How long does porch paint take to dry?

In order to paint your porch, you need to use special enamel paint. The surface material of your porch will determine what type of exterior or porch enamel paint is right for you. Depending on the brand and type of porch enamel paint you use, the drying time can vary widely. Planning will help your project go much smoother. While all of this may seem slightly overwhelming, we've done the research to help you know how long it takes porch paint to dry.

The average time for porch enamel paint to dry in between coats is 4-24 hours. The time to maximum hardness or cure time can range from 72 hours to 30 days. The two most common types of porch paint are oil-based enamel and latex enamel. Drying time may slightly vary depending on the type of enamel paint you use.

Choosing the right type of paint for your surface is important to ensure optimal results. In this guide, we will look further into how each of these types of enamels dry, what factors can affect drying times, what the most popular porch paint colors are, and more. Let's continue, shall we?

assorted paint in can, How Long Does Porch Paint Take To Dry

Types Of Paint And Their Drying Times

Staining wooden deck with paint roller; untreated patch of wood shown for contrast

As we mentioned before, the specific type of enamel paint can help dictate how long the paint takes to dry. Both oil-based enamel and latex enamel can be used on exterior wood porches. However, only latex enamel should be used on exterior concrete porches.

Oil-Based Enamel Paint

Oil-based enamel paint takes between 8 and 24 hours to dry between coats. The porch is ready for light use after roughly 48 to 72 hours. And finally, it's complete drying and curing time takes 3 t0 7 days.

Latex Enamel Paint

Latex enamel paint takes between 4 and 6 hours to dry between coats. The porch will be ready for normal use after 24 to 48 hours. Lastly, the final cure and maximum hardness time is 21 to 30 days.

These times are approximate. Many popular paint brands offer a porch enamel paint, so always make sure to read the individual paint product manufacturer's label for specific drying times.

Conditions That Affect Drying Time

Appropriate drying time and conditions are important to ensure a smooth, durable finish that will withstand furniture and traffic. Humidity, temperature, technique, and type of paint (as seen above) can all affect drying time.


Relative humidity of about 40-70% is recommended for painting outdoors. Drying paint requires evaporation. In wetter conditions, drying time may be delayed or even halted. Humidity can also cause problems with condensation developing on the painted surface, leading to issues with adhesion.


A dry, warm day is ideal for painting a porch. The optimum temperature for oil-based paints to properly dry is 40-90 ℉. Some specially formulated latex paint can be used at temperatures as low as 35℉, but for most latex-based paints the ideal temperature is 50-85 ℉.

Cooler temperatures may cause delayed drying time. On the other hand, in temperatures that are too warm, faster evaporation occurs leading to adhesion and curing problems that may affect the durability of your project.


Drying time can also be affected by the painting technique. Two thin coats of paint, rather than painting one thick coat, is recommended to prevent longer drying times. Allowing adequate time in between these coats is also key. See drying times in between coats above. Sectioning off areas of your porch and using long, smooth strokes, going in only one direction with both coats also helps promote faster drying time.

Type Of Paint

Although oil-based enamels offer a smoother finish, with little to no visible brush strokes, they can become brittle over time. The only time that oil-based porch enamel paints are suggested over latex is when the surface that you are covering is distressed, such as rusty metal or worn wood.

Click here to see this oil-based porch paint on Amazon.

Latex-based paints offer easier clean-up and a long-lasting, smooth, weather-resistant appearance and are usually the best option for an average homeowner.

Click here to see this latex-based porch paint on Amazon.

How Do You Prep For Painting A Porch?

Pressure washing your porch is recommended, but sweeping and thoroughly cleaning the leaves and dirt off your porch is sufficient if a pressure washer is not an option. A porch cleaner may be applied if mildew, mold, or other stains are present.

Click here to see this stain remover on Amazon.

After cleaning, your porch should dry for 24 hours before painting.

Does Porch Paint Need A Primer?

Primer is a product in paint that causes the paint to better adhere to the surface. Most porch enamel paints are self-priming, meaning that no additional primer is needed before painting your porch. Extra primer before porch enamel paint is not recommended in average situations but must be used when painting oil-based paint over a latex-based paint.

Should A Sealer Be Used On Your Painted Porch?

Sealers are not recommended for the floors of many exterior projects, as UV radiation can cause degradation of the clear coat and lead to flaky or sticky surfaces. Epoxy is an effective, durable substitute if a sealer is necessary or if a shiny finish is the desired look.

Epoxy can be quite pricey, but worth the money if the area you need to cover is high in traffic. If epoxy is used, the wait time between coats is 4 to 24 hours. Wait time for foot traffic should be at least 18 to 24 hours.

What Is The Most Durable Porch Paint?

Latex-based enamels are shown to have longer durability than oil-based. Once fully cured, a high-quality porch enamel paint is quite durable. Anti-slip formulations of some latex-based porch enamel paint are also available to provide a skid-free finish, perfect for wet conditions or children and the elderly.

Click here to see this anti-slip porch paint on Amazon.

What Are The Most Popular Paint Colors For Porches?

Popular colors for porches include various shades of green, blue, off-white, and gray. Current colors are trending toward light, neutral, calm tones in these colors. Experts recommend sticking with colors that complement the natural surroundings, such as grass, plants, masonry, and brick.

Bold colors such as yellow, orange, and fuchsia are also suggested options when going for a bolder look. Keep in mind that darker colors get hot to the touch in warm weather and sunlight.

When Can You Put Furniture On A Newly Painted Porch?

two white wooden traditional rocking chairs on a red painted porch of a 19th century American house

Although porch paint may feel dry to the touch after a few hours, a couple of days is necessary for even light to normal use. Sliding furniture on the floor can scratch paint that is not properly cured. You should wait for the maximum hardness time has passed to put furniture on painted surfaces to prevent damage. Once fully cured, a high-quality porch enamel paint is quite durable. See the above for time to max hardness or cure time.

In Closing

Your front porch is one of the most visible parts of your property. Painting your porch is an effective way to change the look of the outside of your home. To make the most of your project, always research ahead of time to find the right paint for your porch and the right weather conditions to make your porch project a success. And as always, have fun!

Before you go, be sure to check out these other home improvement guides that may be of interest to you:

How To Not Get Paint On Ceiling When Painting The Walls [4 Tips] 

Is Vinyl Flooring Good For The Garage?

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