tips and tricks4 min read

How long does paint take to dry and cure?

Man watching Lick Green 07 paint dry

WordsMegan Lambert


The difference between paint drying and paint curing could be the difference between you being happy with your paint job or not. What's more, getting it right the first time will save you hours (if not days) in the future. So let’s take a closer look at the difference between these often confused decorating terms.

What does it mean for paint to cure?

The paint curing process is what happens when your paint is fully hardened and preserved. It means it's ready for whatever life throws at it—the odd bump or occasional wipe-down. Lick paint is high formulation multi-surface paint, so this hardening process can take upwards of five days. Until then, it can have a flexible, almost plastic-like sensation to it. Once this has gone, your paint is fully cured, and you're ready to start rearranging your furniture and putting your room back together!

What is the difference between paint drying and paint curing?

Paint 'drying' happens when the solvents evaporate from your paint coating, leaving the paint feeling dry to the touch—even though it is not 100% dry. Whilst paint 'curing' happens when your paint coating is completely hardened and fused to the wall. Now (and only then!) is it completely dry.

How do you know if paint is cured?

To test if your paint has fully cured, press your fingernail or a knife gently onto the coating. If it leaves an indent, then you know that your paint is not fully cured. If, however, there is no indent and the surface remains hard, then you can be confident that your paint has cured.

How long does Lick paint take to dry?

We advise leaving between 2-4 hours before you start painting your second coat. Once your second coat has been applied, your paint will take about 24 hours to dry. But like we've said, this doesn't mean the job is done just yet!

What happens if you apply a second coat of paint too soon?

If you apply your second coat of paint too soon after painting your first coat, this will likely result in streaks, peeling paint, patchiness in color, or paint flaking when dry. Ensure you leave at least 2 hours between coats. To be safe, for best results leave 4 hours.

How long does it take for paint to fully cure?

It's not always an exact science. Factors like whether you've plastered, the temperature of your room, or even the weather can affect how long your paint takes to cure, but depending on moisture levels and heat, Lick paint takes 5-10 days to cure fully.

If, for example, your painting conditions are hot with high moisture (like in a bathroom), then both drying and curing time can take longer. In this case, we'd allow 7-10 days for your paint to fully cure.

Whereas, if the room you are painting is hot and dry (hello, toasty living room), both drying and curing time can be much faster. We'd recommend 5-7 days.

Whatever the environment, we'd recommend waiting 5-10 days before you put any objects directly against your walls or hang any paintings. If your paint is not fully cured, it might stick to these surfaces or peel off.

Does paint dry quicker in heat or cold?

Paint dries quicker in heat. However, high humidity doesn't allow paint to evaporate adequately. Dry heat, as opposed to humid heat, is best.

What helps paint cure faster?

As explained above, dry heat helps paint dry and cure faster. Factors like ventilation, humidity, and temperature all impact the way in which paint dries and cures. To speed up the process;

  • Invest in a heater if your room is too cold.
  • Close windows and invest in a fan or air conditioning if your room is too humid.

I’ve painted onto plaster. Why is my paint peeling off in sheets?

A common mistake, don't beat yourself up about it. If you've painted straight onto plaster, the paint can either get absorbed into the plaster or have problems adhering. This is why it's peeling off—it's the surface it's painted onto rather than the paint itself. It's actually sticking to itself rather than the wall. The good news is, this is a fairly easy fix. It just requires a little patience. All you need to do is wait for a few days and allow your paint to dry fully before you repaint.

To ensure this problem never happens in the first place, we'd recommend applying a mist coat of 70% water, 30% paint onto fresh plaster, as this is perfect for the porous nature of plaster. Once this has dried, you can begin painting as you usually would, over the top.

As ever, before you get going on a DIY project, don't forget to prep. Take a look at our guide on how to prep a room for painting and how to paint a wall.