I'm painting the woodwork in my house, and I am hoping to apply gloss undercoat one week, and then apply two coats of gloss top coat the next week. I'm aware that I have a limited period of time to apply the second layer of top coat after the first (presumably so that the paint is still tacky so that the second coat bonds), however I am unsure whether a similar time window exists after applying the gloss undercoat.

So basically, is it ok to leave gloss undercoat for about 5 or 6 days before applying the topcoat?

The paints I am using are:

2 Answers 2


Yes, it's okay to wait 5-6 days before applying the top coat. The only consideration would be the settling of airborne particles on the surface during the intervening time period (ie. such that may occur because of nearby construction or cooking within the home and/or the use of fans which may stir up a significant amount of dust).

Note, per the spec sheets of the products you are using, there is a minimum amount of drying time between coats; not a maximum amount of time.

  • 1
    Some paints also have a maximum time, this is when the base coat is so far along in the curing process that the next coat can no longer get a chemical bond, and needs to rely on mechanical linking via scuff-sanding and "tooth". However I only expect to find that in 2-part coatings, i.e. Base-and-converter epoxies and LPUs. Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 19:50
  • James - is it also the case that I can wait for a prolonged period of time between gloss top coats as well? I was under the impression that there was a maximum amount of time after which I would need to sand a gloss top coat for the second coat to bond. Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 13:48
  • @Mike Whitby I don't recall ever delaying between the two top coats by more than a day or two. I do recall finding (after about a week) brush marks and a couple of dried "drips" that I had to fix, after the 2nd top coat, but I don't know if others would find wholesale, deliberate delay asking for a problem. I would think, but don't know for sure, curing of the 1st coat could result in a situation similar to painting over any high-gloss, oil-based surface years later....something to be avoided. Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 0:30
  • @JamesOlson Cheers! Out of interest, regarding those brush marks - how did you fix that? I have the same issue, did you sand the affected area and paint over it? Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 17:44
  • @ Mike Whitby, re: brush marks, w/ a small area, a finishing sanding sponge (or 220+ grit paper) works well to smooth & roughen for re-coating; w/ a larger area I might prep & use low nap roller. I have skipped sanding & it worked ok. Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 20:45

It is certainly OK. I have done this numerous times before (although I personally prefer SatinWood to gloss as it's not so shiny).

To be safe (especially if you've undertaken other work in the room - new plaster, new carpet, woodwork of any kind), I would give the surface a quick wipe with slightly damp rag to remove any dust or dirt before applying the gloss.

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