How long is Sure Step drying time?
Jennifer Price asked:
I applied Sure Step on a cloudy day at about 60 degrees. An hour later, it still wasn’t dry. 4 hours later it was finally dry. I cannot afford to wait that long on a normal basis due to the possibility of rain in my area. Are there any drying time estimates or recommendations for minimum temperature and humidity before applying Sure Step?
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The drying time for Sure Step varies considerably due to ambient temperature and humidity. To give you an idea of what’s going on chemically: First the various molecules are held in suspension, in the jar, by various solvents, including water. (Chemists consider water a solvent.)When the solvents evaporate, the molecules begin to form into a matrix polymer and bond to each other and to the substrate (gelcoat). As this occurs, a haze begins to form. If the haze is left on too long, the molecules bond to the surface haze as well, making it difficult to remove.
It’s not necessary for the Sure Step to be completely dry on the surface, but you need to allow enough time for it to begin to bond to the surface and form its polymeric matrix. Of course very high humidly will slow the process as will low temperature. On the other hand, very low humidity and high temperature, will cause it to dry and cure too rapidly, forcing you to work in small areas so that you will be able to remove the haze and buff it to a shine.
When you see the haze start to form that’s an indication that the Sure Step is starting to bond to the gelcoat. Unless you have low humidity and high temperature, where you’re forced to remove the haze and buff more quickly, allow at least 15 to 20 minutes for the bonding to begin. You can then wipe the surface with a microfiber cloth to remove the excess solvents that have migrated to the surface. This will allow the remaining solvents to evaporate more rapidly.
It’s important for the surface to be fairly dry, otherwise buffing will be difficult. The surface solvents will gum up the buffing wheel, making buffing impossible. Like trying to buff something with a wet rag. It’s just not going to work.
Ideal temperature for applying Sure Step is 70°F to 85°F and ideal humidity is around 50% but since few of us live in ideal conditions or for that matter have control over the weather, we just have to make do. I would try to avoid temperatures below 60°F or above 95°F and humidity below 35% or above 90%. Yet, many customers have had good success applying Sure Step, even in those extremes.
Thanks for your question,