Whether you are a DIY newbie or a self-proclaimed painting professional, getting to grips with primer is important in order to have a great looking painting result.
The reason for this is not because it is particularly difficult to apply or understand, but because of the wealth of variety you have when choosing a primer.
Each primer comes with its own set of instructions on how long it takes to dry, and how long you must wait before painting.
It tends to depend on what base the primer is – oil or water…. And to make things even more confusing, some primers come with instructions that say they take one hour to dry, but you must wait an additional three hours before painting. Truly, the mind boggles.
However, you are not destined to be confused by primer for the rest of your DIY days. We are here to help.
This article will tell you how long primer takes to dry, detailing the different times for each of the bases, and exploring the instructions they tend to come with a little further.
If this sounds like something you need, look no further. Take a much-needed and well-deserved break from your DIY escapades, grab a coffee, and read on…
Table of Contents
What exactly is primer?
Before we go any further, we just wanted to give you all a quick recap on what primer actually is, and the reason we need to use it.
Simply put, primer primes and readies your walls or wood for painting. It provides the perfect base for your paint to stick too.
It is not to be confused with a paint base coat, though. A paint base coat is simply the first light coat of your chosen paint color. Primer is a mixture of paint and glue that is used to help your paint adhere to the wall far easier.
By using a primer, you can ensure you get a far smoother and more even application of your chosen color of the paint.
Primer can help to hide any natural flaws in your wall or wooden surface, as well as ensuring the area underneath doesn’t just soak up all your paint when you apply it.
If it did soak up your paint after each application, you would need to apply far more layers of it.
A primed wall can last up to one month without paint on top of it, which means it is perfect for those of us who only get time to DIY at the weekend.
Please remember though, that if you haven’t painted over the primer after thirty days have passed, you may need to reprime the wall and sand again if needed.
How long does it take each primer to dry?
To answer this question adequately, we must first acknowledge that there are various types of paint primers, and each must be assessed individually.
Dry Time for Water-based primers
First, we should look at one of the most common primers. Latex primer is a water-based primer that is commonly used.
Typically, latex primer takes just thirty minutes to dry. However, it is recommended that you wait at the very least three hours to ensure it is completely dry before applying your paint over the top.
Although, many professionals recommend that you could wait upwards of twelve to twenty-four hours to ensure it is completely dry and ready.
You should apply each coat thinly to ensure it can dry adequately, and wait the appropriate amount of time between each coat, or else you risk it being thick and possibly lumpy.
To ensure the ideal amount of primer is applied, you could use a spray-painter to apply it. A spray painter atomizes the primer, ensuring only a small amount is applied.
Dry Time for Oil-based primers
Oil-based primers, whilst being a very popular primer choice, take much longer to dry than their water-based counterparts. In fact, the recommended drying time for it to be completely dried is around twenty-four hours.
Whilst they may be dry to touch before this, like the water-based primers, they should still be given the maximum amount of time to ensure that it dries thoroughly all the way through.
Not waiting for the full recommended time could mean that your paint job will be ruined… imagine all that time and paint wasted on a matter of impatience!
As with the water-based primer, you should wait the appropriate amount of time before applying a second coat of primer.
What factors can affect the drying time?
There are a number of factors that could interfere with their drying time. For example, if the room you are painting in is particularly humid, the primer will take longer to dry. Likewise, if the room is too cool, the drying time will be lengthier.
That being said, latex primers, like water-based primers in general, are far quicker at drying than other primers types, particularly oil-based primers.
To help your primer dry faster you can place some dehumidifiers in the room you have painted. This will ensure there is less humidity in the air. You should also ensure the room is extremely well ventilated by opening windows and doors.
This will not only ensure the primer dries more quickly, but also prevents you from inhaling dangerous fumes. You can also use fans in the room to make the drying time even faster.
What if I am sanding the wall before painting?
Thus far we have explored how long we should wait before painting over the primer. However, sometimes we want to sand the surface after priming and before painting. For any sanding, the drying times that need to be waited out is slightly different.
Whether it is a water-based primer or oil-based primer, the waiting time recommended for sanding is at least twenty-four hours. If you can wait even longer than this, great but you should absolutely ensure that it is at least twenty-four hours.
Before you go ahead and sand the whole wall, even after your twenty-fours wait, you should test one small patch. To do this involves sanding one area and seeing how that looks and feels before you do the whole wall.
What if I am painting a wood surface instead of a wall?
Primers applied on a wood surface should ideally be given the same amount of drying time as they would on a typical wall. This is at least three hours, but up to twelve to twenty-four hours for water-based primers, and twenty-four hours or more for an oil-based primer.
Again, the factors that could affect drying times should also be considered, such as the humidity and temperature of the room that you have primed. Wood is particularly susceptible to being absorbent, meaning that it will soak up all your paint if you don’t apply a couple of coats of primer first.
Hopefully, you now have a far better understanding of the different drying times for paint primers. Understanding what base primer you have before you start to apply it is key, seeing as water-based primers dry far more quickly than those with an oil-base.
We are sure that you are now completely clued up on why we should use a primer, as well as knowing all the factors that can affect the drying time of your primer.
Remember that no matter the surface, the same rules should be followed, and by following these rules you will ensure that your finished paint looks smooth and streak-free!
You can help to speed up your primer drying time by ensuring the room is well-ventilated. You can do this by opening all of the windows and doors.
Don’t forget that you can also use dehumidifiers and fans to cool the room and reduce the humidity. Applying thin coats will also help to ensure drying times are kept to a minimum.
Remember, ventilation not only benefits your primer but also stops you from inhaling fumes.
Pleasant painting to you, pals!
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