Skip to Content

How Long Does Cabinet Paint Take To Dry?

How Long Does Cabinet Paint Take To Dry?

Remodeling your old kitchen can’t be done without giving your cabinets a makeover. The easiest way to do so is to paint them with a fresh coat of old paint or a new vibrant color. 

However, most people don’t have much time to keep their kitchen occupied with renovation work.

Hence the most frequently asked questions when painting the cabinets is how long it takes for the paint to completely dry? Or, how long before you can safely use your freshly painted kitchen cabinets? The answer isn’t as simple as you think.

The time period of paint drying on your kitchen cabinets depends on a lot of factors, such as:

  • The type of the paint you’re using
  • Whether you’re painting installed or uninstalled cabinets
  • The location of the cabinets, i.e., whether they are indoors or outdoors
  • The type of the cabinets
  • How humid or airy the room is
  • Do you have a fan running over the cabinets or not

In general, cabinet paint can take as long as 1-2 weeks to dry completely. This means that the paint has to be dry to the touch before you can use them again, and then the paint also has to cure after this time.

However, to make things simpler, here’s all you need to know about how much time it takes for paint to dry on your kitchen cabinets. 

The Time Between The Coats Of Paint

To speed up the process, most novice painters add a thick amount of paint.

However, a thicker layer will take more time to dry and look pretty shabby. 

It’s better to apply thin coats and wait for 2 to 3 hours between every coat to let the paint dry thoroughly.

To have an even layering and professional outcome, you will need around three to four layers of paint.

That’s roughly 8 hours of waiting time between the layers. 

Painting process

How Long Does The Whole Process Take

The drying time mainly depends on the paint as well as the environment.

However, if you need an estimate, it takes approximately 2 to 3 days for the kitchen cabinets to dry thoroughly.

But that’s not it. You can use the cabinets after two to three days, but remember the paint still needs to be cured.

If you are hard on your cabinets before the paint has been fully cured, you will damage the paint job. 

It takes 30 days or around a month for the paint to cure. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use your kitchen meanwhile.

You can, but you will need to be careful. If there are splashes of oil or water, make sure you clean them as soon as possible.

Avoid slamming or banging your cabinet doors, as that can damage or peel the paint. 

Apart from handling the cabinets delicately, you should also avoid harsh chemicals to clean the new paint before it’s hardened and cured.

So any stains you see can wait till the end of the month before you scrub and clean them. 

How To Speed Up The Drying Process?

Watching paint dry is the most tedious job ever. If you don’t have anything to occupy you while the paint dries and if that is making you anxious, we suggest utilizing a dehumidifier.

Humidity and moisture in the air make the paint dry slower. So, to speed up the process, you need to get rid of the moisture. A dehumidifier can get rid of the moisture in the air, making the paint dry faster.

Apart from that, you can also get a couple of pedestal fans to help paint dry faster. 

Drying vs. Curing

If you are remodeling your kitchen and painting your cabinets for the first time without any professional help, you need to understand the difference between drying and curing.

Drying happens when the solvent chemicals of the paint vaporize and diminish, while curing is when the paint hardens.

As the solvents evaporate, the paint gets to a point where you can easily touch it without messing it up or transferring it to your hand.

However, if it’s not cured, it will get damaged even if you slightly scratch it. Compared to that, if the paint is fully cured and hardened, it will not scratch easily. 

Drying takes less time. Curing takes around a month, you can’t use the kitchen cabinets while the paint dries, but you can use the cabinets while it cures.

However, you will still need to be careful until it’s fully hardened. 

Bottom Line for Cabinet Paint

We understand that there is nothing as boring as watching the paint dry, but if you want your cabinets to look great and professionally done, you will need to wait at least a couple of days before using them, if not longer if you’re able to.

Then, the curing process will take even longer, but you can use your cabinets during that time, so long as you’re careful with them.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.