How Long Does Primer Take to Dry

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

​​Skipping the primer​​ shouldn’t be an option. This important base coat is not only useful when you are going from dark to light but also helps your new paint of any color adhere to the surface better, especially for textured materials like a faux brick wall or your deck in the patio. You certainly want to achieve the best results possible with your project, and following all the rules suggested for a particular product will certainly be helpful.

So, how fast does primer dry? We have come up with a few useful tips that will help you to find out what the estimated time for a particular kind of this product is.

Primer Drying Time Depending on its Structure

Primer is generally almost like paint, but it lacks pigments – resins are the primary components of its structure. It is used before applying the actual paint to achieve a long-lasting finish. It can create an excellent bond between the wall or another surface and the paint because it provides a uniform area excellently adjusted for painting. There are various kinds of this product, though, so to find the answer to the question: ‘how long does primer take to dry?’, you need to know what it is made from.

primer on wall

How Long Does Latex Primer Take to Dry

The basis of every latex primer is water, and generally, it needs much less time to dry than the products made from oil. In most cases, just after 1 or 2 hours, the surface coated with latex primer will be able to be painted. What is more, it generates fewer VOCs, and its smell is much weaker. The results are very similar, but the oil-based primer offers slightly stronger protection than the latex one.

Keep in mind that the latex primer drying time may be affected by the number and type of coats you applied. As it is not hard to guess, the time increases with the number of coats applied. It is advised to keep the coats thin if you want to achieve better results and minimize the chances of ending up with uneven edges. Another tip here is to use many thin strokes than apply just one thick coat.

How Long Does Oil-Based Primer Take to Dry

Oil-based primer proves best on a wooden surface. If you have such a surface to paint, it is definitely worth purchasing this kind of product to get the best results possible. It takes more time to dry than the latex-based variants, but it is worth the waiting!

So, how long does primer take to dry on wood (provided that you got an oil-based product indeed)? The answer is not that simple because a few factors need to be taken into consideration. They are as follows:

  • Humidity. In very humid places, the primer will take longer to dry completely. For this reason, when it is raining outside, you need to give it more time. However, some people solve this problem with a dehumidifier.
  • Method of Application. If you want to shorten the drying time, you should use spray paint instead of the one that needs to be applied with a roll-on or a brush. It is because spraying on primer results in creating thin coats that take only just one or two hours to dry in normal circumstances.
  • Ventilation. Effective ventilation can significantly improve drying time. However, you need to watch out not to let too much dust floating in the air reach your primer.
  • Outdoor or Indoor Location. Bear in mind that if you use your primer outside, it will be exposed to the elements. For this reason, the drying time will be strongly affected by weather conditions. For example, if it is very sunny, it will take less time than normal, while on a humid, or even rainy day, you will have to wait longer. Therefore, it is recommended to plan your outdoor decorating wisely!
  • Temperature. The drying time shortens adequately to the higher temperature of the room. The perfect temperature here would be around 75 Fahrenheit (or 24 degrees Celcius).

As you can see, there are a lot of factors that can shorten or prolong the estimated time. But how long does primer take to dry on average? In the case of an oil-based product, the answer will be from 6 to 8 hours. As this substance is heavy, it may be necessary to sand down any clumpy areas or obvious brush strokes, so you have a clean, smooth canvas for paint. To be absolutely sure your primer dries, we would say – give it a full 24 hours before you attempt to apply the first coat.

How Long Does Bonding Primer Take to Dry

Bonding primer proves great on surfaces where paint tends to come off easily – like concrete, for instance. Thanks to such an enhancement, you will get a sticky and robust coating that will prevent the paint from washing off.

After applying to concrete, the bonding primer seals its surface and builds a line of bond for a topping to attach to the substrate properly. Concrete is a hard material to paint because it is highly alkaline and porous, so using a bonding primer is crucial here.

The drying time in this case is also strongly affected by environmental conditions, such as humidity or temperature. Depending on them, the standard time can be estimated at anything between 1 hour and 24 hours.


All in all, when you want to know how long to wait for primer to dry before painting, you need to take a few very significant factors into consideration. First, it depends on the particular kind of product you have – it can be, for example, oil-based, latex, or bonding primer, or one of a few others. On top of that, you need to think about the conditions you will be conducting your project in because such factors as humidity, temperature, indoor/outdoor location, or the application method can have a great impact.

Even if you might be tempted to skip the primer stage and use your paint straight away to finish your project faster, that is something we strongly discourage you from doing – it is better to wait a bit longer for the results than not have the best you can get. Good luck with your decorating!

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.