How Long Should You Wait Between Coats with Acrylic Enamel?

When painting with acrylic enamel, the drying time between coats is crucial for achieving a smooth, durable finish. This guide will help you understand the factors affecting drying times and provide recommendations for optimal results.

Factors Affecting Drying Time

Several factors influence the drying time of acrylic enamel, including:

  • Temperature: Warmer temperatures accelerate drying, while cooler temperatures slow it down. Aim for a temperature between 70°F (21°C) and 90°F (32°C) for optimal drying.
  • Humidity: High humidity can extend drying times. Aim for a relative humidity below 60% for best results.
  • Airflow: Good ventilation helps evaporate solvents and speeds up drying. Ensure adequate airflow in your workspace.
  • Paint thickness: Thicker coats take longer to dry than thinner coats. Apply thin, even coats for faster drying.
  • Paint type and brand: Different brands and types of acrylic enamel may have varying drying times. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for specific recommendations.

Recommended Drying Times

As a general guideline, allow the following drying times between coats of acrylic enamel:

  • Touch dry: 20 minutes to 1 hour
  • Handle dry: 1-2 hours
  • Fully dry: 24 hours
  • Recoat time: Within 1 hour or after 48 hours

Note: These are approximate times and may vary depending on the factors mentioned above. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific drying times.

Tips for Optimal Drying

  • Use a heat lamp or fan to increase airflow and accelerate drying.
  • Apply thin, even coats to minimize drying time.
  • Avoid painting in direct sunlight or high humidity.
  • Allow the paint to fully dry before sanding or polishing.
  • Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for specific drying times and recommendations.


By understanding the factors affecting drying times and following the recommended guidelines, you can achieve optimal results when painting with acrylic enamel. Remember to always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific drying times and recommendations.

Recoat Time for Water-Based Latex Paint

For water-based latex paint, a recoat typically takes four hours. In roughly an hour, water-based paint ought to be touch-dry.

Paint binders hold the color pigments together. Flat paints have fewer binders than glossy paints. Binders in these formulations also translate into longer drying times.

The flatter the paint sheen, the faster it will dry. Glossy paints take the longest amount of time to dry. Because they fall in the middle of the paint sheen spectrum, eggshell and semi-gloss paints indicate typical paint drying times.

Paint Types Drying Time Recoat Time
Flat or matte paint 30 minutes to 1 hour 1 to 2 hours
Eggshell paint 1 hour 2 hours
Semi-gloss paint 1 hour 2 hours
Glossy paint 1 to 1-1/2 hours 2 to 2-1/2 hours
Primer 30 minutes 1 hour

Factors That Affect Drying Times

Even when painting indoors, drying and recoat times are influenced by the room’s temperature and the surface you’re painting. Paint should always be applied within the temperature range recommended by the paint manufacturer.

Car Painting Basics: How Long Do I Wait Between Coats?


How long between coats of acrylic enamel?

DRY & RECOAT TIMES Apply a second coat or clear coat within 1 hour or after 48 hours. Apply the clear coat in 2-3 light coats a few minutes apart. NOTE: On plastic, maximum paint adhesion and durability is achieved in 5-7 days.

Does enamel paint need two coats?

Our primer also has the added benefit of tannin and stain blocking properties. We recommend 2 coats of Stain Eliminating Primer and a minimum of 2 coats of One Hour Enamel paint. If there is a current paint or finish that is chipping or peeling, you will need to remove that first before beginning.

Do you need to clear coat acrylic enamel?

If you weather with enamels,then you would need an acrylic clear,if your weathering is acrylic,then go with enamel clear. If no weathering is being done,then either would be okay.

How do you paint with acrylic enamel?

Lightly dab brush into liquid paint and apply sparingly on the properly prepared surface. Clean brush with paint thinner after use. SPRAY On rare occasions when a larger surface area needs to be repaired, spray directly from aerosol can, holding the can 8 to 12 inches away from the surface to be painted.

How long between coats of acrylic paint?

Knowing how long between coats of acrylic paint is not straight forward as it depends on the type of acrylic paint you are using. It can be anywhere from 5 min for high flow acrylics to days for thick impastos of heavy body acrylic paint.

How long does acrylic paint take to dry?

Most acrylic enamel instructions say to spray 2-3 coats with a dry time in between of 20-30 minutes. This is where almost EVERYONE screws up their paint. Too much paint (too many coats or coats that are too thick) can’t dry properly. It’s the same with re-coating before the last coat is dry to the touch.

How long should you wait between spray paint coats?

For spray paint, it’s best to wait about 30 minutes to an hour between coats. This allows time for the paint to dry enough to accept another coat. But always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, as spray paint formulations can differ. How long should I wait between painting wall coats?

How long does a second coat of paint take to dry?

It is typically safe to apply a second coat after four hours for latex paint and 24 hours for oil-based paint. Latex paint is dry to the touch in about one hour, while oil-based paint is dry to the touch in about six to eight hours. One of the surest ways to ruin paint is to apply subsequent coats before paint recoat times have elapsed.

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