How Long Does Gloss Take To Dry?

Written by  Harry Taylor
Last updated: July 5, 2023

When it comes to painting high-touch surfaces like door handles and countertops, a gloss finish is the best choice. Nothing beats gloss when you are looking for that shiny, stainless, weatherproof and waterproof quality in a painted surface. Most other types of paints can’t take the same level of usage with such elegance and durability. However, that doesn’t make waiting for high gloss paints to dry any less frustrating, especially for those who mostly use water-based paints like emulsion or for an inexperienced DIY painter.

Within one hour of painting, water-based paints are usually dry to the touch. However, it usually takes at least four hours on average for high gloss paint to reach that kind of level. Additionally, it takes longer when you are waiting to apply the second coat. But when gloss paints get their attributes that include reflectiveness, thickness, and durability from enamel resin concentrates, it’s to be expected. These concentrates contain and rely on oil which compared to water takes much longer to be absorbed by the surface when painted.

This is why the average gloss paint takes longer to dry; water-based paints will generally dry faster than oil-based paints. However, drying times vary between gloss paint. It is affected by several factors that we will discuss along with what you can do to make gloss paint dry faster. But first things first, how long does gloss paint take to dry?

How Long Does Gloss Paint Take To Dry?

How long does gloss paint take to dry

To answer this, we need to look at the different drying stages which are touch dry, recoat and curing time. For those who are not as experienced at painting, here are brief explanations of each term:

  • Touch dry time: This is when the paint feels dry to the touch. However, it doesn’t mean that the paint is completely dry. It is just the outer layer that is dry. This outer layer usually contains some of the aeration medium added to the paint solution which explains the name of solvent-based paints. The aeration medium improves aeration which helps the paint dry faster. But the aeration medium also dries faster than the remaining content of the solution. Touch dry time for gloss paint is 4 to 7 hours.
  • Recoating time: When using any paint, it is better to apply it in multiple thin coats instead of one large one. This will give you the best result and reduce paint drying time. However, you want to ensure you apply a recoat at the right time. Adding another coat too soon can cause the first coat to peel or the colours to become uneven. Recoat time for gloss paint is 16 to 24 hours.
  • Curing time: Curing is the process by which paint hardens and thickens to become as strong and healthy as possible. The curing process involves chemical reactions like the oxidation of the solvents and other particles. After this has occurred, you can subject the painted surface to heavy use. It takes 2 to 7 days for gloss paint to be fully cured.

How Long Does Gloss Paint Take To Dry Inside?

Paint drying times vary depending on whether you use the paint indoors or outdoors. However, it also depends on the environmental conditions in either location. The main factors that affect drying times are air temperature, humidity and air circulation. These three factors determine how soon the solvent can evaporate so that the paint dries and hardens. But it does differ depending on the location. In some cases, air temperature, humidity and air circulation are higher indoors, so the process will be faster. But in other situations, it is the exact opposite. But in normal British weather conditions, gloss paint typically dries to touch in 2 hours and is ready for a recoat in 4 when used indoors.

How Long Does Gloss Paint Take To Dry Outside?

When it comes to exterior drying time, the same rules apply to interior drying time. So, in normal British weather conditions, gloss paint takes 4 hours to touch dry and 16 hours to be ready for a recoat when used outdoors.

What Influences How Long It Takes For Gloss Paint to Dry?

Here are the factors affecting drying time for gloss paint. These apply to all surfaces and situations such as interior and exterior wood, plaster, concrete and metal surfaces.

Air temperature

Naturally, paints will dry faster at higher temperatures. But this does not mean it is good for the paint. Both high and low temperatures can be problematic. If the temperature is too high, gloss paint may crack, blister and peel. In cold temperatures, gloss will thicken, but it will not dry easily. With this in mind, the optimal temperature for painting and drying gloss paint is 50 to 75ºF. However, it’s always best to check the paint brand for their own recommendation.


Just like the temperature, humidity is also one of the main influences on gloss paint drying time. The atmospheric moisture content affects the solvent’s ability to evaporate, which is how drying occurs. When in humid environments, drying is slower. In low humid environments, the situation is reversed. We suggest that the optimal humidity for drying gloss paint is 40 to 60%. However, you can check your paint brand for recommendations.


There are two factors regarding the surface; nature and condition. When it comes to surface metal, plastered, concrete or masonry, the drying times for any of these will differ with metal usually drying faster and concrete slower than the others. Regarding condition, it depends on the condition of the surface such as if it is wet or dusty. Naturally, the paint will dry faster on a dry surface. It will also stick faster on a surface that is not covered in dust or dirt. So it’s best to prep the surface by cleaning and sanding it before you start painting.

Is the space enclosed?

As discussed earlier, the drying time for interior and exterior surfaces depend on a number of determining factors such as humidity, air temperature and air circulation. In an enclosed space, air circulation is restricted, but the remaining two factors are more independent. So this question of ‘Is the space enclosed?’ needs you to look at whether there is also adequate aeration and ventilation. If the room is enclosed, gloss paint will take longer to fully dry and cure and you may not get that desired perfect high gloss finish. But you can fix this issue by simply increasing air circulation.

Type of Paint

Gloss Paint Dry

High gloss paints take longer to dry than semi-gloss and quick-dry gloss. High gloss paint needs at least 48 hours to dry, semi-gloss will need about 24 hours and quick-dry gloss is ready in about 1 hour. With this in mind, the type of paint can influence the drying time. It is the same for all types of paints because of the differences in their chemical makeup. For example, latex and acrylic paints which are water-based will always dry faster than oil-based enamel paint.

Brand of Paint

Just as how the type affects the drying time, the different brands dry differently too. Each manufacturer has its own manufacturing procedure and ingredients. Each brand has its system for making its specially formulated products using particular ingredients and additional solvents which affect drying time. That is why they always provide their own instructions on how to safely apply their products. To help with this, here is a guide to the drying times of some of the most popular gloss paint products on the market.

Popular Gloss Paints Drying Times

 PaintTouch Dry Time (hours)Recoat Time (hours)Single coat drying time (hours)
1Wilko One Coat Interior Gloss  16-24
2Wilko Non-Drip Interior Gloss  16-24
3Rubbol XD Gloss6-724 
4Rubbol AZ Plus2 ½ 18 
5Leyland Trade High Gloss416-24 
6Sandtex 10 Year Exterior Gloss616 
7Crown Contract High Gloss4-616 
8Armstead Trade High Gloss4-616-24 
9Dulux non-drip gloss616 
10Dulux trade metal shield gloss1-24-6 
11Dulux once gloss616 
12Dulux WeatherShield Exterior High Gloss4-616-24 
13Dulux trade fast dry gloss14-6 

Water-Based Vs Oil-Based Gloss Paints

Water-based gloss paints are a recent trend but they are gradually becoming more readily available and a reliable alternative to their oil-based counterparts. They are friendlier to the environment and dry faster because they are water-based. However, one downfall is that they are not as durable.

How To Make Gloss Paint Dry Faster?

Here are some things you can do to make gloss paint dry faster:

Apply multiple light coats instead of one heavy one: Light coats will always dry faster than heavier ones. Using a light coat means that you have to apply paint multiple times to get the desired result. However, doing this will result in a professional and appealing job. Also, in most cases when dealing with gloss paint you will only need two coats.

Improve ventilation: While you can simply improve ventilation by keeping the doors and windows, you can also increase air circulation by opening vents, using dehumidifiers, fans, air blowers and central heating.  However, by increasing air circulation, you are also increasing the distribution of any dust and tiny debris in the area. These will happily stick to your still-wet paint job, damaging the final finish.

Add paint dryer to the mix: Remember that paint dries through the evaporation of water and the absorption and oxidation of other chemical contents. The oxidation rate is sped up by paint dryers. All you have to do is add the paint dryer while mixing paint. However, you have to avoid using too much or leaving the mixed paint for too long as paint dryers really speed drying up.

Use a hairdryer: This is an easy solution as heat will always speed up drying. You just need to avoid overdoing it as too much heat and the paint may crack and peel. It’s best to keep the hairdryer at around 90ºF and 2-3 feet away from the painted surface. Just be careful not to get too close. 

Paint in suitable weather: While this tip may not be as important as the others, it is still important to choose a suitable day weatherwise, with a preference for a warm, clear day.


How Long Does Quick Dry Gloss Take To Dry?

Quick-dry gloss will be dry to touch within an hour, ready for a recoat in 1 hour 30 minutes and fully cured in 24 hours. However, you can start using it in 12 hours but ensure its moderate use only. However, that drying speed comes at the expense of durability when applying the oil-based gloss. But quick-dry gloss is a versatile and attractive option, especially for small and urgent projects.  

Why is Gloss Not Dry After 16 Hours?

It can take up to 24 hours for the gloss to fully dry in some circumstances. Then once this is complete, there are 7 days of curing to go before it is fully hardened. However, if you feel that it has not dried as it should have after 16 hours, check some of the factors that affect drying time, such as cold weather and ventilation and try the tips on how to speed up drying.

How Do I Clean My Brush After glossing?

Oil-based paints like gloss are harder to clean than their water-based counterparts like latex paints, but this simple process will get you through it.

Step 1: Use an old towel or newspaper to clean the brush

Step 2: Pour brush cleaner or white spirit into a glass jar, not plastic.

Step 3: Soak the brush for a few minutes

Step 4: Ensure the solution reaches every part of the brush.

Step 5: If the brush is still not clean enough, make another solution and repeat steps 3 and 4.

Step 6: Now it’s time to dry the brush

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