How Long Does It take Primer to Dry?

wood frames with primer

Primers that dries so fast make your paintwork easy as they save time. If you are looking to prepare the surface of your wood for priming try and settle for products that dry very fast.

So, How Long Does It take Primer to Dry?

A standard primer should between 1 hour to dry to touch. Any priming product that takes more than that time is not the best in the market. 

It would be best if you allowed this coat to dry properly before applying the topcoat so that you don’t have complications by the time you are through with your work.

Drying time for primers vary with the manufacturer; some can extend up to 24 hours to dry appropriately depending on other factors such as temperature. 

The ideal temperatures for drying a primer is around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Relative humidity of about 50 percent will enhance the drying time — primers made of latex take 30-60 minutes to dry. High levels of humidity and cold temperatures make it longer for the primer to dry.

What is a Primer

Primer is a paint without pigments; it has resins as the main components. Primer’s role is to create a bond between the substratum surface and the paint by providing a uniform surface suitable for painting.

Some of the types of primers that you will find in the market today include:

  • Oil Based Primers
  • Dry Wall Primers
  • Bonding Primers

Oil Based Primers

Also known as wood primers, oil-based primers work best on wood surfaces. 

It takes longer for the paint to dry on wood, and that’s what makes this primer useful on wood. 

So how long does it take this primer to dry?

It needs between 1-24 hours to dry, depending on the formula of the paint, the manufacturer, and the usage. Some of the factors that affect the drying time include the temperature, levels of humidity, and the coating’s thickness.

There are fast-drying oil-based interior primers, for example, Kilz Original, which needs only an hour to dry. Other brands take quite a lot of time to dry; Benjamin Moore is one of such.

Most of the external oil-based primers take up to 24 hours to dry when temperatures are more than 45 degrees Fahrenheit. For lower temperature ranges of 35-45, it takes the primer 48 hours to dry.

Bonding Primers

They are perfect for surfaces where the paint comes off easily. For example, concrete. Once applied, this primer dry to form a sticky and robust coating that prevents the paint from washing off.

When applied to concrete, bonding primers seal the surface of the concrete and develop a line of bond for a topping to adhere to the substrate correctly. Concrete is not a suitable substrate that can hold the paint because it’s highly alkaline and porous- that’s why bonding primers are essential here.

How long does it take this primer to dry?

Like most of the other primers, it takes a bonding primers a standard time of 1-24 hours to dry thoroughly. This time is, however, affected by the prevailing environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity.

Dry Wall Primers

Drywall primer refers to the common name for the Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA). A PVA primer has highly solid contents that go directly into the new porous sheetrock, seals the pores, which will result in an even coat that covers the top of the sheetrock.

How long does it take this primer to dry?

Most drywall primers take 30 minutes to dry to the touch. Good numbers take just about two hours before they are ready for sanding and application of a topcoat. There are also some of these primers that require at least 24 hours before they are ready for painting. Environmental conditions such as temperature play an essential role in how fast this primer drys.

The Situations That May Require The Use of a Primer 

  • New Drywall – PVA primer should be the very first layer applied to the new drywall. It helps seal the drywall preventing the solvents present in the topcoat from penetrating and possibly cracking the drywall. 
  • Damages Due to Smoke – Smoke tarnishes the beautiful colors of your wall. Using a bin primer to cover smoke would be a wise decision. 
  • Wood – A significant number of manufacturers of paints make excellent primers for timber. These primers should be of high quality to work correctly, for example, filling the cracks. Oil-based primers make the best choices to work with, in this case. 
  • Water damages- stains due to water is covered using a primer. Alkyd primer is the best for this case, applying two or three coats facilitates faster drying.
  • Patches on the walls – PVA primers work best for removing spots on your wall.

How Many Coats of Primer Are Appropriate? 

When priming a stained wood, a surface with a dark painting, new drywall, or metal, you should go for two coats. 

How Can You Make Primer Dry Faster?

Sometimes, you might be working on a short timeline and would be trying hard to have your projects done quickly by making primers dry as soon as possible. Here are tips that can help you achieve this:

  • Use a dehumidifier in the room where you have done the painting. Low levels of humidity help the paint to cure faster.
  • Open the windows to allow free and sufficient flow of air in the room or the painting area.
  • Apply a thin layer of the paint instead of a thick one. So that you achieve this thin coat, consider using a paint sprayer. 


Knowing how long your primer will take to dry is crucial in planning for your painting projects. It would be best if you considered all the factors we’ve highlighted when picking the best day to do your painting work. 

Prevailing environmental conditions such as temperature levels and humidity are some that directly affect the time taken for your primer to dry, and you must, therefore, pay keen attention to them to achieve the best results possible.

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