How Long Does Primer Take to Dry? 20 Primer Examples




How Long Does Primer Take to Dry

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How Long Does Primer Take to Dry? You need to know how long the primer takes to dry before you can plan your painting projects.

If you apply primer too soon, it will cause a disaster.

Let’s now discuss the various factors you should be aware of when using primer.

The type of primer and the painting conditions will determine how long it takes between coats. Your primer will dry in between 1-2 hours and 24 hours.

How long does oil-based primer dry?

Wait for the primer to dry completely before you apply a layer of paint. Otherwise, you could end up with a sprayer disaster such as tackiness or even pulling paint off your surface by brushing/rolling.

Six Facts That Will Save You Time

Oil based primer dry time depends on the following factors.

Primer Drying Conditions
Use a sprayer to apply the herb
Primer Brand Name
Low Humidity
Higher Temperature
Good ventilation


Spraying primer will result in thinner coats than when you brush/roll it on. In ideal conditions, you can test your surface in as little as 1-2 hours if you use a paint sprayer.

Dry Times for the Most In-demand Primers

The drying times for different brands and types of primers will vary. There are four types of primer: oil-based (or water-based), latex (or both), shellac, and self-priming.

Here is a table that shows the drying times of several popular primers. It will give you an idea of what it takes.

BrandTypeDrying Time
Kilz 2 All-PurposeLatex60 minutes
ValsparLatex60 minutes
Zinsser Bull’s EyeLatex60 minutes
Kilz Mold and MildewLatex30-60 minutes
Zinsser Rust-OleumLatex60 minutes
Kilz OriginalOil-Based30-60 minutes
Zinsser Cover StainOil-Based30-60 minutes
Rust-Oleum MetalOil-Based2 to 4 hours
Zinsser OdorlessOil-Based30-60 minutes
Valspar Anti-RustOil-Based2 to 4 hours
Zinsser B-I-NShellac25-60 minutes
Zinsser Clear B-I-NShellac25-60 minutes
Zinsser Bull’s EyeShellac30-60 minutes
Behr UltraSelf-Priming PaintIt takes 1-2 hours
Behr MarqueeSelf-Priming PaintIt takes 1-2 hours
Behr Premium PlusSelf-Priming PaintIt takes 1-2 hours
ValsparSelf-Priming Paint30-60 minutes
HGTV HomeSelf-Priming Paint30-60 minutes
HGTV Home ShowcaseSelf-Priming Paint60 minutes
ZinsserSelf-Priming Paint30-60 minutes

Factors that Impact Primer’s Drying Time

There are many factors that can affect drying times, including the primer type, humidity, temperature, coating thickness, ventilation, and the surface you are priming.

Type of primer

There are four types of primer available: oil-based, latex, shellac, and self-priming.

Water-based latex primers can be used. These primers are great for unfinished wall drywall, and they dry quickly. They should all dry in less than an hour, according to the list I’ve called.

They are versatile oil-based primers. These primers can be used to seal porous surfaces or bare wood. Although they dry faster than other types, it can take up to four hours for them to dry.

Shellac primers can be used to cover stains. This is especially true if you are painting on a wall that has suffered from smoke damage or water damage. These primers can also prevent foul odors. These primers can be used on any surface, including wood, metal, and plaster. Shellac primers, which are similar to latex, dry quickly and usually in 60 minutes.

Self-priming paint can be used as both a primer and paint. Because you don’t have to wait between each product, it’s intended to save time and money. Self-priming paints dry in two hours. Some can be applied to another coat in one hour.

Temperature and humidity

Many brands recommend a room temperature of at least 40°F. Zinsser Cover Stain Primer, for instance, recommends that primer applications be done between 40-80°F (4-27°C), with a maximum humidity of 85%.

The primer may take longer to dry if the air is too humid or hot. The primer can become too thick if the air temperature is too low, especially for oil-based primers. This can make it difficult to apply. In cold weather, latex paints can freeze. Before applying primer, it is best to wait for the temperature to stabilize.

Both indoor and outdoor primers can be used with the same recommendations for temperature and humidity. It is much easier to control the temperature and humidity inside. If it is too hot, set your thermometer.

Priming outdoors is more difficult because you can’t control these variables. You might need to monitor the weather forecast to ensure the best conditions for your job.

Coating Thickness

The drying process can be prolonged by applying thick coats to primer. Follow the manufacturer’s directions. Use enough primer but not too.


For proper ventilation, you may need to open windows and doors, especially if the primers are oil-based or shellac. These primers contain stronger chemicals than latex. Good airflow can help reduce drying times.

Surfaces You Are Priming

The drying time may be affected by the surface you are priming. Priming metal takes up to four hours to dry. Priming stained wood, new drywall, and darker surfaces will take longer because two coats are typically required.

How to Make Primer Dry Faster

It is a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for drying before painting.

There are many ways to speed up drying, but you need to do so within the time limit. These are steps that can be taken to speed up drying.

  • Use a primer that is quick-drying use: a quick-drying primer if you are in a hurry. Because it combines primer and paint, self-priming paint is the best choice. If a separate primer is required, a latex primer will be the fastest drying.
  • Low humidity: You can either wait until it is less humid or use a humidifier to lower the humidity level in your house.
  • Air circulation should be increased: the best way to promote drying is to open doors and windows when it is not too cold or humid.
  • Use a light layer: Thicker coats dry quicker than thin ones. To speed up drying between applications, apply thin coats.
  • Use a hairdryer: To gently blow the air onto the surface that you are priming, use a hairdryer. Do not use excessive heat and keep your hair dryer at a minimum of one foot from the surface.

How long should primer dry before spray painting?

Spraying primer with a paint canner will result in a thinner primer layer than if it were applied by brushing or rolling.

The drying time for primer before you apply paint will vary depending on whether it is oil-based or latex-based. Look for a brand that has less oil and more color if you use oil. This will decrease your waiting time.

Before applying paint, we recommend checking the tackiness of your newly primed surface. 

What time does primer take to dry?

Because the paint is thicker after it has been applied, you need to wait 12-24 hours before brushing or rolling the primer.

You can do a few coats of primer. The dry time between coats will be the same as above.

Always make sure to test your area for tackiness before applying a second coat.

What is the Dry Time for Latex Primer?

Water-based latex primers can be used. Water-based primers dry quickly. Latex primers dry in approximately 1 to 2 hours.

Latex primers are preferred because they dry quicker and don’t emit as many VOCs as oil-based.

They are made to perform almost as well as oil-based primers. 

Oil-based products are better at resisting humidity (and other elements) than those that are oil-based and can withstand heavy traffic.

How long should primer dry before sanding?

The time it takes for the primer to dry before sanding will vary depending on how thick the primer was applied, whether there is high humidity or what type of primer you used, and if your area is adequately ventilated. 

You must allow the primer to dry completely before you sand. Otherwise, your paint job will be damaged. 

You should wait at least 24 hours before you sand anything you have primed. Always test the area first in a small area.

What is the drying time of primer on wood?

The prime drying time for wood before painting is the same as for drywall, metal, or any other wall in your home. Oil-based paints will dry in 1-2 hours, while water-based paints can take 12-24 hours. 

Low temperatures and high humidity will increase this time so always check by pressing on a not-so-obvious area before applying another coat.

How many coats of primer should you apply?

When priming darkly painted surfaces, such as metal, wood, or new drywall, we recommend at least two coats. 

This will seal the surface and prevent any bleed-through of wood tannins, mold, mildew, or tannins.

How thick should the first coat of paint be?

Always aim for thin primer coats. A number of thin coats will produce better results than one or two thick coats. 

Thin coats reduce the chance of shedding and can be easier to dry.

How can Primer dry faster?

We have a few hints to get your projects done quicker by helping your primer dry faster. In the area you are painting, run a large dehumidifier. Paint will cure quicker when there is less humidity. Ventilate the area by opening windows and/or running fans. Instead of applying one thick coat of paint, apply thin coats. This is one advantage of using a paint sprayer on your projects.

How long can primer sit before painting?

If you get busy and can’t complete your work at the moment, how long can you leave the primer unpainted?

Most manufacturers recommend that if your primer has remained unpainted for 30 days or more, you should reprime your surface. Otherwise, you may need to sand and repaint!


Primer usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour to dry. However, it is important to wait until the primer is completely dry before proceeding with painting. This will ensure that your paint job looks its best and lasts for a long time.

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