Dry vs. Cure: Understanding the Difference in Coatings and Finishes

 

Toy Car Wheels Finished With Fully Cured Shellac and Ready To Be Mounted
Toy Car Wheels Finished With Fully Cured Shellac and Ready To Be Mounted 

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Dry and cure are two terms commonly used in the context of coatings and finishes. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they refer to two different processes.

Dry refers to the point at which a coating or finish no longer feels tacky or sticky to the touch. When a finish is dry, the solvents or water in the coating have evaporated, leaving behind a film on the surface. However, just because a finish is dry does not necessarily mean it has cured.

Cure refers to the process by which a coating or finish reaches its maximum hardness and durability. This process can take longer than simply drying, involving chemical reactions between the molecules in the coating or finish. During curing, the finish may change color or texture as it hardens and becomes more durable.

Generally, the time it takes for a coating or finish to dry is much shorter than the time it takes to cure. While a finish may feel dry to the touch within a few hours, it may take several days or weeks to cure fully. It is essential to follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding drying and curing times to ensure that the finish reaches its maximum hardness and durability.

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