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How Long Does Epoxy Paint Take to Dry?

A paint roller is dipped in a paint tray with white paint.

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If you are considering refinishing your garage or basement floor, epoxy paint is the best choice for sealing, protecting and adding a fresh face to concrete. However, once the epoxy paint has been applied, there is a specific amount of time required for it to dry. 

How long does it take epoxy paint to dry? The answer is more complicated than you may think, as the application process has multiple steps.

What Is Epoxy Paint?

Epoxies were originally developed for the dental industry but soon found usefulness in many applications, including adhesives and coatings. Epoxy coatings are a mixture of resins and hardeners that are combined on the job and must be allowed to cure through a chemical reaction before they can be used. This can be a tricky process, and if not handled correctly, the product can harden before you have finished applying it.

How To Apply 2‑Part Epoxy Paint

Surface preparation requires a clean dry floor, the same as 1‑part epoxy paint. However, the 2‑part epoxy process involves mixing chemicals, which may be uncomfortable for some people. There are some disadvantages when using standard epoxy coatings:

  • As the epoxy is curing, it gives off powerful and harmful vapors. Asthma sufferers especially could be adversely affected, but all users should wear proper protection. 

  • There is a short open time, so you don’t have a lot of time to work with the product before it sets and can no longer be brushed.

  • The curing time could be as long as 72 hours, depending on the size of the room.

  • Epoxy is non-porous, which means your floors can become extremely slippery when wet.

1‑Part Epoxy Paint by DRYLOK® Simplifies the Process

Epoxy Floor Paint for Concrete - DRYLOK® e1 Latex 1 Part

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1‑part epoxy paint combines the strength of epoxy with the simplicity of latex acrylic paint.

Epoxy paint is fundamentally a latex acrylic paint with a small amount of epoxy added, making it one of the strongest paints available. It produces a tough, durable finish that resists corrosion and chemical damage, which is why it is popular as a garage and basement floor finish. It can also be tinted to produce various colors. Like regular paint, epoxy paint dries rather than cures, making it easier to apply.

Another advantage of epoxy paint is that it adheres better to concrete. This means it is more durable than regular latex paint under conditions of heat, high traffic and possible chemical exposure.

Three Steps to Great Epoxy Results

1. Clean and Dry Surface to Be Painted

Three people wearing yellow safety vests are cleaning the floor using a hose and two mops.

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Clear the garage or basement floor of all objects, dirt and dust before you get started. Make sure the surface is clean and completely dry. Patch any damaged areas with a masonry crack filler and allow time for the repaired area to dry. If there are areas stained with grease or oil, use a degreaser to remove as much as possible before starting to ensure that the epoxy paint adheres properly. 

A power washer may be helpful for this task. If you are using one, a pressure setting below 1,750 psi is recommended to avoid damaging the concrete or forcing water into the pores.

Make sure the concrete is completely dry before painting. If you are unsure, tape a small piece of clear plastic to the floor and leave it overnight. If there is moisture showing on the underside the next day, the concrete hasn’t finished drying.

2. Prepare Cleaned Surface With Etching Solution

Before applying DRYLOK® E1 Latex 1‑Part Epoxy, the surface needs to be properly prepared. DRYLOK® Etch, available in a powdered or liquid form, is an etching solution that prepares concrete to accept a coating of epoxy, allowing it to adhere better to the surface. The surface should feel rough when ready for painting. If still smooth, etch the surface again until you achieve the desired results. 

Once completed, allow the surface to dry for at least 24 hours. Remember to not etch previous epoxied surfaces, and previously painted surfaces need the glossy finish sanded off before etching.

3. Apply Epoxy After Etching Solution Has Set

Make sure the air temperature is 50℉ or higher before starting. For best results, schedule the task for a day without rain in the forecast. Here are some more tips to ensure correct application:

  • Do not thin the product.

  • Use a ⅜” nap roller to apply the epoxy.

  • Do not apply in direct sunlight or on a hot surface.

  • Wait three hours before applying the second coat (high humidity or low air temperatures can extend the drying time).

  • Only two coats are needed.

For additional safety, you can use DRYLOK® Non-Skid Texture Additive in the epoxy paint to reduce the chance of slipping.

How Long Does Epoxy Paint Take to Dry and Cure?

A gray garage floor and a white garage door are shown in this image.

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Depending upon the weather, regular epoxy coatings can take up to three days to fully cure for foot traffic, but DRYLOK® E1 Latex Epoxy paint is ready for heavy foot traffic in 24 hours. You should wait three to five days before setting heavy machinery on the finish, and five to seven days of dry time are recommended before driving on it.

What Are the Best Conditions to Apply and Let Epoxy Paint Dry?

The drying time for any paint will be affected by the temperature and relative humidity in the air. Cold and high humidity can extend drying times to almost twice their normal period.

Regular epoxy should be applied when temperatures are between 75 – 85℉ and humidity is around 50%. DRYLOK® E1 can be applied at temperatures as low as 50℉. The temperature should stay in the safe area for at least five hours after application. 

DRYLOK® E1 Latex Epoxy Paint For A Showroom Finish

DRYLOK® is the most recognized name in waterproofing and sealants in the United States. Our E1 latex acrylic paint uses advanced epoxy ester resin for superior floor protection. This is important for our customers that need the beauty of an epoxy finish without the headache and fumes that are part of using a 2‑part epoxy coating.

If you want a professional floor covering, but don’t require the extra protection of epoxy, consider using our Latex Concrete Floor Paint. Contact us today for more information on our complete line of waterproofers and sealants and where to purchase them.