There is nothing more boring than watching paint dry. Think of all the things you could do while the paint is drying, and all the progress that you could make with the renovation project if it dries faster. Fortunately, there are many ways to make it dry a little faster.

To make paint dry faster, treat it with heat producing tools, like hairdryers and infrared heaters. Other methods may include applying light coats, painting one wall at a time, and increasing the airflow in the area where the painting is done.

If you need to pick up the pace and get the paint dry in a shorter amount of time, follow the steps in this article. Applying these easy tips and tricks will help accelerate the drying process.

What Dries Paint Faster – Heat or Cold?

Paint needs four different components to align perfectly to dry up. These components are additives, binder, solvent, and filler. The effectiveness of all four depends largely on the temperature in which the paint is applied. It has been proven that the hotter the temperature is, the faster it will allow the paint to dry.

Temperatures above 50°F (10°C) are more suited for drying the paint. The hotter the temperature, the faster the paint is going to dry. This happens because the heat allows the moisture in the paint to evaporate, causing it to dry faster.

Perhaps, this is why many painting projects are undertaken during the summer months rather than winter or autumn. But keep in mind that if it is too hot, like anything above 90°F or 32.2°C, the paint will dry up so fast that it might crack in some places, making it look shabby.

Cooler temperatures do not allow the paint to dry up fast as the paint will not bond. If it cannot bond, it means that the paint will stick to the wall and peel off instead. If you do not have an option and must work in cooler conditions, look for paint that can work in lower temperatures. Note that most of these paint products will also need dry air to work.

If you want to know how long it takes primer to dry, then check out this article.

Water Based Paints Dry by Evaporation and Coalescence

To help dry paint faster, you understand how paint dries. The most commonly used water-based paints go through two distinct phases of evaporation and coalescence before they dry.

In evaporation, the volatile liquids ooze off into the air from the paint film. However, the paint is not just made of pigments and water. There are also co-solvents present in the paint, and this takes a little longer to evaporate. During coalescence, the liquid from the paint evaporates, and the polymer binders that were dispersed in the liquid paint congeal to form a coat of dry paint.

Coalescent solvents help in shaping the final look of the paint. They will act as a plasticizer during the drying process and help promote the polymer particles’ effective and seamless fusion. On warm days, or when the humidity is low, these polymer agents are the last ones to dry up leaving behind beautiful paint on the wall.

A plasticizer is added to a given material to make it more pliant and flexible. It also renders a certain quality of softness to the material and, as a result, increases the plasticity of the material. This, in turn, helps decrease the amount of friction during the handling of the material at the time of application.

However, when the humidity is high, or during the rainy seasons, the moisture in the air can considerably slow down the evaporation process. Humidity affects the rate of evaporation considerably.

Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air compared to the amount that the air can actually hold at that temperature. When the humidity is high, it slows the evaporation process. This can even be reduced to zero when the humidity levels reach 100%.

The amount of water that leaves the film of paint is injected into the paint by the atmosphere. The coalescent solvents may evaporate out of the film before the water does. This leads to the paint to look like a mess.

Use Heat to Dry Paint Faster

It has been seen that heat helps in drying paint – the hotter the temperature, the faster the paint dries. This is because the heat helps in accelerating the evaporation process that reduces the moisture inside the paint, causing it to dry faster.

There is a reason why it is preferable to paint walls during the hot and dry months of the year. It is because the hotter the temperature is, the faster the paint will dry. Using heat through various tools, from hairdryer to infrared heater, can take time for paint to dry considerably.

Using a Hair Dryer to Generate Heat

Depending on the area and the object where the paint is applied, a hair dryer may be effective in drying it quickly. Hairdryers are used to quick-dry paint on furniture as well as small sections of the walls. It simply speeds up the drying process.

To use the hairdryer effectively, keep the nozzle of the dryer around 2 to 4 inches (5.08 to 10.16 cms) away from the surface that you would like to dry and slowly move the dryer over the wet surface that needs to be dried. Remember not to keep the nozzle too close to the surface. If the heat source is too close to the surface or is too intense, it may cause the paint to blister or crack.

This technique is particularly efficient if you are applying paint to a piece of furniture. Instead of waiting for an extended amount of time for each layer of the paint to dry, you could use the hairdryer to rid the paint of its moisture and ready for the next coat.

Using a Heater to Accelerate the Oxidation Process

The temperature in the surroundings also impacts the speed at which paint can dry. It acts more like a catalyst to the oxidation process that the paint undergoes. If you use a heater, it will act like the hairdryer. But the heater will dry a larger area compared to the hairdryer. It is an industry practice to use heat guns, which look deceptively like hair dryers but are far more powerful to dry paint.

If you paint when the weather outside is cold, it will be advantageous if you warm the room before you start painting. This will help mitigate the disadvantages of working in lower temperatures and allow the paint to dry up quicker.

This video shows some of the different ways you can speed up the drying time for paint:

Painting When It Is a Warm Weather Outside

Paint hardens quickly in warmer weather. Colder temperatures and moisture in the air may cause the painted surface to be vulnerable to staining or mildew.

Wait for warm days to apply the paint, and you will have it dried out naturally in a matter of hours if the paint is done on an exterior wall. If it is done to the interior wall, give it a day to dry out completely. Remember to keep the doors and windows open so that the air can flow in and out of the room, allowing the moisture to evaporate faster.

Using Infrared Heater to Quicken the Drying Process

If you painted a thick layer and it needs to be dried up soon, use an infrared heater that can pass through the thick film of paint warming both the inner and outer layers evenly.

The Heat Storm Deluxe Mounted Space Infrared Wall Heater has a sleek, compact design with an adjustable thermostat. The display shows you the ambient temperature and helps regulate it efficiently. It can be wall-mounted. Its grills are made of material that does not burn skin.

Apply Light Coats of Paint

Resist the temptation to paint the walls in thick layers, as that will not make the job easier or faster for you. Instead, using thinner coats of paint will ensure that the proportion of the liquid to the surface area will speed up the evaporation process. The sooner the moisture gets evaporated from the paint, the quicker it will dry.

Applying multiple coats of paint will also look better than one thick layer that is blotchy in places. Another advantage of painting thin layers is that waiting is not necessary to paint the second layer.

Paint One Wall at a Time

The idea is to paint one wall and move on to the next. This will give the wall that you just finished painting more time to dry, while it also keeps you occupied with painting the other walls. If you plan to paint the ceiling as well, then you should start your painting job with the ceiling first.

Think of it like a round-robin system, where each wall gets painted in turn, but no two walls get painted at the same time. Following this method will allow the other walls the time they need to dry before they are ready for their next coat.

Ensure Constant Airflow

At the risk of stating the obvious, airflow is vital to speed up the paints’ drying process. A good air circulation will ensure the evaporation of moisture from the paint and help dry all the areas of a wall, rather than just a single portion.

Also, keeping the windows open helps any fumes emanating off the fresh paint to escape. In addition to opening windows, you can also use fans to speed up the drying process.

Use a Water-Based Paint

Certain paints contain VOC. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds and partially responsible for that new paint smell and for delaying the drying of paint on surfaces. If you use 100% water-based paint with zero VOC content, then that paint will dry faster.

Rust-Oleum 287722 Ultra Matte Interior Chalked Paint is a low VOC paint that can be used on various interior surfaces like wood, metal, ceramic, and canvas. It has a low odor and dries up in 30 minutes due to its low VOC formula.

Avoid High Humidity Levels

Higher humidity in the air will delay the paint much slower. Many reasons lead to high humidity levels. It could be due to the rains, or if the doors and windows are always closed in a house, or if the general moisture content in the house is high.

High levels of humidity reduce the polymerization process, thereby slowing the bonding of the co-solvents in the paint and increasing the amount of time it would take for the paint to dry.

To offset this, you could either choose the least humid day of the week to paint or invest in a dehumidifier and ensure constant airflow. Any objects that increase indoor humidity, such as plants or wet clothes, need to be removed to reduce the room’s humidity level. For more tips on how to reduce humidity in a house, check this article.

Warm the Surface Before Applying the Paint

To expedite the drying process, warm the surface where you are applying the paint. It doesn’t need to be extremely hot, as that would be detrimental. It should just be warm to the touch to get the drying process started. If you are painting an object like a piece of furniture, you can warm it with a dryer before painting.

Get Rid of Blocking to Achieve a Beautiful Finish

Blocking is a phenomenon that keeps paint from achieving a beautiful finish. It is seen in latex paints or when it is too hot, too cold, or when the humidity is too high. One way to prevent this from happening or minimize the damage is by sprinkling talcum powder over the surface and rubbing it with your hands until the paint looks smooth.


Hopefully, you have found these tips and tricks to be useful. Applying these principles when it comes to quick-drying your paint will come in handy irrespective of the brand. Note that even though water-based paints may look and feel dry, it will continue to remain soft and sensitive to water until the coating is fully dried up.

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