Whether you are a furniture painter or a purchaser of painted furniture you always hear about paint curing time. But… do you really know why paint has to cure and what that means? Do you know what happens during that elusive cure time and why it’s so important?
We all know that once paint is applied, it is always best to be “gentle” with the piece for about 30 days. I always knew this too, but never really knew why. I didn’t really understand what actually occurs during that time… until recently.
What Really Happens When Paint Cures
Most of the paints that we use today for walls, furniture and crafts are water based paints not oil based. When water based paint is mixed, one of the main ingredients is… tada… water.
Take Milk Paint for example; a paint that you mix yourself. The main ingredient in the mix is water.
After you apply paint to a piece of furniture or wall, the water in that mix will evaporate. As it evaporates, the other ingredients will begin to harden. The less water there is, the harder the paint will become.
Guess how long it takes for the water to evaporate for paint? Yep… 21 to 30 days.
If we used Milk Paint again as an example, as the water is evaporating, the Limestone in the mix is hardening. As the Limestone hardens, it will become as tough as nails and able to resist scratches and wear.
During that cure time, it truly is very important to be gentle. With the water working to evaporate, and the other ingredients working to harden, the paint is not “ready” for extended use yet. Once the water is gone, it will be hard and ready for everyday use.
Be Sure to Cure
The next time you paint a piece or buy a piece of painted furniture, remember how important it is to let the paint cure. If you can wait the full 30 days to really use the piece, you will notice a huge difference. The paint on your piece should be wonderful for you for years to come if it is allowed to cure properly.
And… if you are a furniture painter that sells your pieces, be sure to educate your clients. Let them know how important paint curing is if they purchase the piece before it is fully cured.