will take different drying times.

Luckily, compared to other materials, the wood surface takes less time to dry the exterior paint. However, the duration mainly depends on how porous the surface material is. A more porous surface will allow more absorption of the paint which accelerates the fast-drying process.

The wood surface is porous as well. So, when you apply outdoor paint on it, the pores act on pulling the water from the paint, and later absorption occurs. The process fastens the overall drying time. Thus, the wood surface takes less time.

Nonetheless, if you want to use exterior paint on the wood surface, then it will still take one to eight hours depending on the paint type.

Read Next:

How to Dry Exterior Paint Faster?

By keeping certain points in your head, you can dry exterior paint faster. Let’s get to know them.

Ensure Proper Temperature and Humidity

This is the first and foremost thing to ensure since environmental factors are a great issue in this very fact.

First, make your painting plan on a date when the temperatures will range between 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also, make sure that the humidity of the day does not go above 50%. Otherwise, it will cause peeling of the paint. Thus, go for painting on a less muggy day.

Enable Ventilation

Even though you are applying the paint outside, yet, the ventilation system of the place might not be so good. Hence, you have to enable proper ventilation. If the day is not offering you a gentle wind, then try out a corded or cordless fan for better air circulation.

For small projects, many use a hairdryer as well to achieve fast drying of the exterior paint.

Wait before Applying Second Coat

You just cannot hurry the process. Hurrying while applying paint on a surface will never give you the best result. However, keeping patience between each coat application is more important. Never even think of applying the second coat without letting the first coat dry to the touch.

Apply Light and Even Paint Coat

This is another way to make the exterior paint dry fast. Light and even layers of paint usually take less time to dry than thick paint coatings. Applying a thick coat of paint will slow the drying process and even will not allow you to move for the second coat. Thus, it will delay the entire process.

Final Words

Now you know the expected time for exterior paint to dry, you should consider the factors that influence the drying duration as well.

Always, keep in mind that if you adopt the right paint type and pick up the right day for the task and do the job following the right process, you will get a perfect finish.

Again, if you think you are incapable of doing this, you can also leave the job for professionals. But following the proper guideline of drying and curing time, recoating, and everything else, we believe, anyone can do the job!

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