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How Long to Wait Between Coats of Paint – Main Factors to Consider

We know what you are looking for if you are thinking of renovating your room by yourself or taking a DIY painting task into your hands. Unfortunately, often we miscalculate the period between coats. The result is unsatisfying, and we proceed to hire experts. But that will no longer be the case since we will be covering all the more important questions that might impose a challenge in your pursuit of painting. Let’s start with how long between coats of paint and when to apply the second coat.

How Long Between Coats of Paint?

You need to know that waiting is an essential part of painting if you want a perfect finish look. First, check if your paint is dry or not. If it is not dry enough, you will find patches, flakes, bubbles, and pits. Usually, the maximum time between coats of paint is four to six hours. But the duration also depends upon what type of paint you are using. Like- latex paints/water-based paints or oil-based paints. Let us know more about it.

Dry, Recoat, and Cure Time for Oil, Latex & Water-based Paints

Drying, recoating, and cure time are like the lifelines of the condition of your paint. Whether your paint is dried enough to recoat or has it hardened enough to move along the side of the wall freely is determined by these three stages-

Drying refers to when the solvent has evaporated from the coating. For example, oil-based paint takes 24 hours to dry, and water-based paints take one hour. Drying will also depend upon how thick the first layer is. If you want to speed up the process, you can first go with a thin layer. The drying time between coats of paint may also differ with brands.

Curing Time refers to the point where the coating has achieved its maximum hardness. This means normal scratches would not affect the painting. Example- Latex-based painting may take a month to cure to its maximum. But its minimum number of days to harden are 14-15. On the other hand, oil-based painting requires 7-10 days to harden.

On the other hand, Recoat means that the wall is ready for the second layer. Water-based paints take less time to dry for recoating compared to the oil-based paints.

How Many Coats of Paint Do You Need?

Now that we know the basics of painting, we are left with one question- how many coats do we need to put for best results? Usually, two coats of paint are recommended. For long-lasting paint, you must put at least two coatings. But if it is more than two coatings or just one, it might be because of the following-

  • Quality-Based: You will only require to put just one coating when you use high-quality paints like Benjamin Moore Ceiling paint.
  • Paint Color: The number of coating also relies upon the shade of the paint color. If your paint is light in color, it might need a triple coating. Although this method is not so common, you can go for a third coating if you apply a thin layer first for a quick-drying process with a dark color.
  • Repainting Walls: Coating more than twice will also be applicable if you repaint a wall. It means if you have a wall already painted and want to repaint it, you can go for more than two coats. If you are repainting a wall that already had a dark color, that time too, you will need an extra coating.

Things to Consider Before Applying Two Coats

Now that we know two coats are the most favorable for your walls, there are certain things to do while you wait to recoat.

  • Clean the equipment: While you let the wall dry for its second coating, you must clean the equipment you used for painting. It might be a roller, a brush, or a spray gun. Make sure to clean them for a smooth second round. Also, do not miss covering the lids of the paint to keep it from drying. This will save money and time.
  • Same method: Second coating does not necessarily need a particular method. But for a thumbs-up, start from one side of the wall and then to the other. Do not paint in patches, or you will lose track of where you recoated.

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Painting

Considering all the points above, let us summarize them while also mentioning the common mistakes often committed while painting.

  • Allow to dry: We know what happens when you do not wait for the given time. Patches, smudges, and many more will ruin your painting. A 24 hours wait is recommended. The time will vary depending on the type of paint. Likewise, wait for a month or more for the paint to cure.
  • Paint in order: Paint in the way you can keep track of while moving from one side to the other. There exists a general order- ceiling first, walls second, and the woods at last (if any).
  • Sand the wall: Often, people forget to sand the walls, which leads the paint to seep into small pores, making it look like rough paint. Any flakes or peeling from the walls are to be removed before painting. Wear a mask to protect yourself from the dust coming from sanding. Apply primer soon after sanding. The interval between primer and paint is also important; check out how long after primer you can paint.
  • Ventilation: Proper ventilation is required for the paint to dry. If all the windows and doors are closed off, it will take longer to dry.
  • Tape: Taping the area or the border around the windows and doors to avoid any unnecessary paint from chipping onto the frames. Due to its sloppy look when not taped, it is a must to cover all the areas with a frame.
  • Right device: If you do not know the device to paint your wall, it may give you a disastrous experience. Research beforehand regarding the paint and tools that will be better for your wall, or you can ask any paint professional.


Anyhow painting is a fun activity, especially when accompanied by loved ones. But to seek fruitful results, some steps and know-how play a major role. We tried to cover all the doubts you might have had. Even if you end up making mistakes, you can still relearn. So get that dream to paint on your wall into action. We are rooting for you.