How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry?

Last Updated on November 18, 2021 by Kimberly Crawford

Spray paints are becoming more popular nowadays because of their portability and extreme versatility. Canvas was its popular surface before but now, it can be practically used for wood, metal, cardboard, and even glass. Because of this versatility, more and more people are becoming engrossed with spray paint, even professional painters working on home improvement jobs. 

Compared to regular painting, how long does spray paint take to dry? The fast answer is in between 24-48 hours.

With that figure, is it still worth a shot? You will find that out in this post so read on. 

Related: How Much Does Sherwin Williams Paint Cost?

Factors affect the drying time of spray paint

When it comes to the factors affecting the drying time of spray paint, you are looking at five major factors and here is a list of all of them. 

  • Surface material: Different surfaces have different drying intervals. Smoother surfaces dry faster compared to rougher surfaces. Metal surfaces are the fastest to dry while wood surfaces take the longest to dry. 
  • Type of spray paint used: There are three types of spray paints: enamel, lacquer, and epoxy. The fastest spray paint to dry would be epoxy spray paint, followed by enamel, and the lacquer spray paint.  
  • Humidity and temperature: The best condition for spray painting would be low humidity. As for heat, it can be of help in easier drying. When spray painting in frosty conditions, you need to do it in a well-ventilated space and make sure that the spray paint tip is not frosted, or the paint consistency would be altered. 

Spray paints tend to create air bubbles when temperature is higher or lower than 50-90F. This messes up the consistency and color of the spray paint so we could say that this one is an important factor to really consider when you are on a spray-painting project. 

  • Dryness: There are four stages of spray paint drying and you need to know these so that you would know when to touch the surface and when you should not. 
  • Surface dry: This happens in the first 4hrs. This one is still quite sticky.
  • Touch dry: During this stage, you can now slightly touch the painted surface but too much pressure on it would smear the surface.
  • Hard dry: At this stage, it is already dry, but you cannot press your finger on it because it now easily takes on your fingerprint mark or any shape pressed onto it for that matter. 
  • Thorough dry: This is the last stage, and the surface has become entirely impenetrable.  
  • Thickness of the paint: When you spray the paint in a thick, concentrated manner, it would take more time to dry. But if you spray paint the surface in a smooth, light and even manner, it will take less time to dry. 

How long does spray paint take to dry?

spray paint


At best, spray paint on wood takes 3-5 hours to dry. The hardiness of the wood has an effect on its paint absorption rate. 


Metal surfaces are the fastest to dry. It usually just takes 20mins for spray paint to thoroughly dry on metal. 


It usually takes 20mins for the spray paint to get to hard dry and 2-3 hours for it to become thoroughly dry. 


Because of the material’s softer texture and more malleable nature, it would only take 15mins for spray paint to dry on cardboard. 


The good thing about glass is that you can spray as many coatings as you want in between a 15-minute interval for each. However, the drying time for the entire glass project would be 24 hours at least. 


Spray paint on fabric can be done in multiple coatings too and overall, it would dry after an hour. But for the paint to completely cure, you would need 72-hours max. After this you can clean excess paint with talcum powder. 


As a staple for painting art, spray paint on canvas can dry in more or less than 30mins. During warmer days, it would not even get to 30mins. 

Related: Can I Use Exterior Paint Inside The House?

Spray painting tips

To maximize the best out of your spray paint wherever you may spray them, here are some tips that you should never overlook. 

  • Ventilation: Make sure that you are only spraying outside and in a well ventilated, open space. You also must use protective masks when you use the spray paint. 
  • Shake it off: You must shake off the spray paint can before use. In between, you need to shake it again every minute. This is done for the chemical mix to be in balance and for you to get the right color and volume out of the spray paint. 
  • Adhesion and drying: The best temperature for adhesion and drying is at 68-85F. But the most ideal temp would be 75F and no humidity. 
  • Coating: As a rule of thumb, the spray paint must be coated on the surface all within an hour. If this is not met, you need to wait for another 48hrs before re-coating or else, the surface would just wrinkle out. 

How many coats of spray paint is needed?

Spray paints need at least 2 light coats for you to get the best coverage. Sometimes, even a third coat might be needed. The third coat, however, must be sparingly sprayed in all angles to make sure that everything is evenly painted. Long, light coats are recommended for spray paints rather than one, heavy coat per area. Make sure that everything is coated for exactly an hour. 

Related: How Many Coats Of Primer Do I Need?

How long should the primer be dried before spray painting?

spray paint on wood

The answer to this may vary depending on the brand of the primer used. But if you only had thin painting which is the typical application, primers can dry within an hour. It must be noted, however, that primers take longer to dry in humid conditions. 

Can I paint over spray paint? 

Yes, but you must make sure that the spray paint has cured entirely. This also requires you to sand the surface first before painting. A 100-grit sandpaper can do the job. After sanding, clean the surface with damp cloth and let it dry. After that, you may now paint your pre-spray-painted surface. 

How long does spray paint take to dry before taping?

Before taping, you must first know that it takes 24-48 hours for the coat’s base to dry before taping any part of the surface. After that, start taping, paint the desired surface, let dry and then take off the tape after 20mins. 

How long does spray paint take to dry before recoating?

Re-coating usually takes between 24-48 hours. This is the time interval needed to make sure that the spray paint has completely cured. The second and third coating may have shorter intervals. 

How long does spray paint take to dry outside?

It depends on the temperature and humidity. When it is 65-85F outside, recoating can take an interval of 5mins each. At this temperature, the surface can dry in 30mins. After 1-2 hours, you can start touching the surface. But overall, it takes 24-hours for the whole surface to be thoroughly dried. 

How long does spray paint take to dry before rain?

If the spray paint had at least six hours of sunlight before the rain, then you can be sure that it has already dried. If it rains before that span of time, expect the last layer of sprayed paint to wash off. In this case, you might have to spray paint again after the rain passes. 

How long does spray paint take to dry between coats?

How long does spray paint take to dry between coats

This one depends on the material you are spray painting. As we have said, two coats are the average. If you are using metal or glass, you just need 10-15mins of interval, plastic needs a 20-minute interval while fabrics need 30mins. 

How long does spray paint take to dry in cold weather?

If the temperature drops to 75F, it will take at least 4hrs for the surface to dry. If it drops more to 50F and lower, it could take six hours or more to dry. If your project is on a rush, you may need the help of a heater or hairdryer.

How long does it take for Rustoleum spray paint to dry?

This is one of the fastest spray paints to dry out. Reviews and testimonies establish that the longest drying time for Rustoleum spray paint is just 30mins. This is ensured as long as you spray paint in a low humidity location. 

How can you make spray paint dry faster?

If your painting job is time-constrained, you might need the spray paint to dry faster. Here are some tips that you should follow to get the job done faster. 

Apply thin layers of paint

As we have since established, thinner layers of spray paint or any paint for that matter, are easier to dry. This also means that you need to make sure that the paint is thoroughly dried first before recoating it. 

Run a heater

Get this, the warmer the place you do your spray painting in, the easier the paint would dry. If you are working indoors, say in a garage or a covered patio or in your own home studio, make sure that the heater is on. You can even use a hairdryer and run it evenly on the surface to speed up drying. 

Work on the humidity of the room

Make sure that the room has a balanced humidity. Run a dehumidifier in the room and keep all windows shut. If you are working on a moveable canvas, make sure that you are working in a less humid room. You can also check other dehumidifying tips to help you with this. Best open a fan to help you in good air circulation.

When should I use primer before spray painting? 

The rule of thumb is that, if your painting job requires you to put lighter colored paint on darker surfaces, you should apply primer on the surface. Some spray paints also come with a primer content so you might not need to apply primer anymore. 

How do I use spray paint to reach ‘hard to reach’ areas?

To be able to maximize the versatility and portability of spray paints, you must use a multi-direction spray paint nozzle. But if the furniture has manageable size and you can reposition it on your own, they just do the light lifting to get to those hard-to-reach areas. 

How do I prevent the nozzle of a spray paint from clogging?

The basic thing to do is to wipe off the spray paint’s nozzle every time you use it. Spray paint leakages can seep out every after use, accumulating at the tip and clogging the paint on your next use. Fortunately, spray paint manufacturers now have more improved packaging which entirely prevents spray paint nozzles from clogging. 

Best spray paint brands

With everything that we have covered so far, you might be curious about the best spray paint brands that you could choose from. If you want to know some of the best ones that you can score, here is a list of brand names that you should check out: 

  • Rustoleum
  • Montana Popular Colors
  • Loop Colors
  • Liquitex
  • Krylon
  • Tulip Color Shot
  • Dupli-color
  • Simply Spray


Spray paint is one of the best things that happened in the modern world. Its portability and versatility truly brought wonders on how we approach painting jobs. It is no longer just limited to painting art but also in making painting jobs easier for metal, wood, plastic, and even concrete surfaces. 

However, there are various considerations that should be put into mind. One of that would be knowing the drying time of spray paint or how to keep the drying time less when you are working on a limited timeframe. Overall, spray paints are always worth a shot. You have to try it and see it for yourself.