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How Long Does Undercoat Take to Dry? (Quick Answers)

Painting is the quickest way whether you want to renovate an old wooden piece of furniture or make some changes to your room walls. But painting any surface needs to be followed by a step for the best result, that’s undercoat.

Undercoats are essential to apply under paint to prepare the surface. It helps to even out any blemish, dents, or pores on the surface. It protects the surface from various damages and moreover enhances the color when you paint. 

But you must know that these results can only be achieved if you let the undercoat dry properly and then paint over it. Since people choose painting over other methods of an instant makeover, it’s common to ask how long the undercoat may take to dry. 

Here we have given detailed information on the drying time of undercoats and many other facts related to this to help you out!

Undercoat drying time

Undercoats take 24 hours to dry completely. Though it becomes touch-dry within 30 minutes, depending on what type of undercoat is being used and where the drying time can be 6 to 24 hours. However, due to various factors such as ventilation system, weather, and temperature the duration can change.

The undercoat is the middle step in painting. It is applied after primer and before painting a surface. Undercoat works to enhance the paint that’ll be layered over. It smoothes, corrects, and prepares the surface so that the paint lasts long.

Paint cannot be applied over the undercoat until it’s dried. If you don’t give the undercoat enough time to dry on the surface, the paint will not look good neither it will last that long. But since there are different types of undercoats these days, you cannot expect the same drying time from each undercoat.  

Here we’ve listed a few popular undercoats and how long they take to dry: 

Dulux undercoat: 

Dulux is a fast-drying solvent-based undercoat. For best results, it should be applied in two layers giving a minimum of 16 hours gap in between. But in general, one layer of this undercoat takes at least 6 hours to dry.

Oil-based undercoat: 

Oil-based undercoats are heavier in formula and thus take more time than water-based ones to dry completely. They should be given 24 hours minimum to dry but after 12 to 16 hours they can be coated over.

Water-based undercoat: 

Water-based undercoats are light and fast drying. You can reapply them after 3 hours. But to paint over water-based undercoats, it should be given 24 hours to dry. 

Gloss undercoat: 

Gloss undercoats need a minimum of 16 hours to dry and get prepared for a second coat. If it’s a water-based gloss, it will dry faster within 6 to 8 hours. But for the final paint gloss undercoats need 24 hours to dry properly. 

Farrow and ball undercoat: 

Farrow and ball undercoat take 4 hours after a single layer to dry. The second and final layer usually takes more than 16 hours and around a day to fully dry. 

Primer undercoat: 

Primer undercoat can take a minimum of 3 hours to a maximum of 24 hours to dry. The dry time of primer undercoats fluctuates depending on its formula.

Universal undercoat: 

Universal undercoat is an alkyd-based one that helps in adhesion and hiding imperfection from the surface. 

When applied on a sanded surface this undercoat touch dries within 2 to 4 hours. But to dry completely it will need 16 hours to 7 days.

Leyland undercoat: 

One of the fastest drying undercoats, Leyland undercoat can dry within a day. The minimum dry time of this undercoat is 1-2 hours. 

Stone coat epoxy undercoat: 

This heavy-duty undercoat takes 8 hours to reach a minimum dried state and after 24 hours it’s perfectly dry and ready for the next step.

How long does undercoat take to dry on wood?

To make wooden furniture or boards’ paint bright and durable there is hardly any alternative to undercoats. 

Undercoats can be applied to woods before painting and after the woods are primed. But to get the best result, you must wait till the undercoat layer dries on the wood, which may take 6 to 24 hours.

Usually wood needs to be layered with undercoats two times for a better outcome. The first coat of undercoat usually takes 2 to 3 hours or maximum of 6 hours to dry properly. 

Though it will touch dry after 30 minutes The final layer of undercoat takes 24 hours on wood to dry fully. 

The drying time of undercoats on woods varies depending on what type of undercoat is applied. Also, weather, temperature, and airflow can change the drying time range of undercoats in woods.

How long does the undercoat take to dry before glossing?

Undercoats can take 3 to 4 hours to dry to get prepared for the next step, glossing.

Gloss is applied to make the surface shiny, durable, and easy to clean. Glossing is done on walls, woods, or metal surfaces to give them a very shiny appearance that’s also protective against stains and dents. But to witness the finish of glossing you have to put the undercoat first.

Undercoats help to get the smooth and sheen finish you want from glossing. Gloss solutions need to settle down on the undercoated surface after it’s ready to take the layer. For that, the undercoat has to dry.

For glossing purposes matt undercoats are used more which may take 3 hours to highest 6 hours for two coats to dry. Solvent-based undercoats take 6 to 12 or some more time to dry properly before glossing. 

Four factors that affect the undercoat dry time

If you’ve done undercoating before then you might have noticed the difference in dry time in various projects even if the solution and surface were the same. There are a few factors that control the undercoat dry time.

Here’s are the main factors that affect undercoat dry time:

Temperature and humidity:

Due to different weather and temperatures undercoat’s dry time can be different. In a temperature that’s around 60 to 75 degrees, undercoats dry earlier, even in 4 hours. But when the weather is colder it may take 6 more hours. 


Air can absorb the water from undercoat solutions thus helping the coating to dry sooner. A room that has broad air passing ways will surely have the surface dried in a short time.

But If the undercoat applied surface is not in a well-ventilated area, it might take more time to dry.

Undercoat verities: 

different undercoats serve a different purposes and are made of various formulas which have an impact on undercoat’s drying time. 

Matte or water-based undercoats usually dry fast, normally within 3 or 6 to 12 hours. But oil-based undercoats dry after 24 hours of application.

The thickness of the coat: 

Thin and evenly applied coats dry faster. You will even find them touch-dry after 30 minutes and ready for the next step in 12 to 24 hours.  

But if you’re applying thick layers of undercoats it may cost you more than a day to dry completely. 

How to make the undercoat dry quicker?

How well a surface looks after painting depends a lot on how patiently you’ve used the undercoat. Because unless the coat is hundred percent dried, you cannot proceed to the next step. 

So if you are planning to give a quick makeover to the walls in your room, and now wondering when you’ll be able to put the paint after using an undercoat, you can follow some tips to make this undercoating task faster:

Prime the wall well:

Primer is the very first step of painting. It should be applied before undercoating any surface. Many people skip priming and directly use an undercoat but that’s not right. 

Under on a bare surface hardly does its magic. So you have to put primer first and then undercoat.  

Apply thin coats: 

The thinner the quicker- this is what you need to practice while applying undercoat. No matter what type of undercoat you’re applying, keep it lighter in consistency and apply in thin layers. 

Ensure adequate airflow: 

Proper ventilation influences the undercoat to dry in a short time. While undercoating the walls make sure the place has good air circulation. Keep the doors and windows open to let the air pass.

Use fan, dryer, or humidifier: 

Often external factors affect the dry time of undercoats. To tackle them, choose less humid days. 

You can use a humidifier to balance the environment inside. Also to speed up the drying process fan, dryer or heater can be used. 

Final Thoughts

Undercoat becomes touch dry within 30 minutes but 24 hours is its standard drying time. This duration can vary due to weather conditions, temperature, air circulation, and application procedure. Thus it sometimes can take 6 to 12 hours and often more than a day for the undercoat to dry.