It is essential to consider when priming and painting “How long does primer take to dry?” Many people ask this question, and you are not the only one who wants to know the answer.

The correct time depends on the manufacturer, paint formula, and application. Oil-based primer takes 24 hours to dry completely. You can paint the second coat, after one full day. Of course, inside and outside temperatures, humidity, and coating thickness may also affect the drying time.

If you want to know more about it, let’s read the article fully. In this article, we are going to discuss all oil-based primers, their drying time, types, and usage as well.

How Long Does Oil-Based Primer Take To Dry

What Is Oil-Based Primer Used For?

Oil-based primer refers to the base of the primer as oil. You can use this primer with oil-based paint. These types of primers work with both oil paints and latex paints. It makes them very versatile and applicable to a wide variety of surfaces. Oil-based primer is popular with its stain and moisture-blocking qualities. 

It is ideal to use oil-based primer on wood (painted or unpainted), steel and other metals, and surfaces with existing paint, such as interior and exterior walls.

Oil-based primers can be good for interior and exterior unfinished or bare wood. Because they seal the porous surface of wood, enabling the coat of paint to better cover the surface. They stop tannins, released from woods, such as cedar or redwood, from bleeding through the surface of the paint. They also save or slow down paint peeling, cracking, and blistering.

Oil-based primer is good to apply to wood. The oil seals the grains of the wood and prevents the paint from bubbling because of water damage. Oil-based paint releases a higher number of Volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This refers to that oil-based primer isn’t the first choice for indoor use. Because the VOCs may be harmful when inhale routinely.

How Long Does It Take Primer To Dry In General?

In order to find out how long does oil-based primer take to dry, it is important to understand drying time varies depending on the paint formula, and the temperature.  It typically takes 8 hours for oil-based paint to dry. Time can range from 2-24 hours. So, you should check your instruction label for your paint’s specifics.

Most oil-based primers require at least 8 hours to dry well. Before painting, you can smoothen the surface by sanding the primer with 180-grit sandpaper. This may help create a strong bond between the primer and paint. You should ensure to clean the wood after sanding and allow it to dry completely before painting.

You may touch it before the day ends and not get a sticky residue on your hands. However, you have to wait until the full drying time to ensure. So that you will not damage the paint job. The second coat of oil-based primer will further prepare the surface for the colored paint.

Many experts advise waiting 12 to 24 hours before painting. It doesn’t matter what type of primer you utilize, you should apply it in thin layers to avoid clumps. Depending on the painting surface, you could need to brush on multiple coats.

How To Make Oil-Based Primer Dry Faster

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Waiting for the oil-based primer to dry may be one of the pain points of painting.  Waiting for the bottom layer to dry can be frustrating. Many people are eager to know how to make oil-based primers dry faster. If you also want to know the answer, you are in the right place. Below, there are some tips for how to make oil-based primers dry faster.

  1. Most oil-based primers can take 2 – 24 hours to dry. The level of solvents and solids in oil-based primers directly affects dry times as well. Solvents (like mineral spirits) must evaporate, then the oil must oxidize with oxygen and harden. So, the more solvents, the faster the dry time because there is less oil to oxidize. For instance, Kilz Original oil-based primer dries fast as it has a high volume of solvents and a low number of solids. Benjamin Moore’s Impervo, on the other hand, has a high number of solids and dries very slowly.
  2. Oil-based paint dries slowly at low temperatures. That is why painting in the dead of summer makes the paint dry much faster.
  3. Cool or humid air will increase the drying time. However, placing your primed surface indoors in a warm space with dry air may reduce the drying time. If possible, install a dehumidifier in the painted room that speeds things along.
  4. And also, the outside humidity is lower than the inside humidity. So, cracking windows in every room can usually help speed up the drying process. But, if the humidity outside is high, this will not help and may even hurt the drying process.
  5. There are various drying mediums that you can use to speed up the process, such as Liquin. You should research which would work best for you.  You can also use turpentine to thin the paint for a base layer.

What Influences The Primer Drying Time?

Several factors may influence primer drying time. For instance, the primer type, temperature, and humidity of the room, coating thickness, ventilation, and the surface you’re priming.

Type of primer

There are four main types of primer: latex, oil-based, shellac, and self-priming. All of these primers take varying amounts of time to dry. So you should pay attention to what primer you’re buying. 

Oil-based primers are versatile. They are ideal for bare wood and sealing porous surfaces to supply a better foundation for the paint. They dry slower than other types of primers, although, often take up to four hours to dry.

Latex primers are water-based primers. If you are priming new drywall, they are ideal. They dry pretty quickly, more specifically within an hour.

Shellac primers are perfect for covering stains. If you want to paint a wall with water or smoke damage — this can be the best option. They can even prevent foul odors.  These primers work well on all surfaces, including wood, metal, plaster, and plastic. Like latex, shellac primers dry quickly, usually within 60 minutes.

Self-priming paint is both a primer and a paint in one. What makes it great is that you spend less time on the process, as the product is two-in-one. It takes up to two hours to dry, and some products get ready for the next coat of paint in less than an hour.

Temperature and humidity of the room

The right room temperature and high humidity can also aid the drying process. Many brands recommend an ideal room temperature.

If the air is too hot or humid, the primer may take much more time to dry than necessary. If the air is too cold, then the primer may become too thick (especially for oil-based primers). And applying it may be difficult. Latex paints could freeze in cold weather. Waiting until the temperature is steady before applying primer is the best.

The temperature and humidity recommendations apply to both indoor and outdoor primer use. Managing temperature and humidity control inside is a bit easier. You should set your thermometer, and if it is too humid, try a dehumidifier.

Coating thickness

It isn’t enough to use a thin coat of primer to cover the imperfections of the surface underneath. So, you may want to apply more. However, too many thinner coats of primer may increase the amount of time to dry. 

The second coat is usually perfect. You should make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions first. Even though you have to use enough primer, you shouldn’t apply too much.

The surface you’re priming

The surface you’re priming can also influence the drying time. For example, priming metal has a longer drying time, up to four hours. The overall process when priming stained wood, a darker surface, or new drywall may also take longer as two coats are typically necessary.


If you want the primer to dry even quicker, you should have enough ventilation. You can do it by leaving your doors and windows open. It’s especially significant when it comes to shellac or oil-based primers. If you ensure some good airflow, the drying time may get shorter. 

Types Of Oil-Based Primer

How Much Does A Gallon Of Paint Weigh

When discussing how long does oil-based primer take to dry? There are many types of oil-based primers. But, we are going to inform some of them. Each has its strengths, and weaknesses, and works best on certain surfaces and in particular circumstances. And also, their drying time varies from each other. You can read about them below

Zinsser 03504

Zinsser 03504 oil-based primer dries quickly. That is why it is known as the best oil-based primer. The primer adheres efficiently over wood surfaces indoors, at the same time double as an exterior oil-based primer. This product can hide smoke stains, even those caused by water because of its stain-blocking formula. As soon as it covers the interior surfaces, it gives extra shine to the oil-based paint that follows. 

The Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3

The rust-oleum Zinsser bulls-eye 1-2-3 primer dries in 30 minutes. It has the normal performance of an oil-based primer, although it has a slightly different formula.

This rust protection product has great coverage, a gallon of the ability to go over 400 square feet. It can be a good choice for wood, but you can also apply it to painted metals and other different surfaces.

The rust-oleum Zinsser bulls-eye 1-2-3 primer is cheaper compared to the Zinsser Cover Stain. It also cleans up nicely using only soap and water.

Rust-Oleum Professional Primer

Rust-oleum professional primer dries in 15 minutes, which makes it quick to work with.  It covers only about 14 square feet, unlike the product mentioned above.

However, it’s a perfect choice if you have a smaller project. It’s much more affordable than the Zinsser Cover Stain and the Rust-Oleum Bulls Eye 1-2-3. Furthermore, you will not have to go through any bothersome brush painting projects. This may help you get the exterior projects done much faster. 

Rust-Oleum 272479 Zinsser Bulls Eye

Rust-oleum 272479 Zinsser bulls-eye dries up rapidly, only taking about 30 minutes. It is perfect spray paint for furniture or touch-ups. You can use it when you do not have a wide surface to cover. 

This type of primer is able to stick to anything, from glossy surfaces to porous wood. You can apply it with any kind of paint.

Plus, it doesn’t require sanding, even if you apply the spray primer over a painted surface. It is good for interior and exterior primers.

INSL-X Prime Lock Plus Alkyd Primer

INSL-X prime lock plus alkyd primer dries for about an hour. It is good for glossy surfaces. Compared to the Rust-Oleum Bulls-Eye or the Zinsser Cover Stain, it is costly, and it makes everything up in quality.

This type of primer paint adheres swiftly, and it doesn’t take much time to dry.

The stain-blocking properties are also good, and it leaves a beautiful flat finish. The INSL-X Prime Lock is the ideal option for those who want to get rid of the glossy finish and go matte.

 AdvantagesDisadvantagesDrying time
Zinsser 03504Offers the painted area some extra shin, is very efficient at hiding stains, dries very fast, and can be used on both exterior and interior surfaces.It has a strong odor and may cause skin irritation.In 30 minutes.
The rust-oleum zinsser bulls eye 1-2-3Affordable price, resists rust and mildew formation, has splendid stain covering performance, and works on both interior and exterior surfaces.It may require a second coat of primer.In 30 minutes.
Rust-oleum professional primerPerfect for smaller projects or touch-ups, great coverage, and excellent sealing properties.Covers only 14 square feet.In 15 minutes.
Rust-oleum 272479 zinsser bulls eyeInterior/exterior use, does not require sanding, it dries quickly.Small coverage.In 30 minutes.

Tips To Apply The Oil-Based Primer

If you decide to use an oil-based based primer, let’s read this paragraph. If you follow these simple six steps, your work will be perfect for the paint of your choice.

Keep stirring

Get a traditional wooden stir stick and keep stirring until the oil and the pigment get mixed. When the primer sits on the shelf for a very long time, the two compounds tend to separate. Keep stirring and stir for longer. It’s also beneficial to keep the stick nearby so that you can mix even while using the primer.

Pour the primer into a new container

Many people avoid doing this, but it’s very significant to use a new container and pour the primer into it. Take a plastic cup and pour only a small amount inside. Try putting the lid back on the original paint can if it is possible. Usually, if you keep working from the paint can, completely dried primer blobs. That will end up in the can from the brush and will affect the mixture. This may lead to brush marks or paint adhesion to your woodwork, so it is good to prevent this.

Use mineral spirits if necessary

Apply mineral spirits to thin the primer if it gets too thick. You should be able to apply it smoothly. Add them little by little, as this will slowly thin the solution. You should apply the primer without brush drag marks. Moreover, you don’t make it too thin either, since it can drip and ruin your work.

Use a good brush

Buying a high-quality bristle brush is crucial for a successful paint job, so don’t purchase something cheap and bad. You should go to your local hardware shop and look for some top-quality brand brushes that will allow you to spread the oil-based primer properly.

Don’t look back

You shouldn’t use your brush on any surface that was left to dry for more than one minute. You should only keep moving forward. Oil-based primer tends to stick faster than latex primer because it’s so sticky. The only thing you can do is to sand the surface to make it smoother.

Sand gently when it dries

When the surface is dry, you should start sanding gently. This is necessary if there are any imperfections that bother you. Make sure to sand enough to get rid of the imperfections and not get too harsh. In case you need extra help, you should call a professional painter.

Things To Avoid When Using Oil-Based Primer

Here are some things that you should avoid when using oil-based primers.

  • Do not use latex paint over oil paint without using an oil-based primer. This may crack the paint and lead to unsightly walls.
  • You should try to eliminate all traces of loose paint before applying primer because they can damage the surface.
  • Avoid priming the walls before performing a lead test.
  • If you make a mistake, do not start brushing over the spot again since you may roughen the surface and leave brush marks. Instead of that, you should wait until the area dries completely and sand the surface until it smooths.
  • Apply oil-based primer when painting bare wood, whether it’s interior or exterior wood. Because primers seal the wood’s porous surface.
  • Apply primers to prevent the tannins from bleeding through the surface and ruining the paint. The reason is that the paint you use over the primer adheres well.
  • As the temperature of air increases, it can absorb more liquid and reduce humidity, which accelerates drying time. If you paint outdoors, you have to control humidity or temperature.


I hope you found this article helpful, and now you know some facts about how to make oil-based primers dry faster and how to use them to your advantage. Try to use these tips for your project.


How long does primer take to dry outside?

Assuming you are talking about paint primer, the short answer is that it takes about 30 minutes for primer to dry outside. However, there are a few things that can affect this drying time. For example, if it is a very hot day, the primer will dry more quickly. If it is a humid day, the primer will take longer to dry. Also, the type of primer you are using can make a difference. Some primers dry more quickly than others. So, if you are unsure how long your primer will take to dry, it is always best to consult the manufacturer’s instructions.

How long does it take primer to dry on wood?

It takes primer to dry on wood depending on the type of primer you use. Oil-based primer can take up to 24 hours to dry, while latex primer typically dries within 1-2 hours. If you’re using a water-based primer, it will dry even faster – usually within 30 minutes to 1 hour. How long it takes for your particular primer to dry will also depend on the temperature and humidity of your environment. In general, though, you can expect primer to take at least a few hours to dry completely.

How long does it take primer to dry on metal?

It usually takes primer to dry on metal within 2-4 hours. However, the drying time may be extended if the temperature or humidity is high. If you need to speed up the drying time, you can use a hairdryer on the low setting or a heat lamp.

How long does it take primer to dry on plastic?

It usually takes primer to dry on plastic within 24 hours. However, it is always best to check the product label for the specific drying time. Some primers may take longer to dry on plastic than others. If you are unsure how long your primer will take to dry, you can always contact the manufacturer for more information.