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How long does it take for paint to cure on cabinets?


Two of the most common questions asked by DIYers when it comes to painting jobs are how long does it take to cover the job and how long does it take for paint to cure on cabinets. These might seem to be answerable right away but honestly, it is more than just giving a number of hours. 

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How Long Does It Take For Paint To Cure On Cabinets? 

This question has generated a lot of answers from various perspectives. Some say that it depends on the type of paint used. Some would argue that leaving the paint for 24-48 hours is a sufficient curing time. 

As per the rule of thumb, the normal curing time for paint on cabinets takes 3-4 weeks. Newbies commonly mistake drying for curing. You have to remember that curing only happens after the paint has completely dried up. 

Is There A Difference In The Curing Time Of Different Types Of Paint? 

Yes. For your reference, here is a list of the most common types of paint used for cabinets alongside their curing time:

  • Water-based latex: 3-4 weeks
  • Oil-based paints: one week
  • Chalk and milk paint: 3-4 weeks

What Happens When The Paint On Cabinets Has Already Been Cured?

Generally, as in all painting jobs, after the paint has cured, the painted surface becomes less vulnerable to chipping off or scratches. This is the reason why you should give your painted cabinets enough time to really cure if you want to have a painting job that lasts. 

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How Do I Know If The Paint Has Already Cured In My Cabinet?

Another rule of thumb when it comes to painting jobs is never rush. Just because the painted surface is no longer tacky would mean that the paint is done curing.

The best test to know if the paint has already cured is to press a finger on a small part of the cabinet door or in an inconspicuous area. 

If no finger dent appears, the cabinet paint is done curing. If it leaves even a tiny mark, leave it be and let it cure some more. 

Can You Begin Using Cabinets Before They Are Completely Cured? 

Fortunately, yes. Just make sure that you are careful enough before the timeframe of the curing process. This also entails that you should not use detergent or chemicals to clean your cabinets during this time. Also, make sure that the wet surface is dried immediately. Lastly, refrain from slamming or banging your cabinets during the curing period. 

Can You Speed Up The Curing Time Of The Paint On Cabinets?

Yes. To speed up the curing time, you have to adjust the humidity of the area. It is said that the lesser the humidity level, the faster the curing time of the paint. Using a humidifier can also help in excessing moisture in the area. This also helps to speed up the curing time for paints. 

Aside from these, you can also employ the following tips:

  • Instead of a humidifier, you can use a hairdryer for localized heat. 
  • Detach the cabinets and paint them outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. 
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Why Is It Important To Know The Curing Time For Paint On Cabinets? 

You have to understand that cabinets are special cases. They are usually located in the damp and moist areas of the home such as in kitchens and the bathroom.

The effect of moisture on paint is well-established: it becomes chippy or bubbly. This is the reason why you must be aware of the curing time for paint on cabinets. 

Can I Seal My Cabinets While The Paints Cure?

No. First of all, it is not required that you seal your cabinets after painting. This is only done to give it a glossy finish. But if you intend to, sealing your newly painted cabinets should be done after the curing process is complete. 

Can I Recoat My Cabinet While Still In The Curing Process?

No. Applying a new coat to your cabinet when it is not done curing yet results in uneven paint tones, peeling, and streaks on the surface.

For practical purposes, it is also better if you let the paint fully cure first. This way, you could see where you already applied the new coat since the freshly coated surface becomes brighter in tone. 

Read more:

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Final Thoughts

The major thing to consider when wanting to know how long it takes for paint to cure on cabinets is to differentiate drying from curing first.

These are two separate processes. You should know that the curing process only happens after the surface has completely dried. The type of paint used is also essential in knowing the curing time of the paint. 

The bottom line is, that curing is an essential part of a quality painting job. Skipping it or being unmindful about it yields chipping and peeling cabinet paints.