Why Is My Interior/Exterior Semi-Gloss Sticky?

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Your paint can remain sticky.
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It takes time for paint to completely dry so that you can touch the surface, hang pictures or even apply a new coat. If you are painting with an interior or exterior semi-gloss paint, you might find that it is staying sticky longer than you had anticipated. Several reasons might explain the phenomena.

Wait Longer

Perhaps you have not given the paint enough time to dry. Even quick-dry semi-gloss paint can take a long time to dry completely. Simply give it some time. If you think more than enough time has passed and it is still sticky, move on to other potential causes.

Latex Issues

Latex paints are popular for many applications, but they are also known for their inability to dry completely in a reasonable amount of time. This is compounded under certain conditions. Semi-gloss and gloss-style latex paints remain tacky for a long time, especially in outdoor use. It might require additional time and dry conditions for the paint to lose its sticky feel.

Between the Coats

Some paint requires significant cure times between coats. If your semi-gloss paint is taking an extraordinarily long time to dry, you might not have let enough time pass between coats. This could make the paint remain sticky for a long time. Eventually it should dry out. Ensure that you allow complete drying before going back over the same surface.

Primer Reaction

Sometimes the finish coat, your semi gloss paint, could react with certain primers. This varies depending on the particular paint and primer. But this reaction may cause the paint to become sticky and remain that way.

Weather Factors

Humidity and temperature play a major role in exterior paint dry times. If it is rainy or hot and humid, the semi-gloss paint will take much longer to dry and might remain sticky until the weather conditions allow the paint to dry out completely. The same can be true of some paints when the temperatures are below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hot Thinner

Use lacquer thinner, known as a "hot" thinner, to thin out your semi gloss paint when painting metal objects. A small amount of this additive with your paint will help the paint dry more quickly and it will evaporate without affecting the finished look of your surface.

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Lee Morgan

Lee Morgan is a fiction writer and journalist. His writing has appeared for more than 15 years in many news publications including the "Tennesseean," the "Tampa Tribune," "West Hawaii Today," the "Honolulu Star Bulletin" and the "Dickson Herald," where he was sports editor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Middle Tennessee State University.