painting exterior of a house

How Long Does It Take for Paint to Dry Outside?

In Exterior Paint, Tips by Jamie

Knowing how long it takes paint to dry is important when planning exterior renovation projects. The paint must be fully dried before it is rained or it will be damaged, and you need to account for this.

Water-based paints take 30-45 minutes before they are touch dry, while oil-based paints take 6-8 hours. However, there are many factors that affect drying times like temperature, humidity, and the type of paint used.

If you are planning an exterior painting project, read this guide to learn more about drying times so you can plan the job effectively. If you are looking for the best exterior paints then check our guide here, if not take a look at the information below about paint drying outide. 

What Affects Paint Dry Times Outside?

There are a number of factors that affect paint drying times outside. In order to determine how long paint will take to dry, you must consider these different factors together.

1. Overall Weather

The wind, humidity, and temperature will influence the drying times for your paints. Generally speaking, the paint will take longer to dry in the winter than it does in the summer. Naturally, wet weather will prevent paint from drying and damage the finish.

2. Humidity

Humidity is the most important factor in determining how fast paint will dry outside. Humidity is a measure of how much moisture is in the air. Air with high humidity will make paint dry slower; air with low humidity will let paint dry faster. The best range of humidity for drying your paint is between 40 and 60 percent, but this number does not take wind into account.

3. Temperature

Temperature is another important factor. Cold temperatures will slow down the drying process while the paint will dry much faster in hot weather. This is because the high temperatures help the moisture in the paint to evaporate much faster.

4. Sunlight

Sunlight has an impact too as it delivers heat to the painted surface. Painting in an area that receives direct sunlight will significantly speed up the drying time because it will be much warmer. Research also shows that UV light can improve paint drying times. Often, UV lamps are used to speed the process up, but sunlight has the same effect.

5. Surface You Are Painting

painting on wood surface

There are a few different surfaces that you might be painting, and each one will have a unique drying time. For example, paint on wood dries much faster than it does on steel or concrete. This is because of a difference in how porous the materials are. As the paint dries, it absorbs into the surface. If the surface is more porous, then there will be more absorption. This means that more water is pulled out of the paint and speeds up drying time.

6. Type of Paint Being Used

All of the factors listed above will affect paint drying times. However, all types of paint are different and the ingredients used to make them give them different drying times. It is important to consider the type of paint you are using when planning jobs and thinking about paint drying times.

How Long Does It Take Water-Based Paint to Dry Outside?

Water-based paint typically dries quickly, especially if the weather conditions are right. On average, it takes around 30-45 minutes before the paint is touch dry, and it will be ready to recoat in an hour. If it is particularly humid, it may take longer.

How Long Does It Take Oil-Based Paint to Dry Outside?

Oil-based paints take longer to dry outside than water-based ones. This is because oil is a much thicker consistency and may need more time to dry. Oil-based paint is usually dry to touch in 6-8 hours, but not ready to recoat for at least 24 hours. This number can increase significantly if the area is exposed to wind or direct sunlight, which speeds up the drying time of the paint.

How Long Does It Take Spray Paint to Dry Outside?

Spray paint is perhaps the fastest drying paint there is. In most cases, you can expect it to be dry in 10-15 minutes. It is recommended that you always use spray paint outside because you need good ventilation to avoid inhaling fumes.

However, if you are using spray paint on glass or rubber, the drying times are likely to be longer. With these materials, it is recommended that you give it a full 24 hours to dry fully.

How Long Does It Take Latex Paint to Dry Outside?

Latex paint usually takes between 4 and 8 hours to fully dry (and be protected from the rain). Ideally, you should try to leave 24 hours for the paint to dry fully as humidity has a big effect on latex paint dry times.

How Long Does It Take Chalk Paint To Dry Outside?

Chalk paint is a popular choice for wooden furniture, and it is relatively fast-drying when used outside. Usually, it will be touch dry in 30 minutes, but it needs 24 hours to fully cure. The paint is prone to scratching before it has cured fully.

How Long Does Exterior Paint Take to Cure?

There is an important difference between drying and curing. Paint curing means that the water has evaporated, and it is chemical bonds are changing so it has fully bonded to the surface. The process does not begin until the paint is exposed to air. Once it has fully cured, the paint will be properly protected from the elements and less prone to damage.

Drying simply means that the paint is dry to the touch. So, it may not come off easily, but it is still not fully bonded to the surface and it is easily scratched or damaged.

If you are painting wooden furniture or decking that will be used outside, for example, you need to be sure that the paint is cured before use or you risk damage. The same is true of exterior paint on your home because the rain can still erode it while it is not yet cured. It is also important when staining your deck outside to ensure enough time before placing furniture on the deck

Latex paints take around 30 days to fully cure. Oil-based paints, cure much faster and should be fully protected in 7 days.

Check out our guide on how to clean mildew from exterior painted wood here.

When Should You Avoid Painting Outside?

It is not advisable to paint outside if it is windy, raining, or particularly humid. This will slow down drying time significantly and make your paint job take much longer than planned. Additionally, it may damage the surface of the paint. Painting in extremely high temperatures is not advisable either because it can lead to cracking and it is difficult to apply paint when it dries too quickly.

Is There a Recommended Temperature to Paint Outside?

Ideally, you should only paint outside when the temperature is between 40 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit if using oil-based paint. Any colder than this and there may be a risk of the paint not curing properly.

Latex paint is best applied when the temperature is between 50 and 85 Fahrenheit. If it is too warm, latex paint can be difficult to apply because it dries too quickly.

Can You Paint Outside When It’s Humid?

When it is too humid, the paint will dry very slowly. This means you need to leave more time for drying and also expect problems with adhesion.

For exterior work like painting your home or decking, this can be a major issue because the weather may not cooperate with your schedule. You should try to get an idea of what the weather will be like during the dry days of painting to avoid this issue.

What Type of Paint Dries the Fastest Outside?

Oil-based paints are usually very fast drying, while water-based paint can take several days to dry. Latex paints are relatively quick-drying when used outside too. Spray paint is the fastest drying paint of all, but it does not have many applications. It cannot be used for painting your home exterior or decking, for example.

Can I Use Interior Paint Outside?

Technically, you can, but it will not give you the protection you need. Paint specifically designed for interior use cannot be used on exterior surfaces. This is because it does not have the chemical protection to withstand the elements.

If you need paint for exterior projects, you should always choose exterior-grade paint. This means that your project will be properly protected from the elements and the paint will last for years to come without cracking or degrading.

Check our article on If You Can Use Exterior Paint Inside here

Final Thoughts

Understanding paint drying times is crucial when planning projects. You need to check the weather forecast to find out when rain is expected and make sure that the paint has enough time to fully cure before then. If temperature and humidity conditions are not right, consider waiting before you apply paint. Finally, always check the guidelines for drying, recoating, and curing on the paint can because all brands are slightly different.

About the Author

Jamie

Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.