We often get asked how long will it take for the paint to dry. This article explains the difference between paint "DRYING" and paint "CURING"
Bored Watching Paint Dry? Try Watching it Cure!
Molly Keesling - Office Manager at Millennium Mold & Tool
In today's fast-paced society, time is one of our most precious assets. Busy schedules and an increased reliance on technology have created expectations for immediate results. Because of this, one of the most common questions paint & coatings professionals hear is...
“How long until it's dry?”
Unfortunately, there are so many factors that affect dry time - plus a difference between “dry” and “cured” - that this question can be very difficult to answer directly. The following paragraphs explain the difference between dry coatings and cured coatings, as well as some influencing factors that can shorten or lengthen dry and cure times.
Dry vs. Cured
A coating is considered dry when it is no longer wet or tacky to the touch, when the majority of the paint's base (solvent) has evaporated. A coating can be dry to the touch in as little as an hour or two. Dry paint is still susceptible to damage such as scratching, scuffing, or peeling if it is exposed to traffic before it is fully cured. A coating is considered cured when it has dried completely. This means the paint has reached its peak hardness and all of the solvents have evaporated. Most paints and coatings take days or even weeks to become fully cured.
For as long as there have been protective coatings, manufacturers and users have been determined to shorten dry and cure times. This is demonstrated with “quick-dry” product lines. Additional methods for reducing dry times include convection ovens, infrared heat and industrial dehumidification systems.
Convection ovens utilize high temperatures in conjunction with air flow to quickly evaporate solvents for a faster cure. Infrared ovens use radiation to heat the coating from the inside out very rapidly to prompt a quick cure. Dehumidification systems remove moisture from the air surrounding a coated surface to speed up the release of solvents.
As new coatings technology continues to emerge, methods of shortening dry and cure times will become increasingly effective, satisfying the consumer want for quick, positive results.