How Long Does Gloss Paint Take to Dry?

Painting projects seem pretty simple on the surface but can get out of hand quickly if you don’t stay on top of a strict schedule.

Sure, anybody can slap a bit of paint on a wall (indoors or out) and generally cover the whole surface.

But getting that clean, tight, seamless professional finish most folks are after takes a little bit more work – and a little more planning – than that.

It’s also going to take multiple coats to effectively cover the services you are looking to paint. That’s why learning how to time paint properly – especially gloss paint – is so important.

In the rest of this detailed guide we go over (almost) everything you need to know about how long gloss paint takes to dry, what impacts the drying time most, and even a couple of tips to speed things up without compromising the finished result.

How Long Does Gloss Paint Take to Dry?

Though there are a variety of factors that impact exactly how long gloss paintings to dry (factors we highlight in just a moment), as a general rule it’s going to take anywhere between 6 hours and 12 hours for gloss paint to dry completely.

Some paints (particularly high end and thick paint) will take a little bit longer than that. Sometimes this drying time stretches out to anywhere between 16 and 24 hours, even.

As a rule of thumb, though, it’s a good idea to give your previously painted walls about eight hours to “cure” before you think about painting them again.

Highlighting Factors That Impact Drying Times

Like we mentioned a second ago, a variety of different factors are going to have a huge impact on how quickly (or how slowly) your gloss paint project dries.


Humidity is one of the biggest factors in paint drying times, glossy paint or otherwise.

The more humid that a room is the slower paint is going to dry. Things get especially long and drawn out when you start to approach humidity levels that are 75% or higher, too.

In an ideal setting, you’d be painting your project in a space that was held at about 50% relative humidity – or even lower, even.

This is why sticking a dehumidifier in a space that is being painted can help push things along, sometimes speeding the drying process up by 25% or more.


Temperature also has a pretty big impact on the drying times that you can expect.

Latex paints, for example, really like to be applied when the temperatures are between 50°F and 85°F. Any hotter or colder than that and you are going to slow down your drying times significantly. The paint just isn’t going to want to behave.

Oil based paints, though, are a little more forgiving.

You can put oil based paints on the wall with temperature ranges between 40°F and 90°F without any ill effects. That gives you a little bit more of a buffer zone, though again you’ll want to try and hit the sweet spot – anywhere between 65°F and 75°F with both kinds of paint to move things along.

Poor Ventilation

Poor ventilation will slow drying times on gloss paint to a crawl.

You’re not always going to be able to paint with every window wide open, fans rocking and rolling, and plenty of air being exchanged in and outside of the space you are painting.

That’s just not always in the cards. But more ventilation is always better than less.

Do whatever you can to crack a window, get air flowing and moving, and improve the overall ventilation inside of a space and dry times will speed up for sure.

Thickness of Each Coat

Finally, the thickness of each coat of paint is a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to drying times.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that multiple thin coats of paint are not only going to cover better than thick, heavy coats – but those thinner codes are also going to dry much quicker, too.

Let’s paint on the wall means less time to dry, helping you get your project done faster even if you have to go back over spots you’ve already painted a time or two.

There are other things to consider as well (the tools you used to apply the paint to the wall, the type of surface that you are applying gloss paint two, etc.) but these are the big ones you’ll want to try and control as much as possible.

Tips for Speeding Up the Dry Times on Your Gloss Paint Project

Speeding up the drying times on your gloss paint project doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the finished result along the way.

Not with these tips and tricks, anyway.

Thin Coats Dry Faster

As highlighted a moment ago, you should try and shoot for thinner and more consistent coats of paint as opposed to big, blobby, chunky coats of paint that can take forever and a day to dry.

It sounds counterintuitive to be sure, but putting down multiple thin coats to cover a space with gloss paint can actually save you time.

There’s less downtime between coats, there’s less time spent worrying about whether or not the paint has cured enough for the second coat, and you’re generally able to move through these thin coats pretty quickly, too.

Apply a Quality Primer 

While you may not be able to control all of the services that you are going to be painting with gloss paint, you can control the quality of the primer that you use – and that’s a game changer.

Quality primers are going to prepare the surface that you are painting for the specific kind of paint you’re working with.

These kinds of primers can seal porous materials that would have soaked up the first two or three coats of your expensive gloss paint, can provide a true “blank canvas” for lighter colored paints that would have been tainted by existing colors otherwise, and generally speed things up across the board.

Use a quality primer every chance you get. You won’t regret it!

Use Fans, Dehumidifiers and a Heating Element

Finally, to really speed things up you’ll want to bring in floor fans, dehumidifiers, and a heating element that can get your space to that ideal 65°F to 75°F with very low levels of humidity and plenty of airflow.

You don’t want to crowd your space and make painting uncomfortable, but these tools speed things up dramatically.

If the space you are painting is particularly cramped it might be a good idea to only move fans, dehumidifiers, and heating elements into the space after you have finished each individual coat.

Move those things out when it’s time to paint again, rinsing and repeating the process until you’re finished.

Use these tips and tricks to speed things up and you’ll never have to worry about how long it takes gloss paint to dry anymore!

Driveway Expert