How Long After Primer Can You Paint Image

How Long Does Primer Take to Dry? – Interval of Prime and Paint

When painting a wall or any art piece, painters apply primer before paint or a base coating before painting. Primer is used to seal the surface and increase paint durability. In short, to make a flawless painting, primer is used before the paint. Every person who paints might have wonder about paint dry time and the time between coats of paint. It’s a common and natural question that comes to every person’s mind. Here you will get to know all the desired and relevant information on how long after primer can you paint.

How Long After Primer Can You Paint?

It’s always recommended to read the instructions before using anything. Before applying, check once the instructions that the primer came with. Most of the primers dry out between 30 minutes to 2 hours. In comparison, some could take an entire day. You can know the exact time your primer will take to dry by looking at the product label and instructions. Before applying paint on primer it is preferable to let your it dry for at least 24 hours. This will ensure the durability of the paint.

Different types of primers take a different amount of time to dry out. Below we have listed a few primers, and the time they take to dry. Browse through them and know the difference between their drying time.

Primer Cure Time

Primer TypeDrying TimeBest Use for
Latex (acrylic)Water-based primer3-4 hours Drywall plaster, masonry, and wood  
Oil-based primer24 hours or moreWood and metal
Shellac primer1hourMetal, wood, and plastic
Urethane primer30 mins to 18 hoursOther previously painted surfaces, steel, iron, aluminum, fiberglass
Epoxy primer30 mins to 1 hourSteel, fiberglass, and plastic
Acrylic Lacquer primerAbout 24 hoursUsed for automotive

How to Know When Primer is Dry?

Now when you have successfully applied primer on the surface to be painted, it’s time to let the primer dry. Your primer will approximately take about 30 minutes to 2 hours to fully dry. However, the drying time depends on the primer you are using. Also, there are some other factors about which we will be discussing soon.

The best way to tell if your primer is fully dried is by touching the surface after a stipulated time. If it is dry to be touched and doesn’t come off on your finger, then it has dried. If your primer is still tacky, then it’s not fully dried. Let the primer set properly before applying the paint. In this way, you will get a stunning piece of art.

Factors that Affect the Primer’s Sit Time?

Each type of primer has its own standard time to set. However, the time duration can be affected due to some external factors. There might be circumstances where your primer may take a longer time to dry or even dry faster. We have listed a few factors that affect the primer’s sit time.

1. Primer Type

Primer is your first coat of paint. Different types of primer take a different amount of time to set down. Before purchasing the primer, you should pay attention to your needs and primer dry time. Also, do check the instructions and directions given on the product’s label. We have already discussed which primer type takes how much time to get fully dry. Please have a look at the table we mentioned before.

2. Type Of The Surface

The surface you are covering is also a prime factor in deciding the primer’s sit time. Some surfaces will require more time while some less. If you are covering a darker surface, a stained wood, it may require longer to dry. While priming a metal requires almost four hours to dry fully.

3. Coat’s Thickness

The thickness of the first coat of primer is the obvious factor affecting the primer’s sit time. If you apply a thin layer of primer, then it will take less time to dry out. Applying a thick layer means your primer will take longer to dry completely. Generally, the manufacturer gives the instructions required to cover the surface. So, keep in mind to follow those instructions.

4. Temperature And Humidity

Temperature and humidity are two important factors in determining the dry time of primer. The hotter and humid the area is, the more time your primer will take to dry. If you are painting at a low temperature, your primer is likely to dry in about an hour. To keep an ideal temperature for your painting is important. Temperature and humidity affect the flawlessness of the painting.

How Do You Make Primer Dry Faster?

In some cases, you might need to get your primer dry faster. Some easy tips can be followed through to get your primer dry faster. Consider these tips the next time when you are priming any surface.

  • Primer tends to dry faster in a less humid environment. But if your surroundings are hot and humid, you can take the help of a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier reduces the home’s humidity, making the primer dry fast.
  • If you apply thick layers, your primer will take time to dry. Avoid applying a thick coat of primer as they will take more time to dry.
  • You can also make the primer dry faster by increasing the air circulation in your home. For this, open the windows and inside doors of the house. In this way, more air can come inside, making your primer dry faster.
  • If you need to make the painting early, then use a fast-drying primer. The best option is to use self-priming paint. But if you consider not using a two-in-one option, you can use a latex primer.


1. How long will primer take to dry on wood?

Ans: Latex, oil-based primer, and shellac primer are used to prime wood. Most latex paint drying time is 30 minutes to 1 hour. But wait at least 3 three hours to let the primer dry completely. Oil primers take about 24 hours, while shellac primer dries in about an hour.

2. Do you need two layers or coats of primer?

Ans: The coating of the primer depends on the surface which you are covering. A thin layer of primer might not be enough to cover a darker or uneven surface and thus requires two layers. Primers are used for covering the imperfection of the surface. So, make sure that you cover the surface properly to make your painting flawless.

3. Will painting too soon after primer be good?

Ans: If you do not let your primer set properly, it can ruin your whole painting. Before applying the paint, make sure that your primer has dried completely. Touch the surface to check if the primer is ready to be painted or not.

4. Is it ok to leave the primer for too long?

Ans: It is very important and necessary to let your primer dry completely before painting. Do not leave the primer unpainted for too long. It may ruin your painting, making it look uneven and hard. It is advised to leave the primer for a stipulated period before applying the paint.

Final Thoughts

Be attentive to the primer you are using. Different surfaces require different types of primers. Keep in mind that the dry time of the primers depends on various factors. So, before starting any painting, make sure you are aware of the best paint primers for walls based on the surface and your needs. Primer is applied to smoothen the porous surface. This helps in better adhesion of the paint. And makes your painting impressive and dazzling. Plan your painting schedule and be patient to have the best results.