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Why do some water-based paints dry quicker than others?

With a big shift away from solvent-based paints towards sustainable water-based products, you may have noticed some water-based paints dry quicker than others.

In this blog, we’ll look at the reason for this, to help you find the right paint for your next project:

 What is water-based paint?

A water-based paint uses water as the liquifying agent, instead of chemical solvents.

Benefits of water-based paints

Low VOC levels comply with regulations

One of the biggest advantages of water-based paints is their low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) levels, which complies with stringent regulations.

Many industry leaders are switching to water-based products, as they are less likely to exceed VOC limits or receive substantial fines.


Unlike solvent-based products, water-based paints are environmentally friendly. They do not generate hazardous waste, which is not only better for the environment, but will also translate into cost savings by reducing your disposal fees.


Safety is paramount. Water-based products are low odour and non-toxic, so they are safer and promote a healthier work environment. They are also less flammable when working in confined spaces than solvent-based products, increasing safety throughout the application process.

Easy to use

With some water-based products you don’t need to use additives, hardeners or thinners, which helps to save time and reduce costs.

Quick clean up

Cleaning up is quick and hassle free. There is no need to use solvents, simply clean your tools and equipment effectively with water. This reaffirms water-based paints as a convenient and sustainable option for a wide range of applications.

Can water-based paints vary?

In short, the answer is yes. Although classified as water-based, different water-based products can use different levels of solvents. The higher the solvent level, the quicker the drying time.

There are water-based paints on the market with a fast drying time, some can be touch dry in literally a matter of minutes, but caution needs to be taken with these, as the high solvent levels mean the health and environmental benefits that come with water-based solutions are compromised.

Our Hesse products have less than 3% solvent so our drying times are longer, but are genuinely water-based and offer a trusted sustainable solution.

Considerations when using water-based paints

Until recently, solvent-based products have been widely considered to out-perform water-based solutions. When initially launched, water-based paints took much longer to dry than solvent-based paints, especially in high humidity and lower temperatures. But as technology has advanced, this discrepancy is closing and there are now plenty of high performing water-based options available.

While solvent-based gloss finishes offer a higher sheen, it’s important to note that water-based paints keep their sheen better throughout their lifetime.

Although the prices might be more expensive, water-based paints are an eco-friendly option and definitely worth investing in.

Redwood recommends:

We highly recommend the Hesse water-based wood coating systems from both the COOL and PERFECT ranges.

The COOL family of products boasts an efficient, single component formulation tailored for interior fittings, allowing for fast drying times and an application ‘straight from the pot’. This design not only streamlines the finishing process, but also increases the productivity and output in the workshop. Notably, these coatings are classified under the Decopaint Category – I, ensuring they are free from harmful solvents and environmentally conscious.

On the other hand, the PERFECT family delivers durability that rivals solvent-based coatings. These dual-component water-based polyurethane finishes are engineered for the most demanding applications, making them perfect for areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Their superior mechanical and chemical resistance provide unmatched surface protection, ensuring longevity and maintaining the pristine quality of all interior fittings.

The combination of environmental responsibility and robust performance makes these Hesse ranges a top choice for any woodworking professional.

For sustainable water-based paints, that make a difference, contact our expert team on 023 9223 3310 or email