Painting your house adds life to your walls and brings light to your loved ones. However, to get the job well done, you need to apply a primer coating before the actual painting to avoid sticky problems. Knowing how long the primer takes to dry is a question that many people ask before painting.

The primer should take between 1-24 hours to dry completely, in ideal conditions of standard temperature and humidity, and also depending on other factors such as the type of primer. The ideal temperature is about 77°F (25°C), and relative humidity that enhances drying of primer is 50 percent.

Allowing the primer to dry is essential because, first preserves the paint’s integrity, keeping your walls bright and shiny for a long time. This article will help you uncover why primer takes too long to dry, how many coats you need to apply to avoid costly problems, and how to make primer dry faster to save time in your painting projects.

How Many Primer Coats Should You Apply?

In most cases, 1-2 layers of primer should provide sufficient cover for the paint. The number of coats is also determined by the wall’s primary component material (wood, metal, and dry concrete wall portray different absorption capabilities), the primer manufacturer, and the color.

In certain situations, more coats may be required, for instance:

  • switching from lighter colors to darker ones may require more than one primer coat
  • hiding stains or darker spots (more on the best primers to cover dark paint)
  • uneven or poorly furnished walls

Primer is not designed to be used as the original paint. Its primary purpose is to provide a neutral ground for better adhesion of paint to the walls. They also increase the durability of the paint and serve as additional protection for the painted materials. Applying too much may cause problems like peeling off or cracking sooner than expected.

The excess primer will also reduce the quality of the paint job and delay the deadline for your projects. It will take too long to dry, and you’ll not be able to proceed with your project as planned.

Typically, paint should stick to the walls without a primer. Most high-quality paints have a self-priming ability that works best on well-finished surfaces. However, if you don’t have a good finishing, painting without a primer will not bring the best results.

The paint may start peeling off, leaving ugly cracks on your walls. That’s why experts begin with a primer coating, then proceed to the actual paint. It improves the ability of paint to stick to all kinds of walls thanks to its chemical composition. Primer has the right amount of filling and binding properties that limit the paints that can be absorbed by the surfaces.

You need to apply one coat when using a water-based or oil primer and two layers when using a tinted primer. Remember, the primer is mainly designed to even the surface for a smooth, professional transition between the colors.

How to Make Primer Dry Faster

The process of making primer dry faster is similar to that of paint. Both substances have similar properties. For instance, humidity and temperature are critical factors that determine the time primers take to dry.

The number of coats and the type of primer also affect the drying time. If you’re applying a bonding primer, it may take 1 to 24 hours to dry. Some drywall primers take about 30 minutes to 24 hours.

Making the primer dry faster could help you meet your project deadlines. Here are the steps to aid in drying more quickly:

Lower the Humidity

According to experts, several factors affect the quality of painting, including temperature and humidity. You should avoid painting in high humidity. The same goes for priming. At low humidity, primer tends to dry faster, especially if it’s water-based.

If you have a dehumidifier, you can use it. Lowering humidity allows water and other liquids in the primer to evaporate and dry faster.

Apply Thin Coats of Primer

Logically, a thin primer coat will dry much faster than a thick one. Most primers require a maximum of two layers, but some people may feel that’s not enough. Applying more coats will only make things worse. It may cause other costly defects.

Remember, the primer should only be used to help paint stick better. Do not apply too much because it will take too long to dry.

Improve Air Circulation

Many people overlook this step, but it could help dry the primer faster. Besides reducing humidity, improving air circulation will minimize moisture and encourage faster evaporation of the primer’s liquid components.

Open the doors and windows to let in the air. You can also use fans to blow directly towards the wall or activate your ventilation system to help with the circulation.

Heat the Room

Higher temperature tends to dry the primer much faster than lower temperatures. If you’re willing to go that extra mile to get the job done in a few hours, using a heater would provide a quicker solution.

However, be prepared to pay a higher electricity bill because bringing the heat consumes a lot of power. Place your heater directly in front of the wall or activate your home’s heating system for some time and turn off. You could also try using a blow dryer to blow hot air across the primer.


Determining the best time to wait for primers to dry has been controversial among experts for a long time. If you’re looking for an actual figure, there isn’t any since experts share different opinions.

However, primers are affected by the same conditions, such as temperature and humidity, which can be altered to reduce the drying time. When they’re combined, these factors may significantly impact the quality of painting in all your projects.

All primers must be given ample time to dry before the real painting. If you want to achieve a glossy finish and a touch of quality, priming should be your first step.

Fortunately, primers cost about half the price of paint, and buying a few cans will do the trick. Do it right, and your work will live long.

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