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How Long Does Oil Paint Take To Dry? (2 Ways to speed it up)

Straight to the point.

How long does oil paint take to dry?

Oil paint takes much more time to dry than regular latex paints. Latex paint usually takes around 1 hour to finish drying. Oil-based paints usually take around 6-8 hours to dry. 

However, the dry time is heavily dependent on the surface of the material. For example, oil-based paints will take longer to dry against metal, than against wood or drywall. If you’re painting a metal roof with oil paint, this could take around a day to dry. This is because oil-based paints, like all paints, are like materials with plenty of pores. This allows the paint to seep more deeply into the material. This reduces the amount of paint on the surface, so it will feel dry to the touch much more quickly.

Don’t let this fool you though. Just because it feels dry to the touch doesn’t mean that it is ready for a second coat. Regardless of the material, we suggest that you wait until the next day to apply a second coat of oil-based paint. They take far longer than latex-based paints to fully set in.

Where do you even use oil-based paints?

For some reason, there is a lot of stigma around using oil-based paints. Every time I go to my local Home Depot, I feel like people are always warning me against them. I’m here to tell you that they’re wrong. There are definitely scenarios where oil-based paint is a better fit. But first, there are a few things you should know about oil-based paints.

Properties of oil-based based paints.

  1. It takes far longer to dry when compared to regular latex-based paints.
  2. More resistant to scratches, dents, and general wear and tear.
  3. You use less paint. 
  4. Leaves a glossier finish
  5. Lasts longer than regular latex paint.

These are a few pros and cons of oil-based paint. There are definitely uses for these paints, otherwise, they wouldn’t exist. Right?

To be honest, you can use oil-based paint everywhere you can use regular-based paint.

However, you don’t really want to do that because layering different types of paint is very bad for the health of the paint. Basically, if you use oil-based paint for the first layer and then latex-based paint then it won’t adhere very well. Also, you can’t use oil-based paint on top of latex paint either.

Places we recommend for you to use oil-based paints

how long does oil paint take to dry?
Example of Oil Paint Usage on Furniture
  1. Cabinets
  2. Trimming
  3. Doors
  4. Metals or piping
  5. Furniture Finishes

We recommend oil-based paints in the following scenarios because of the properties we mentioned earlier. The most important though is #2 (More resistant to scratches, dents, and general wear and tear) and #5 (Lasts longer than regular latex paint).

For these two reasons, we recommend oil-based paint for these locations. They are the most frequently used places in the home and some of the most difficult to manage. You want to make sure that they are done well, last as long as possible, and look as good as possible. Also, oil-based paint is exceptionally good at defending against mold, oxidation, and chipping.

In conclusion, you can use oil-based paint in many of the same places that you use regular latex paint. It’s just not that common for interior applications like walls. In another post, we discussed how to prep drywall for painting, but in those cases- you would want to stay away from oil paint for interior walls, it can be a pain to keep things clean.

Also, since we already covered how long does oil paint take to dry, keep in mind that whatever you paint with oil paint is going to take a bit longer than latex paint to dry.

However, there are many benefits to using them. The most important among these benefits is that oil-based paint lasts much longer and is much more resistant to the elements than regular latex paint. For this reason, you should use oil-based paint in many common areas around the house that are difficult to manage. 

If you spilled oil-based paint 

Before we tell you how to remove oil-based paint off your floor we should tell you that the best defense is a good offense. So, please be careful and use the proper protection before painting with any paint. We have seen countless cases of small droplets of paint scattered around houses because of terrible brushes or a lack of preparation. Make sure to buy proper brushes from a local Sherwin-Williams and some sort of tarp or cardboard to make sure paint doesn’t land on your floor.

If you have spilled oil-based paint over the floor don’t worry. If the spill is relatively new then the solution is exceedingly simple. Take a cloth damp and wipe off as much paint as you possibly can. Then, you should find some rubbing alcohol around the house and apply it for around 5 minutes. After that, the paint should fall off pretty easily. However, if this doesn’t work you can use acetone, but make sure to use it in small quantities, because it could potentially damage your floor.

How to make oil-based paint dry faster

Like we mentioned before oil-based paint takes around 6-8 hours to dry. This is under completely optimal conditions. There are a few factors that can slow and speed up this process. The thing you should know is that humidity is terrible for the drying of the paint. Water molecules get trapped in the paint making the drying process much longer than necessary. Also, excessive heat is also bad for the drying of the paint. This happens because it causes the surface of the paint to dry much faster than the paint under it. Therefore, the surface of the paint absorbs all of the heat, leaving the paint under the surface cool and sometimes damp. You don’t want this.

A few solutions to this are to be aware of the weather conditions outside. Usually, humidity inside a house is a result of outside conditions. So, make sure to keep windows and doors closed if the day is very humid outside. In the worst-case scenario, you can use a dehumidifier if you have one on hand. Additionally, the only way to get rid of the heat issue is to remove or alleviate the source of the heat itself. If you’re painting outside, then our suggestion would be to find something to make some shade for the paint.

Lastly, a few things you can do to speed up the process would be to apply some sort of wind or cooling to the oil-based paint. You can use a fan or lower the air conditioning. The concept is simple, try to make the paint as cool as possible. That way there will be as few impediments to its drying as humanly possible. 

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