June 5, 2021

How Long Does Primer Take to Dry? | What You Should Know

How long does it take for primer to dry

In this post, we will answer the question: How long does primer take to dry? When you buy paint, there are often different types of primer available. Primer is used to help the paint adhere better. It does not do anything on its own, but it does help the painter do his job better. There are many different types of primers, and most are white. I have used a plastic primer in the past and found it quite thick and difficult to work with. Let us look at the drying time and how we can speed up this process.

What Is a Paint Primer?

Universal White Paint & Primer All in One Quart

Paint primer is a product applied under the first coat of paint to prepare the wall for paint. Primers vary according to the quality and contents used. High-quality primer paint gives a smooth appearance to the wall. The primer paint has to glide on the surface with ease. 

It lasts long and gives protection to the wall. Do I need a paint primer? It appears like a waste of money, but it is worth it in your situation. 

Clean walls in good shape do not need primer paint. Refreshing colors on your wall do not need a primer. Some paints have self-priming abilities. However, bad walls need primers. Primer makes surfaces even. The surface walls are porous, and you need a primer to cover the pores. Painting walls without primer paint takes more time as you cover the pores. 

There is high usage of paint, and that costs more. A primer allows you to change dark color to light color with ease. If the wall comes with a glossy base, the chances are high that the paint will not stick to it. 

Oil Based Primers

Oil-based primers are slow in drying since they seal porous surfaces of wood. They work with oil-based and latex paints on various wall surfaces and materials. They kill and block stains on your wall. They block releases from coming out from the wood. It takes time before paint peels, cracks, and develops blisters. They produce volatile organic compounds that are harmful to people. Know your accomplishments before choosing the oil-based primer paint. 

Satin Sealer/Finish 350VOC Original Solvent Based Quart

Bonding Primers

Bonding primers are a coating that promotes adhesion to the surface you want to apply. Bonding primers block odor and stains. It is for difficult surfaces that have more pores. It is ideal for plaster, ceiling, and cement blocks. Bonding primers evens the topcoat finish. 

Dry Wall Primers

They have polyvinyl acetate, seal pores on paper surfaces, and dried joint compounds. They prepare the way to paint. Drywall primer has a wide range of grades. High-quality drywall primer fills in the pores and cracks. It works better than paint. The Drywall primer gives your wall a smooth appearance. It is reliable and economical. 

How long does it take Primer to Dry?

Water-based primers are dry in up to three hours. Oil-based primers take up to 24 hours. Environmental conditions contribute to the time taken for the primer paint to dry. That is, temperature and humidity. 

The standard temperature is 70 degrees and 50% humidity.  These conditions can still change the duration if they go high or low. The paint to be applied on top also determines the time taken. The primer paint dries quicker on a cold day than on a hot day. The condition of the surface does not affect timing. 

Whether a first-timer or a professional painter, you should know the duration taken for the primer paint to dry. The process is not as easy as it looks. You have to be knowledgeable. There are steps to be followed when applying primer paint on the surface before you start painting. 

The dry time is affected by the environment, the type of primer paint, and the amount of primer paint. The formulation of the primer paint determines the time taken before it dries. There are water-based and oil-based primers. 

How Long to Wait Between Primer and Paint

For a long-lasting finish, the primer paint has to dry before the paint. There is no standard time between primer paint and paint. The level of humidity determines the waiting time between primer paint and paint. That is why you need air conditioning if the humidity is high. Some instructions come with the primer paint, and sometimes they have the time. 

Some primers dry after 1/2 hours, and others as long as 24 hours. Latex primers take less than an hour, but you should wait four hours before painting. Oil-based primer paint takes a long to dry. It takes 24 hours. Give your primer paint a minimum of 12 hours to cure. 

How to Make Primer Dry Faster

Use a hairdryer for the primer to dry faster. If the humidity is high, use air conditioning. Focus on the area that needs to dry to speed up the process. The hairdryer has to be 2inches above the working area. If you draw it closer, the paint blisters. 

Slowly move the dryer from the dry to the wet area. Look for someone to dry the painted parts while painting other portions. That saves time. Keep your working area ventilated for a quick process. Open windows and keep your fan at the front of the wall. 

How to know when the primer paint is dry

After applying your primer paint, wait and check if it is dry to the touch. When you touch the primer paint, it should not feel tacky when dry. It does not have to come off your finger. However, if you do not want your finger to be messy, give the primer paint another 30 minutes on top of the first 30 minutes. 

Type/Brand Used

That is quality. Quality primer works with quality paint. Primers affect velocity and accuracy. The type of primer paint determines the time to wait for drying. However, that does not mean affordable primers are of poor quality. You can have a high-end primer that is more affordable.


Temperature does not have to be low or high. That comes with either negative or positive results. Your temperature speeds up the process or slows it down. As much as you need enough temperature, keep the space ventilated. More temperature creates bubbles on the walls. It peels off the paint. Have control over your primer. 70 degrees is the standard temperature, although you can flex. 

Outdoor or Indoor Project

Primers are versatile. They are for both indoor and outdoor projects. For indoors, it seals and increases adhesion. The surfaces become uniform. Outdoor primers protect surfaces from cracking. 

The steps taken on the first project is the one you repeat for the next project. Primer suits multiple weather conditions. The water-based sealer and stain blocker work for both projects. They are prone to moisture that you are likely to experience outdoors. See our post on how to dry pressure treated wood.

David D. Hughes

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