How to Dry Paint When It Is Still Tacky

Written by kathryn hatter
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How to Dry Paint When It Is Still Tacky
Paint that stays tacky is an easy fix. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Watching paint dry is not exciting or spellbinding entertainment. The drama begins if your paint won't dry, though. Professionals call paint that won't dry "blocking." Blocking can present a variety of problems as you wait for it to set. Sticky or tacky paint that dents when you press on it will soon show damage. The best course of action is to apply paint carefully so it dries properly. Remedy a tacky paint problem to save your paint job.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Automobile wax
  • Damp sponge
  • Talcum powder
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Paintbrush
  • Latex primer
  • Oil-based paint

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  1. 1

    Place a small amount of automobile wax onto the damp sponge. Apply the auto wax over the area with tacky paint, covering it lightly and evenly with the wax. Allow the wax to dry thoroughly and the tacky paint surface should feel less sticky to the touch. You may need to apply additional layers of wax if the tackiness returns.

  2. 2

    Dust a light layer of talcum powder over the sticky paint area. Keep the talcum powder light over the paint and it will reduce the tacky feel of the paint. Talcum powder can be especially effective if the tacky paint is on a door where two painted surfaces touch each other.

  3. 3

    Sand the sticky paint surface with fine sandpaper and wipe the surfaces well with the tack cloth to remove paint dust. Repaint the surface with latex primer and then add two coats of either an oil-based paint or a high quality gloss or semigloss latex. Inferior quality latex paints may remain tacky -- oil-based and high quality latex paints resist blocking. Allow ample drying time between coats of primer and paint.

Tips and warnings

  • Reasons for blocking include insufficient drying time between paint layers, using low-quality paint products or applying paint under the wrong weather conditions.

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