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How Long Does Oil Based Primer Take To Dry

How Long Does Oil Based Primer Take to Dry

Sometimes, all you need to do to change the look and feel of your interior is paint your walls. To get that glossier paint finish that gives the room character, you need to prime your wall first. This raises the question; how long does oil based primer take to dry?

If you don’t consider the drying time of your primer, you might not be able to get a perfect paint job.

Whether you want to paint over oil based or water-based primers, knowing the exact time the coats of paint take to dry not only helps you plan yourself better but also ensures you do a good job.

Apart from the types of primers you use and the painting process, the application method matters a lot here as well.

So, to better prepare for the next time you paint a typical wall in your home, here’s all you need to know about the average drying times of oil-based primers.

Drying Time For Latex Primers – All You Need To Know

Broadly speaking, it can take a primer anywhere from 1-24 hours to dry. To get more specific with the average drying time to expect, here is all you need to know.

The surface preparation of your wall is necessary to ensure that everything from the first to the final coats of paint appears as it should.

Applying your first layer without preparation will result in tackiness or even the paint rolling off.

To avoid any of this unpleasantness, you must give ample time between coats of latex primers or water-based primers.

While waiting for your primer to dry so you can apply the first coat of oil-based paint or water-based paints might seem inconvenient, it does have one advantage.

It increases the cure time and overall cure rate of your paint. When paint cures thoroughly, it gives you an even better finish at the end!

So, to get all of these benefits, you need to set the right time frames for your paint project. That way, your painting projects go more smoothly and you can more easily achieve your desired results.

Major Factors That Speed Up Drying Times of Primers

As has been established, numerous factors influence how fast you can apply your first water-based and latex or oil-based paint layer.

We’ll be exploring the most important ones here.

Various attributes of latex paint and water-based primers have been analyzed and major variables that contribute to their fast primer drying time include:

  •         When the primer is applied with a paint sprayer.
  •         When it is applied in a location with high temperature.
  •         When it is applied in a location with low atmospheric humidity.
  •         When there’s good, additional ventilation.
  •         When brand name, quality primers are used.

Moving further, we’ll be looking out how these factors affect your painting project and the best way to use them to your advantage. 

Effects Of The Different Types of Primers

The recoat time of your preferred primer is strongly determined by the makeup of the substance as well.

As you would expect, the attributes of latex paint primers differ greatly from those of water-based paint primers.

This has a very direct bearing on the time frame you have to wait before you can commence the process of applying a couple of coats of paint to the smooth wooden surfaces in your home or the construction surface outdoors.

Here are all the types of primers out there and the dry times to expect from each of them.

How Long Does Oil Based Primer Take To Dry

Latex or oil-based paint primers are arguably the most popular resources you can use to do surface preparation.

That being said, they require a little more technical knowledge to use.

Also, with ideal temperatures, good atmospheric humidity levels, and proper ventilation, it can still take as long as 24 hours for oil-based paints primer to dry.  

How Long It Takes Water-Based Primer To Dry

It is relatively easier to use this type of bonding primer.

In addition to this, they have a fast-drying rate as it only takes a little over 3 hours for water-based primers to dry.

One reason for this is that under ideal conditions the water molecules present in these primers undergo the evaporation process faster.

How Long it Takes Epoxy Paints Primer To Dry

This material ranks as one of the new spray and chalk paint primers taking centre stage today.

It’s receiving attention due to its relative ease of application and remarkably fast drying time.

It takes only 5 minutes for the first coat of polyester and epoxy paint primer to dry.

However, you would need to wait an extra 30 minutes to apply the second light coat, if you want to get the best results.

How Long it Takes Enamel Paint Primer

Another chalk paint, fast-drying primer to look at is the enamel paint primer.

Its ease of application is also commendable. The dry times for the first couple of coats are about 30 minutes. To apply the second coat of paint can require a 5-hour waiting period.

Influence Of Environmental Conditions On Drying Time

So far, we’ve assessed the drying time of the oil-based primers and other paints under the assumption that other factors are at optimal levels.

Now, we’ll be critically looking at these environmental conditions and the role they play in your painting process.

In this area, the two most important factors to look at are the temperature and humidity levels that you will be exposing the primer to. Naturally, whether you’re painting indoors or outdoors matters as well.

For example, on average, coats of paint dry slower in locations like bathroom ceilings as opposed to when you paint the exterior surface of your house.

That being said, the best humidity level for drying primers is 50%. Similarly, the optimal temperature for drying oil-based primer is 21ºc or 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, damage from humidity can occur if you don’t wait enough time between paintings when the humidity is higher than 50%.

On the other hand, if cold temperature conditions arrive, you are still relatively good to go.

Cold temperatures don’t affect your paint primer drying time as severely as poor humidity levels do.

Influence Of The Surface Being Primed

The general consensus is that certain surfaces like wood and concrete dry faster than others. However, it isn’t always as simple as that.

On average, most primers will take the same amount of time to dry, regardless of the surface that they are applied on, provided conditions are not too humid and all other conditions are optimal.

With this in mind, you know now that the type of surface you’re working with doesn’t really affect the drying time.

However, the condition of the surface in question may impact the results you see. If you’re dealing with uneven edges or porous surfaces, you might need to prep it beforehand.

Doing so will make sure that the surface bonds properly with the finishing coat.

Best Resources For Applying Oil-Based Primers

At its core, applying primers for different paint colors is an uncomplicated affair. Still, you need certain resources to ensure that you handle the painting process well.

Some of the most important gear you need for this task includes:

  1.       A paint roller or brush.
  2.       One paint tray.
  3.       Some damp cloths.
  4.       Drop cloths.
  5.       A pair of nitrile gloves.
  6.       Protective goggles.
  7.       Protective outerwear.
  8.       Some good quality sandpaper.
  9.       Wall paint.

Keep in mind that some oil-based primers require sanding while others do not. So, be sure you’ve read and understood the directions of use of the primer before you swing into action.

That way, you’ll be able to follow the best procedures so that your topcoat comes out perfectly.

How To Help Your Oil-Based Primer Dry Faster

Every primer comes with the manufacturer’s instructions on how long to wait before you proceed with the painting process.

It’s always best to adhere strictly to these instructions.

That being said, there are a couple of things you can do to speed up this process. Here are some steps you can take to achieve this.

  • Use a brand name oil-based or latex primer. These products are more reliable and generally keep their drying times to a minimum.
  • Make sure you apply primers only at low humidity levels.
  • To ensure this, you have one of two options. You can either paint on days with less humidity or you can use a dehumidifier to lower your home’s humidity.
  • Avoid bad ventilation. When you keep air circulation high, you can promote a faster drying rate.
  • Start with a thinner coat paint application. A light coat of primer tends to dry faster.
  • Go over the paint layer with a hairdryer. Using a hairdryer to gently blow a cool breeze over the primed surface.
  • However, make sure that you don’t use high heat and keep the dryer at a suitable distance from the surface.


Hopefully this article answered the question: ”how long does oil-based primer take to dry?”

Now that you have a better understanding of how oil based primers work, you know the best way to apply it. You also know just how long to wait when you use them.

With this in mind, you can know how to plan the perfect weekend to paint your space!

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About Lisa Bohrer

Lisa is a native Texan who says she wears many hats. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, farmer, animal lover, fisherwoman, gardener, and college student. Lisa is a sophomore at Liberty University where she is taking classes to earn her Associates Degree in Creative Writing. She and her husband of 35 years fill their days with life on the farm raising goats and chickens, and then most evenings she can be found at the computer writing, or researching a topic that has piqued her interest.

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