How Long Should Primer Dry Before Painting? [Explained]

This page contains affiliate links and we earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of the links, at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

This is the most complete guide where we have explained and answered your query on how long should primer dry before painting.

We all know that priming is one of the major steps that you need to follow before starting your painting project. You cannot apply direct paint on the wall without priming it.

It will allow your paint to seal properly to reflect that glow. If you skip the priming process, you will have to recoat your paint several times to get the desired result.

Priming is essential for preserving and preparing the surface and getting the best-looking and longest-lasting results because it hides seams and joints and prevents bleeding through the natural wood. Check out some of the top-rated wood finish that you may find helpful in your next project.

Just make sure that your primer has dried before you begin painting your walls. In addition to primer kind, temperature and humidity in the room and thickness of the coating, ventilation, and surface you’re priming all have an effect on drying time.


This guide is here to help you with the query on how long should primer dry before painting. There are a lot of factors like the kind of primer you have used, the surface on which the primer has been applied, and the tricky process you have followed to prime the walls. Without further ado, let’s begin!

Keep Reading: Reviews On Supreme Kitchen Cabinets Primers

How To Apply Primer On The Walls?

Before you explore the drying process, it is very essential to understand how you should apply the primer. Remember that these steps, too, play a crucial role in enhancing the drying process.

What Equipment Do You Need for Priming?

You will need some of the simple equipment to prime your walls. These things are readily available in the market, and all of those are easy to handle too.

Remember to read the instructions for the primer you’ve chosen as well as that of your preferred painting product before beginning the process.

Proper priming and painting techniques are ultimately what defines the quality of your final coating.

The Steps You Need to Follow


Before the application process starts, you have to keep your protective eyewear, outerwear, gloves handy. If you do not prepare yourself before, it can be an unpleasant experience.

The first step is to decide whether you are painting outside or inside of your home. If inside, try placing your tarp along the walls. This will protect the floor from the drops of the primer.

Try covering all the areas like power outlets, wall hangings, etc., with masking tape that you don’t want to be painted.


Bring the primer container and stir it well before using. A vigorous shake and stirring are absolutely necessary. Once your primer is at the right consistency, you can start priming.

While applying it, be on the lookout for any drips or parts that were missed. Your initial layer of paint will only stick to the surface if you have a firm primer coat in place.


Checking is the next important and must step after the application is complete. The drying process can take 3 hours or even 3 days, depending upon the type of primer you have used.

Go for proper checking and be very sure that it has dried completely. If you see that the primer needs another coat to get the desired result, apply another coat and repeat the checking process.

Sanding (If Needed)

If you think your primer calls for sanding, you must go for it. Sanding and putting a second coat of priming on porous or difficult-to-paint surfaces will help assure that your paint will cling.

Go ahead and sand over your first coat and apply a second coat if you’d rather. However, if you think that your primer does not need sanding and you can directly go for paint, that too will work.

How Long Should Primer Dry Before Painting? [Key Factors That You Must Keep In Mind]

For first-time painters, primer can be a little intimidating. “How long should primer dry before painting?” is a frequently asked question! Before you can paint, the primer must dry thoroughly. Most primers take 24 hours to dry before painting properly.

It may appear simple to apply a coat of paint on drywall, but there are a few procedures you must take to make sure your painting project goes smoothly from the initial coat to the final hue.

A primer must first be applied to the surface before beginning the painting process. The amount of time it takes to complete dry varies depending on a variety of factors, including the environment, the type of primer you use, and more.

When you know every in detail, you can fix your painting routine and manage other works seamlessly. This guide will help you to explore everything about priming and the drying process.

The Type of Primer You Have Used

The formulation of the primer is extremely important when it comes to the drying factor. The primer comes in mainly two different forms- Water-based and Oil-based.

Both work fine on walls, but the drying process is different. When you use a water-based formula for priming, it takes a maximum of 3 hours to dry completely.

After that, you can apply the paint directly. This is easier to use and also takes a lot less time. However, for oil-based primers, the whole work can be challenging and time-consuming too.

When you use this formulation to complete the priming process, you have to let it dry for 24-36 hours. Do not try to apply paint if you feel that the primer is partially dried.

The whole painting process will be ruined if you do so. Keep in mind that when you use an oil-based primer, try using latex-based paint to maintain the simplicity of the look.

Keep Reading: Most Comprehensive Guide On Drying Spray Paint

The Environmental Conditions

The humidity and the temperature conditions of the day are some of the contributing factors in the delay of the drying process.

If you are planning to apply primer on your walls, it is better to choose a sunny day. A cloudy day is not a good option to apply priming on the walls.

On the other hand, avoid days that have higher humidity. High humidity can lengthen the drying process, and it may not give a good result as well.

It’s important to remember that temperature isn’t as important as the humidity it causes. On a cool, dry day, the priming coat will dry more quickly than it would on a hot, muggy day. For your paint color, the same might be applied.


If you think that the surface you have applied your primer on is one of the main factors in the drying process, you are absolutely wrong.

It is a myth that some surfaces can quickly dry up the priming. Some of the expert painters say that concrete and wood possess characteristics of thermal activities. You might also love to read reviews on concrete paints that our experts have recently tested.

However, that does not impact the drying process at all. It has been found and analyzed with real practices that priming takes the same amount of time to dry on any surface it is applied to.


Ventilation is essential to speed up the drying time of the primer. Leaving your windows and doors open will aid in this process.

Shellac and oil-based primers, in particular, necessitate this step. The drying time will be reduced if adequate ventilation is provided.

How To Ensure Your Primer Dries Well?

You may not be aware of the fact that there are some key ways that you can implement to make your priming dry faster.

If you do not have a lot of time to invest in priming and painting, you can always go for these ways and make sure that you do not have to wait for an eternity to get it dried.

Using A Dehumidifier

If you live in an area where the temperature remains humid for a prolonged period, you can always use a dehumidifier to solve the issue. While using it, you can experience a reduced humidity level, and your primer will dry quickly.

Try Avoiding Thick Coats

When you apply thick coats on primer, it takes a longer time to dry. If you have less time to end the priming and painting process, try applying thinner coats. However, too many coats will take a lot of time to dry. Try going for light coats, and it will dry within just 3 hours.

Choose A Fast-Drying Primer

You can choose the type of primer that takes only 3-4 hours to dry completely. You can go for your own research to find out the primers that offer a quick-drying feature. A water-based or latex-based paint could be a good choice in this case.

Let Fresh Air Come In

Do not forget to keep your windows and doors open if you want your primer to dry quickly. When you increase the amount of air circulation inside your home, it will help your primer to get stiff in a jiffy.

Try Using A Hair Dryer

You may also use a hairdryer to speed up the drying time of the primer. As soon as you’ve primed the surface, gently blow some air over it. The hairdryer should be set to cold air if you’re using it and not heat. Keep the gadget at least a foot away from the surface where you are working.

How Many Coats Do You Need to Use?

It is dependent on the project. The surface determines the number of applications of primer you’ll require you’re painting, as well as the priming and paint you choose.

Two or three light coats of spray paint may still provide the most outstanding coverage. For some primers and tasks of other sorts, one application may be sufficient.

Some of the painting projects will need more layers of coating. If the wall is rusted, uneven, or has stains, a lot more coats will require.

If you’re going from dark to light paint colors, you may also need to apply more primer. Over-priming the surface can lead to issues such as chipping or cracking. Apply two coats of primer if you’re unsure.

How To Tell If Your Primer Has Dried Completely

The best method to know if your primer has completely dried is to keep returning to check on it. It’s easy to tell if it’s dry to the touch by doing so.

In order to test whether the primer is dry, simply lightly touch it with your finger to see if any sticky or tacky residue comes off.

If so, it is ready to be painted onto the surface. Please leave it for a further 30 minutes even if you believe it’s dry before proceeding.

Other Resources You May Like:

What Happens If You Apply Paint Over An Undried Primer?

You can ruin the entire DIY painting project if you apply paint on a wet primer. The paint application on an undried surface will make it messy and even flaky.

The primer may peel off when the paint is applied. Moreover, the surface can become lumpy and uneven, making it an unpleasant sight.

The paint will not adhere properly if applied before the primer has had time to dry, and the primer will mix with the paint. Apply the paint only after the primer has dried completely.

Waiting longer than the suggested drying time is the best option. It’s always good to wait a little longer if a brand recommends waiting 60 minutes.

You should wait a few hours before performing a test at a less-than-noticeable location. Wait roughly 60 minutes after touching the primer to see if it is dry to the touch.

Once you’ve waited, test a small patch of paint for peeling, flaking, changing color, rolling up, or blending with the primer.

Applying Paint Over A Tacky Primer

The result of paint application on a tacky primer is always bad. You must know that tacky or old priming will never give you the desired result. Before painting, fix the tacky primer.

Drying can be accelerated by increasing the temperature and introducing moving air to the surface. It’s possible to dry out a tacky primer by simply dusting it with talcum powder.

To make sure it’s operating properly, test it on a tiny area first.

Final Verdict

We hope this guide on “how long should primer dry before painting” was helpful. Your painted items will look wonderful because you know how long priming can rest before painting.

When you know how your primer changes according to the type and method of application, you will make fewer mistakes.

For optimal results, avoid painting over priming that is more than 30 days old. The drying time might be affected by a variety of conditions, so keep this in mind.

Keep the room at a comfortable temperature and do not prime on humid days at all. Apply only a thin coat and make sure the area is well ventilated.

Try making a wholesome plan and implement it easily. It will take some time, and you may have to wait for the perfect conditions to come together. Go for this DIY project and share your thoughts with us!

Leave a Comment

Explore Us

Follow Us On:

About Us

House Whirl Logo White has a team of professional industry experts to help you find guides on painting, finishing, flooring, bathroom & kitchen to make your home look stunning. We have tested, researched & written hundreds of buying guides to help you select the top-notch & affordable products out there!

Disclosure is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to