How long does undercoat take to dry?

How long undercoat paint takes to dry will depend on a couple of factors, the main one being what type of paint you used. Let’s jump into it below and go through all the options and trying times.

Water v Solvent Based Undercoat

This will be the number one deciding factor when it comes to how long your undercoat takes to dry. Did you use a water-based paint or a solvent(oil) based paint?

Water-based paints dry quickly whereas solvent-based paints can take a lot longer. If you don’t know which you got then try looking at the tin, if you are still not sure then here are some tips.

Undercoats advertised as quick-drying are almost always water-based.

Water Based and Solvent Based Undercoat
Water-Based and Solvent Based Undercoat

Here you can see two undercoats both made by Dulux under the trade range. The regular undercoat is solvent-based and the “Quick-Dry” undercoat is water-based.

Most paint brands have both options, they offer a water-based and a solvent-based undercoat.

Look for a green tin with leyland trade paints
Look for a green tin with leyland trade paints

Leyland has made it really easy to distinguish between their paints. All of the water-based paints come in a green tin, regardless of what type they are. So if they are undercoat, gloss, satin but in a green tin then they are water-based.

Quite often paint companies are eager to point out water-based paints. So on the tin, you can often find little water-based icons. You can see these on both the Leyland and Dulux tins above.

Water-Based Undercoat Drying Times

Dulux trade quick dry water-based undercoat is touch dry very quickly, but this can change depending on humidity, whenever I have used it it is touch dry within an hour. It can be re-coated after 4-5 hours.

Most water-based undercoats will be touch dry within 30 minutes and can be re-coated in a few hours, 2-4 seems to be about average.

Solvent-Based Undercoat Drying Times

For a direct comparison, Dulux trade solvent-based undercoat is touch dry in 2-6 but has a massive re-coat window of 6-16 hours!

Most solvent-based undercoats will be touch dry in 4-6 hours and re-coatable after 16-24 hours, that is the average I have found after looking at tons of different paint manufactueres.

Other Brands

Different brands offer undercoats with different drying times, but one thing remains constant. The water-based undercoats dry much faster than others, this is just how all water-based paints work.

Leyland trade for example offers a water-based fast dry undercoat that can be recoated in 1-2 hours and is touch dry in minutes! Their regular undercoat however cannot be re-coated for 16-24 hours.

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Sam Wood

Wood by name, wood by nature. I am a fully qualified, time-served, award-winning joiner with an NVQ Level 3 in Carpentry and Joinery as well as an HNC in Construction. Beyond my joinery qualifications, I have also earned a degree in building surveying. I believe these qualifications make me perfectly positioned to provide expert advice on many different areas of DIY as well as share all of the tips I have picked up in over a decade working on building sites!

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