A bathroom is one of the most valuable rooms any homeowner can invest in. As a result, you’re probably always looking for ways to make it more comfortable, convenient, and cozy. So, painting your bathroom is one way to add tremendous value for the lowest cost.
But, one question that may come up is how long after you paint a bathroom can you shower? The answer depends on the quality and type of paint used.
As a general rule of thumb, you should wait 24 hours for the paint to dry and 3-5 days for the paint to cure before showering in a newly painted bathroom.
But this is just the average! Read on to learn more about the differences between dry time and cure time, plus factors that affect that and how you can determine how long you actually have to wait.
What Happens If You Shower in a Newly Painted Bathroom?
If you just had your bathroom painted and you’re itching to take a shower, the main thing you need to worry about is paint chips. When the paint is still drying, it’s susceptible to chipping or flaking off if it gets wet. Water from a shower will cause these problems.
Another issue you may run into is water drip marks. This happens when water droplets from your shower fall on the paint and leave behind a watermark. Likewise, as the water evaporates, it can leave behind a white mark.
Finally, surfactant leaching may occur if you shower too soon in a newly painted bathroom. Surfactants can cause the paint to become sticky, runny, and uneven.
The Difference Between Dry Time and Cure Time
The terms “dry time” and “cure time” are often confused. Dry time is the amount of time it takes for the paint to become touchable or dry to the touch.
Cure time is the amount of time it takes for the paint to reach its full hardness. It’s important to note that even though the paint may be dry to the touch, it may not be cured.
This is why (in addition to dry time) you need to wait the full cure time before showering in a newly painted bathroom.
Factors That Affect Dry Time and Cure Time
Type of Paint (Latex, Oil-Based, and Enamel)
In general, latex paint has a shorter dry time (about 1-6 hours) and cure time (about 21 days) than oil-based paint (which has a dry time of 6-24 hours and a cure time of 30 days).
Enamel paint usually falls somewhere in the middle, with a dry time of about 8 hours and a cure time of 7 days. But, again, check your specific paint choice, as these are just averages.
Brand of Paint
Different paint brands will have different dry and cure times. Be sure to check the label on the paint can for more specific information.
Color of the Paint
Lighter paint colors usually have shorter dry and cure times than darker ones.
Kind of Primer Used
If you use a primer, that will also affect the dry and cure times.
Number of Coats Applied
If you apply multiple coats, that will also lengthen the dry and cure times.
Temperature and Humidity
If it’s humid or cold outside, that will lengthen the dry and cure times.
As a general rule of thumb, you should wait 24 hours for the paint to dry and 3-5 days for the paint to cure before showering in a newly painted bathroom. Of course, whichever paint you end up using, it is best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Common Bathroom Paint Types Used and Average Dry + Cure Time
Latex paint is the most common type of paint used for painting bathrooms. It’s easy to work with, quick-drying, and has a low odor. The average dry time is about 1-6 hours, and the average cure time is about 21 days.
Oil-based paint takes longer to dry than latex paint. Still, it’s more durable and provides higher protection against moisture. An oil-based paint’s average dry time is about 6-24 hours, and cure time is about 30 days.
Enamel paint is oil-based paint that dries to a hard, smooth finish. It’s often used for painting cabinets, trim, and doors. The average dry time is about 8 hours, and the average cure time is 7 days for enamel paint.
As we’ve previously mentioned, check your specific paint choice; these are just averages.
How to Make Paint Dry and Cure Faster
If you’re in a hurry to get your newly painted bathroom back into working order, you can do a few things to speed up the process.
- Increase the temperature in the room to 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmer temperature will help evaporate the solvents in the paint, which will speed up the drying process.
- Open any windows and doors to increase air circulation.
- Turn on any fans or dehumidifiers to help with the airflow. Dehumidifiers help remove moisture from the air, which will also help evaporate the solvents in the paint.
- If you’re using latex paint, you can add a paint drying accelerator to speed up the process. If you don’t know, a paint drying accelerator is a substance you add to the paint that helps it dry faster.
How to Check If You Can Shower in Your Newly Painted Bathroom
There are several ways to tell if your newly painted bathroom is ready for a shower.
- One way is to touch the paint. If it feels dry and smooth to the touch, then it’s probably ready.
- Another way is to lightly press a piece of tape on the wall. If the paint comes off with the tape, it’s not ready yet.
If you’re unsure, you can always wait the full 24 hours (for latex paint) or 48 hours (for oil-based paint) just to be safe.
It’s important to wait the appropriate amount of time before showering in a newly painted bathroom. The type of paint, the brand of paint, the color of the paint, and other factors can affect the dry time and cure time.
As a general rule of thumb, you should wait 24 hours for the paint to dry and 3-5 days for the paint to cure before showering. You can check if the paint is dry and cured by touching it or lightly pressing a piece of tape on the wall. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to wait the full time just to be safe.