Latex Paint Not Drying: The What and the How!



Being a DIY enthusiast I always loved painting my walls. But when I started a painting project last winter I noticed that my latex paint wasn’t drying properly. And it got me wondering, why is my latex paint not drying.

So I did my research and here’s what I found.

Latex paint may not dry properly for a number of reasons. Such as, using low quality or no primer at all, not applying even coats of paint, or if the air is too cold, hot, or humid.

But all of these factors can be easily tackled to get a smooth, evenly dried down painting surface. We noted down all the factors that you can look out for and the steps that you can follow to make sure that your latex paint is dried properly.

So, if you want to know how to make sure that your latex paint dries down properly and evenly then keep on reading.

Let’s get started.

Why your latex paint is not drying

 Not having your paint dry properly can be a bummer. Your latex paint may not dry for a number of reasons. Here are a few that you can keep in mind before starting your next painting project.

1. Using a low-quality primer or no primer:


It is very crucial for you to prime your walls properly before painting it. If not, you will face a lot of different problems and issues. Such as your walls not drying properly. This is why it is crucial for you to use a high-quality primer before painting your walls for the paint to dry properly.

2. Not applying coats properly:


Not applying second coats of paint properly is another reason for your latex paint not drying. Before applying a second coat you need to make sure that the base coat is dried properly and you’re putting on paint in thin and even layers.

3. Unfavorable environment:


An unfavorable painting environment could be another leading reason behind your latex paint not drying. If the surrounding air is too hot or cold or if the humidity in the air is too high then your paint won’t dry properly. This phenomenon is also known as blocking.3


What to do to make your latex paint dry properly

 Now that you know what causes your latex paint to not dry properly, the next step is for you to know how to make sure that your latex paint dries properly.

We noted down a few pointers that you can follow to achieve that goal. By following these instructions you don’t ever need to worry about your latex paint not drying properly.


1. Weather condition


Unsuitable weather conditions are one of the main reasons behind your latex paint not drying properly. So you can avoid tacky walls by painting your home when the weather is not too hot or cold or the humidity isn’t too high.

Which is why it is always smart to check the weather before starting your painting project. It is wise to not paint your walls when it’s about to rain, or it’s too hot or humid. Or your paint won’t dry properly.


2. Prepare work surface


A good base is key to a polished finish. By ensuring a clean, smooth working surface you get an evenly applied, properly dried, smooth paint finish.

Before starting, clean your walls properly to get rid of any dirt, debris, molds, or any flaking paint. Then if there are any holes or cracks fill it up using a filler. You can sand down any patches to get a smooth finish. Having a smooth wall to work on always ensures an evenly dried down wall paint.

3. Use high-quality primer


Using a primer is an important part of painting your walls. And not just any primer, a high-quality primer should be your choice.

Primers help your paint to stick to the wall better and avoids the need for layering paint to get your desired coverage.

It also helps to hide drywall seams or joints. Not using a primer often causes your wall paint to not dry properly. So you should always prime your walls to make sure your latex paint dries properly.

4. Give each coat time to dry properly


We all can be a little impatient while working but you need to maintain your patience for painting. It is crucial that you let your first coat of paint dry down properly before going in for the second layer.

Your first coat of paint might take around seven to eight hours for it to dry down completely depending on the quality of your paint.

The humidity and air also play a role in the time needed for the paint to dry down. It is better to wait for a few hours before going in to paint new layers.



What to do if your paint is tacky


Let’s say if you don’t follow any of the steps mentioned above and end up getting a tacky paint surface that isn’t drying down, what will you do?

Talcum Powder: A Quick Solution


You can use talcum powder to dry down the surface. But you need to be careful about it. Start off from a corner as a patch test. Or the powder might leave a permanent powdery spot on your wall if it doesn’t react well with the paint.

If it works out then you can evenly spread a thin layer of talcum powder all over the wall for it to dry down. Then you can dust it off after the paint dries down.

You can also let it be and not do anything. It might take some time but over the span of a few weeks or months, the paint will dry down.

If you don’t want to wait that long but also don’t want to use powder then you can use a dryer to dry down the wall. The hot air from the dryer will cause the humidity to evaporate from the paint.



The consequence of not having your latex paint dry down properly could last for days, weeks, or even months. So it’s always wise to know the reasons behind it and what to do to avoid it.

We hope we were able to provide more clarity on this issue and help you understand why your latex paint isn’t drying properly. If you keep our above-mentioned instructions in mind you will never face problems with your latex paint not drying.

Thank you for being patient and staying with us till the end.

Good Luck!

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