How Long Does Sherwin Williams Paint Take to Dry?

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Whether painting the interior or exterior of a home, the paint requires a proper amount of time to dry. Sherwin Williams recommends waiting for at least one to four hours for interior paint to dry properly and eight hours to 24 hours for exterior paint to dry.

Other variables affect the amount of drying time needed for the paint to properly dry, including air and surface temperature, humidity, and the type of surface being painted.

However, on average, the drying times for Sherwin Williams paint will depend on the type used for the project.

Differences between interior and exterior paint


Sherwin Williams offers interior paint, which is a water-based product. Paint is typically made of three components: the thinner, the binder, and the pigment. In latex paint, the thinner is water, the binder is latex, and the pigment is acrylic. 

This type of paint generally takes less time to dry before putting on another coat or allowing contact with the surface without damaging the paint. It takes about an hour for an interior, water-based paint to dry to the touch.

Water-based paint requires about four hours to dry before another coat can be applied to the surface.

Sherwin Williams also offers exterior paint, which is known as oil-based paint. This more durable paint uses a strong resin as the binder. This makes it very resistant to damage.

The resin binder also makes this paint resistant to moisture, which is why it is the best option for exterior surfaces subject to the elements. This paint also performs well in high traffic areas inside a home, such as a hallway, and in areas more exposed to moisture, such as a bathroom.

An oil-based paint generally takes more time to dry because of the chemicals used in it. This type of paint requires at least eight hours before it is dry to the touch and takes 24 hours to dry before applying another coat.

Other factors affecting paint drying times

The amount of time required to dry also depends on air temperature and humidity. Cooler temperatures and higher humidity require more time to dry, while warmer temperatures and lower humidity require less time.

Because air temperature can be controlled more easily inside, varying temperatures impact painting the interior of a home less than the exterior. For exterior painting, the air temperature should remain above 50 degrees Fahrenheit for the drying period.

A specialty Sherwin Williams paint, such as Duration, Resilience, SuperPaint, and A-100 Exterior, allows drying temperatures above 35 degrees.

Extreme high temperatures can also pose problems with the proper curing of the paint. When temperatures approach 100 degrees, the paint may not adhere properly to the surface.

This can lead to peeling paint from the surface after it is applied. Sherwin Williams recommends avoiding painting in the more extreme winter and summer months to allow the paint to cure properly. 

Another recommendation is to complete the paint job with three to four hours of drying time before dark. This will allow the paint to dry enough before any moisture that might affect the film can adhere to the coat.

Using water-based paint

Water-based paint is the most popular type of paint because it is easier to use and dries more quickly. Water cleans spills and splatters of water-based paint.

This type of paint works best in low-traffic areas of a home’s interior, including walls and ceilings. The water-based paint dries to the touch in about an hour but typically requires additional coats.

The paint must be completely dry to add another coat to ensure the surface remains smooth and uniform. After four hours, under most conditions, you can apply another coat of water-based paint.

Using oil-based paint

Oil-based paint is recommended for outdoor surfaces and in areas exposed to more traffic and moisture. Paint thinner cleans spills and splatters of oil-based paint.

This type of paint works best on a home’s exterior, front doors, floors, and trim, which take much more wear and tear. Oil-based paints also cover water-based paints without requiring primer. 

The paint must be completely dry to add another coat to ensure a smooth and uniform surface. While oil-based paint feels dry to the touch after about eight hours, an additional coat requires a full 24 hours of drying time.

Danger of not allowing proper drying time

Applying paint too soon to a surface without allowing proper drying time creates blemishes, patches, streaks, and uneven application. In some cases, the first coat of paint sticks to the brush or roller with the new paint and peels away from the surface.

In some cases, peeling occurs after all coats are applied because the first coat did not properly adhere to the surface. It is important to read all manufacturer recommendations on the paint can before deciding when to apply additional coats.

Waiting the proper amount of time for the paint to dry also makes applying additional coats easier.

Additional coats of paint

After the initial coat of paint dries, additional coats do not require as much paint because less coverage is needed. The second coat of paint serves as a thin layer that helps smooth over brush strokes that dry on the surface of the initial coat.

While the initial coat serves as the main coverage of the surface, the second coat, when applied after the first dries, serves as a touchup to ensure full coverage.

As the water-based or oil-based paints dry, make sure to properly clean any brushes or rollers before using them for additional coats. Water cleans the brushes and rollers used to apply water-based paints, and paint thinner cleans brushes and rollers used to apply oil-based paints.

Failure to clean the brushes and rollers properly leads to paint drying on them, which makes it difficult to use them to apply additional coats. Dried paint on brushes and rollers leads to uneven coverage of additional coats and adds brush strokes and patches to the painted surface. 

Sherwin Williams selection of paints rarely requires more than two coats unless enough time is not allowed for the paint to dry after the coat.

Common mistakes to reduce paint drying time

Painters often make mistakes when trying to reduce the amount of time needed for paint to dry before adding additional coats. One common mistake is pressing too hard on a roller, trying to use as much paint from the roller as possible before adding more.

The idea is that using less paint will help reduce the drying time.

But it is a mistake to think that more paint means more drying time. Sherwin Williams recommends frequent coating of brushes and rollers with paint to ensure an even application on a surface.

Even applications of paint help keep the surface uniform, ensure proper distribution of the paint and require the same amount of drying time. 

Another common mistake is the failure to properly prepare a surface before applying paint. A primer can help cover darker paint if a lighter shade covers the surface.

A primer will help ensure an even application of the paint and help the new paint adhere properly to the surface.

Skipping the primer will not save drying time for the paint applied and will save you from applying more coats of paint needed to cover the surface. 

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