How long does it Take for Spray Paint to Dry? The Ultimate Spray Painting Guide


Spray paint is paint in a pressurized container. Paint is dispensed from the container through a valve that releases the paint and compressed air or pressurized gas. Spray paint can be used on wood, plastic, glass, and metal. But, how long does it take for spray paint to dry? 

How long does it Take for Spray Paint to Dry?
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Spray paint is, in most cases, a better paint application alternative to using a roller or paintbrush. It is generally easier, quicker, and cleaner to achieve an even coat with spray paint. Spray paint is also portable, affordable, and if the humidity level is above 85%, versatile. 

After spray painting, just like painting with a roller or paintbrush, you will need to wait for the surface to dry. How long does it take for spray paint to dry? 

The back of the spray paint container usually includes the direction on how to use the spray paint. It will also indicate how long it will roughly take for the paint to dry. 

Factors can affect the drying time of spray paint

The spray paint manufacturer’s information on how long it will take spray paint to dry is often an inaccurate estimate because several factors can affect the drying time of spray paint off a surface.

Type of Surface

Some surfaces dry faster and some take more time to dry when using spray paints. 

  • Wood. Wood is absorbent so it takes longer for spray paint to dry. 
  • Plastic. It takes around 3 hours to dry and another 30 minutes if you are adding extra layers of paint. 
  • Glass. Allow glass to dry for 24 hours to prevent drip marks. 
  • Metal. Depending on the weather, it would take about 10 to 48 hours for metal to dry. 
  • Cardboard. It will take about 15 minutes for cardboard to dry when spray painting is done in a well-ventilated room. 
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  • Rubber. Rubber is porous so it will take a minimum of 24 hours to dry. 

Type of Spray Paint

  • Latex. Becomes dry to touch in one hour
  • Lacquer. Lacquer dries in about 5 to 30 minutes. 
  •  Enamel. It takes about 30 minutes to dry and 3 hours for a full dry. 
  • Polyurethane or Epoxy. It takes 2 to 4 hours to dry and 24 hours for a full dry. 
  • Acrylic. It takes about 30 minutes for surface drying and 8 hours for hard drying. 
  • Vinyl. It takes about 6 to 48 hours for vinyl paint to dry.
  • Alkyd. Being oil-based, touch-dry time is about 6 to 8 hours. 

Spray Painting Environment

  • Ventilation. Painting with good ventilation will make spray paint dry faster. When spray painting indoors, open all the windows in the room for good air circulation. You can also run window fans, stand fans, or exhaust fans to improve ventilation and get rid of toxic fumes from the spray paint
  • Temperature. It is best to spray paint at a temperature of at least 50ºF to 90ºF. If you want a faster drying time, wait for the outside temperature to be at least 65ºF to 70ºF. Extreme cold weather will take longer for spray paint to dry. Excessive heat will make it dry too fast and may cause cracks, form bumps, blisters, peeling, or change in color. 
  • Humidity. If the humidity level is above 85%, the top layer of the paint may not completely adhere to the substrate. It could also result in a sticky finish. 

Number of Paint Layers

The thicker the coat, or the more layers of paint, the longer it will take for the paint to dry. Spray painting, however, allows you to control the thickness of the paint layers, mixing thinners or solvents to the paint before spray painting will give you a thin coat that will dry faster. 

Maybe you are interested in How Long Does It Take for Acrylic Paint To Dry?


1. How can you make spray paint dry faster?

As mentioned above, several factors affect how long does it take for spray paint to dry. There are also ways in which you can make it dry faster. 

Here are some techniques on how you can make spray paint dry faster:

  • Apply a Thin Coat of Paint

It is quite obvious that the thinner the coat of paint, the quicker paint will dry. Luckily, spray painting normally gives a thin coating, so it usually dries faster than when using a paint brush or roller. You can also choose spray paint (type or brand) that is the fastest to dry. Adding some solvent or thinner to the spray paint can control its thickness. 

  • Run a Heater 

Many people prefer to spray paint during the summer because the hot temperature will make the paint dry faster. Running a heater near the object or surface you are spray painting could cut down the drying time.

  • Open a Fan

Good ventilation allows spray paint to dry faster. Open as many of the windows as you can before starting to spray paint to allow good air to flow through the room. Place a fan near your window to aid in better air circulation. Keep the fun running after painting to help it dry faster. 

  • Decrease the Humidity

Humidity should be low to allow spray paint to dry faster. Besides, high humidity can cause dust contamination and paint drips that can ruin your painting job. Opening the doors and windows as well as using a dehumidifier while spray painting can reduce moisture and allow paint to dry faster. 

Read more: A Beginner’s Guide to Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans With Light And Heater

2. How long does it take for spray paint to dry on plastic?

Knowing how long it will take for spray paint to dry on plastic will help you determine when you can do a second coat or apply the finish. 

Spray paint does not just stick to the plastic surface. Spray paint specifically made for plastic surfaces combines with the surface and forms a strong bond.

The quality and type of the spray paint will determine how fast it will dry on plastic. There are spray paints created specifically for plastic surfaces. Most of them claim it can dry to the touch in about 15 minutes and can be handled after 2 hours. 

3. How long does it take for spray paint to dry on wood?

How long does it Take for Spray Paint to Dry?
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If you are just recoating spray paint, it would take more or less 10-20 minutes for spray paint to dry on wood. If you are applying a fresh coat of spray paint, it will take longer for the wood to fully absorb the spray paint. 

4. Does spray paint dry faster in the sun?

The sun will make spray paint dry faster but it depends on the outdoor temperature. If the temperature outside is only 600, spray paint will not dry fast. If the optimal temperature is between 650- 850, recoating can be done every 5 minutes provided you are applying thin coats. 

When spray painting outdoors on a bright sunny day, remember not to spray paint when the optimal temperature is above 900.

Read more: How To Remove Spray Paint From The Garage Floor

5. How can you tell if spray paint is dry?

Spray paint may look dry on the surface but it is not dry yet. Spray paint goes through four stages drying. 

  • Dry Surface Stage. Sticky to the touch. 
  • Touch Dry Stage. No longer sticky. A bit hard and more solid but light pressure can damage the surface.
  • Hard Dry Stage. Light pressure will not damage the surface but finger marks will show when you firmly press on it
  • Thorough Dry. Full pressure will not damage the surface and it is completely dry.

6. Why is spray paint not drying?

If spray paint is not drying, most likely, you did your spray painting in temperatures above 80 degrees and with humidity level above 85%. It can also be that you applied thick layers of spray paint. 

It is also possible that if you are spray painting plastic, you did not use spray paint specifically for plastic surfaces. If you are spray painting metal, you probably did not prime the surface before spray painting. 

7. Will tacky spray paint ever dry?

Tacky paint happens when it is too hot or there is a lot of humidity. 

If the tacky paint does not dry, lightly rub some talcum powder on the tacky surface with your hand until the surface is no longer tacky. You can also apply auto wax to a clean cloth and rub it on the tacky surface in a circular motion until it clears. When the wax dries, remove the wax with a buffing cloth. 

It is easier and faster to spray paint rather than using a paint brush or roller. For best results, be conscious of the temperature, humidity, and thickness of each coat to ensure your spray painting job dries fast.