Hardener For Paint: What Is It and How It Works

Randy Charles
Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as...Read more

When I started painting about five years ago, I didn’t know the paint needed activation. It was frustrating to strip my entire JD custom paint to bare metal and start from scratch. So, every avid painter needs to understand the importance of a paint hardener.

Hardener for paint helps increase the resilience of mixtures and cure components. Many professional painters use it during the mixing process. The product makes the paint dry faster and last for an extended period without chipping.

Before using them on your next project, you need to know a thing or two about paint hardeners. The information will also help you understand the uses and types of paints that need a hardener. Take the time to read through and learn to harden paint quickly.

Key Takeaways:

  • Paint hardeners reduce the paint drying time.
  • The hardener contains salt crystals for enhancing faster liquid paint solidification.
  • All hardeners are compatible with acrylic paints.
  • Paint hardener ingredients can cause eye irritation and lung inflammation.

Hardener For Paint: What Is It?

A paint hardener is also an accelerator since it helps speed up the chemical reaction during the paint mixing process. The compound helps cure the paint in the project by increasing the resilience of the mixtures.

Hardener for paint contains salt crystals that help solidify liquid latex before disposal. These ingredients also enable the paint epoxy resin to attain impressive chemical and mechanical properties.

Hardener For Paint

These paint hardeners are eco-friendly and crucial in paint management solutions. They also help turn liquid paint solid for curbside disposal to enhance waste management.

Paint hardeners also contain certain ingredients that irritate the eyes and cause lung inflammation. We recommend exercising safety precautions when dealing with paint hardeners.

Can You Add Hardener to Any Paint?

Most hardeners contain crystallized salts that absorb moisture and turn paint into a rubbery substance for safe disposal. But many people use it to increase the resilience of mixtures and cure components.

So, can you add a hardener to any paint? Yes. Hardeners should be added to all coats in single-stage paint. Most paint hardeners are suitable for some base coat or clear coat products to bring out impressive mechanical and chemical properties.

Hardeners work well in water-based paints by enhancing faster evaporation and better drying. But it is compatible with oil-based paints. Enamel paints do not need hardeners unless you are painting automobile parts.

Acrylic enamel paint can dry without adding a hardener if given time. Many prefer adding an activator to acrylic enamel paint to increase the mixture’s resilience and cure components.

White Paint With Girl

Understanding how to use hardeners for paint will help eliminate some caveats since not all types of paints require hardeners. Always take the time to read instructions that come with paints before adding hardeners to get satisfying results.

Different paint brands require specific activators or hardeners. Otherwise, you may risk destroying your painting project in the long run. The activator helps cure and harden the base coat to prevent bubbling or fading due to weather effects.

A hardener for two-component types is required when the coating crosses the link between them to enhance the curing and hardening process. Beware that most paint hardeners have a one-year pot life after adding to the paint.

What Is Hardener Used For In Paint?

A hardener is used for curing components by increasing the resilience of the mixtures since it is a catalyst or reactant in a chemical reaction during the mixing process.

Sodium polyacrylate is an ingredient in the hardener that absorbs moisture and turns the liquid paint solid faster. Adding this compound to paint is ideal during cold weather since it enhances a faster drying rate.

You can skip a hardener during warm weather since the paint will dry if given time. But if you want to make your project shiny and paint robust, I recommend adding a hardener. Follow the mixing guidelines to get better results.

A paint hardener works with all coats in single-stage paint, and it is a perfect option for a base coat or clear coat product. But acrylic enamel coatings require hardeners in all paints for resilience and curing purposes.

An incorrect mixing ratio will result in surface imperfections during the application and curing. Environmental conditions will make the paint chip and crack distort the surface appearance.

Most water-based paint brands work well with hardeners or activators. The polymerization reaction enhances the faster evaporation and drying process. The oil-based paints will still take time to dry despite adding an activator.

The paint hardener can also solidify leftover paints for curbside disposal, and it is an ideal waste management solution for liquid paints. Disposing of liquid paints causes environmental hazards to society.

How Do You Harden Paint Quickly?

Water-based paints dry faster than oil-based counterparts under the same conditions. Adding a hardener to the paint helps speed up the drying process. Below are quick tips for hardening paint faster on your projects:

Use the AC Unit or Furnace

A warm and humid environment makes the paint not dry faster. I recommend turning on the air conditioner to absorb the heat and humidity from the room.

Cool, dry air will help speed up the drying process. A furnace is an excellent option during winter since it helps remove humidity from the paint to dry faster.

Switch on a Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier helps absorb moisture from the air and circulate cool, dry air in the painted room to speed up the drying process. It is the perfect choice for making latex paints dry faster.

Use a Fan

Paint makes the indoor space experience a higher humidity level. Running a fan will make the paint dry faster since it circulates dry and moist air in the same room. Beware that the option might take a little bit longer than other methods.

Open Windows

Paint usually increases humidity around the project. If the painted projects are indoors, open the window to enhance dry airflow and a faster drying process.

Ensure the outside humidity is lower than the indoor counterpart. Otherwise, opening the window when the outside humidity is high will not help and might even hurt the drying process.

Use Paint Hardener

Get a reputable paint hardening product and mix it with your remaining paint brand. It will thicken up faster and prevent it from spilling. It also cures components and increases its resilience.


Mixing clay-based cat litter with paint will help absorb moisture and dry faster. It is the most reliable and effective method for disposal curbside.


A hardener for paint helps increase the resilience of mixtures and cure components. It usually acts as a catalyst in a chemical reaction during the mixing process.

The hardener contains salt crystals that absorb moisture to enhance the drying process faster. It also turns to paint into a rubbery substance for disposable curbside.

Every painter must understand the correct paint and hardener mixing ratio to get impressive chemical and mechanical properties.

See AlsoHow to Sketch on Canvas Before Painting?

Randy Charles
Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as a painter earlier in my professional career. There is simply nothing about painting that I didn’t do as a painter. From painting a fridge to a multi-storied building, I left nothing. I retired from my painting job in the mid of 2018 due to back arthritis problems.

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