How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry?

Spray paint is a convenient and popular choice for many painting projects, but one of the most important things to consider when using it is the drying time. Knowing how long it takes for the paint to dry is essential for getting the best results and avoiding any mistakes.

Spray paint typically takes very little time to dry and takes up to 9 hours to achieve full dryness. However, it is advised to wait at least 24 hours for complete curing to ensure the best results.

Let’s explore the factors that affect spray paint drying time, including the type of paint, the surface being painted, and the environmental conditions.

How Long Does It Take Spray Paint to Dry?

The drying time of spray paint is influenced by various factors, including the paint type, surface substrate, temperature, and humidity levels.

Typically, most spray paints can dry to the touch within 20-30 minutes. However, it is crucial to allocate sufficient time for the paint to cure entirely before handling or using the painted object. This curing process can take anywhere from several hours to several days, depending on the environmental conditions.

To expedite the drying process, it is advisable to place the painted object in a well-ventilated area with low humidity and a temperature between 60-80°F (15-27°C). It is also recommended to apply thin coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry before applying the subsequent one.

Factors Affecting Drying Time

The drying time of spray paint is an important consideration for any painter, as it can affect the overall quality and appearance of the finished product. Several factors can impact the drying time of spray paint, including the type of paint used, the weather and humidity, and the surface being painted.

 Paint Type

The drying time of various types of spray paint may vary based on their chemical composition. Some paints may dry faster than others.


The drying time of paint may be impacted by the surface it is applied on. Porous surfaces such as wood or concrete may hinder the drying process as they can absorb more moisture from the paint.


An optimal temperature range is crucial for spray painting as it can significantly impact the drying process. Higher temperatures can expedite the process, whereas lower temperatures can prolong it. Ideally, the temperature range for spray painting should be between 60-80°F (15-27°C).


Humidity levels can significantly affect the drying process of spray paint. High humidity levels can impede the evaporation of moisture in the paint, which slows down the drying process.

Paint Thickness

The drying process can be slowed down by applying thicker coats of paint, as the moisture content in the paint takes longer to evaporate.


For quick drying of spray paint, adequate ventilation is crucial. Inadequate ventilation may lengthen the time it takes for the paint to dry and cure.

Spray Paint Drying Time On Different Surfaces

One of the most important factors affecting spray paint’s drying time is the surface being painted. Different surfaces have different properties that can impact how quickly the paint dries.

Metal Surfaces

Spray paint on metal surfaces can dry in as little as 10 minutes. This is because metal is a non-porous surface, and the paint can dry quickly on it. However, to achieve a professional and neatly done finish, it is usually recommended to use 3 to 4 coats of paint.

Plastic Surfaces

Plastic surfaces typically take 20-30 minutes for spray paint to dry. For plastic surfaces, latex-based, oil-based, or acrylic spray paints can be used. However, latex-based spray paint takes less time to dry with effortless best results.

Wood Surfaces

The drying time of spray paint on wood may vary depending on the wood type and humidity level, ranging from several hours. It is advisable to exercise patience and wait for at least 24 hours before handling the painted object to ensure optimal results.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry by Surface Texture?

The drying process of spray paint can be influenced by the surface texture of the object being painted. Hence, it is essential to take into consideration the texture of the surface on which the paint is being applied. Below is a list of some common surface textures and their corresponding typical drying times:

Smooth Surfaces

On smooth surfaces such as metal or glass, the spray paint can dry within 10-20 minutes to the touch. However, it is advisable to allow at least an hour before handling the painted object. The paint may take up to 24 hours to completely cure.

Rough Surfaces

When spray painting on rough surfaces such as concrete or textured fabrics, allow for additional drying and curing time. It is recommended that you wait at least 24 hours before handling the painted object, and it may take up to 48-72 hours for the paint to fully cure.

Porous Surfaces

While spray painting on porous surfaces such as wood or unglazed ceramics, consider the surface’s ability to absorb moisture. As a result, it may take longer for the paint to dry and cure. It is recommended that you wait at least 24 hours before handling the painted object, and it may take up to 48-72 hours for the paint to fully cure.

Woven Fabrics

The curing process of spray paint on woven fabrics may take a longer period of time. It is strongly advised to wait a minimum of 24 hours before handling the painted fabric object. Additionally, it is essential to adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and caring for the painted fabric.

Drying Times Of Different Types of Spray Paints

When it comes to spray paint, the drying time can also vary depending on the type of paint being used. Some common types of spray paint and their approximate drying times include:

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint dries quickly, usually within 10-30 minutes. A thin acrylic paint layer will dry in 10-30 minutes, while a thick acrylic paint layer can take up to 2 hours to dry to the touch. The acrylic painting will fully cure in about 24 hrs.

Enamel Paint

Enamel paint features a high level of durability and resistance to chemicals and requires 30 minutes of drying time and 8 hours of curing time for optimal performance.

Epoxy Paint

Epoxy paint takes approximately 24 hours to dry and cure completely, making it the slowest-drying paint option. Its resilient properties, such as its resistance to chemicals and extreme temperatures, make it ideal for use on surfaces requiring a high level of protection and durability, such as concrete, metal, and wood.

Oil-based Paint

Oil-based paints take considerably longer to dry than water-based paints, typically requiring between 6-8 hours. Due to its durability, this type of paint was once a common choice for painting homes.

Polyurethane Paint

Polyurethane paint requires a drying time of two hours, with a recommended curing time of 48 hours for optimal performance. This type of paint is well known for its durability and resistance to chemicals and abrasion.

Lacquer Spray Paint

Lacquer spray paint is renowned for its rapid drying time of 45 minutes, as well as its glossy and durable finish. Although its use is advantageous, it is essential to note that it can be toxic and proper ventilation is necessary.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry by Climate?

The drying time of spray paint is contingent upon the climate in which it is applied, be it indoors or outdoors.  Be mindful of the climatic conditions in your vicinity to ensure optimal application.

Arid Climates

In arid and windy climates, the drying time is expedited due to the low humidity levels which promote faster evaporation of the water in the paint. Apply spray paint in a well-ventilated area with a humidity level of approximately 40% to 50%. However, if the humidity level is excessively low, it can result in the paint cracking.

Humid Climates

In regions characterized by high levels of humidity, an inverse correlation is observed between drying time and the atmospheric moisture content. Similar to the phenomenon of damp hair following a shower on a sultry day, spray paint also exhibits a proclivity for extended drying periods in such conditions. 

To expedite the drying process in environments with humidity levels surpassing 85%, it is advised to enhance airflow in the workspace by deploying a fan, and opening doors, and windows.

Warm Climates

The warm climates of late spring present the perfect time to embark upon your spray painting endeavors. In addition to the alluring weather, the drying process is faster during this season. Caution must be exercised, however, as extreme heat can accelerate drying time to the point of inducing cracking or blistering. Thus, it is essential to remain vigilant and avoid painting on days of scorching temperatures.

Cold Climates

It is important to acknowledge that temperatures below freezing pose a challenge for spray painting endeavors. Despite the fact that the majority of individuals do not participate in this activity during the winter months, it is imperative to recognize that spray paint, like any form of paint, can become frozen or altered in texture if subjected to temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Is the Correct Way to Open a Spray Paint Can to Ensure Proper Drying Time?

When opening a spray paint can for optimal drying time, following the correct steps for opening spray paint can is essential. To ensure proper drying, start by shaking the can vigorously for approximately one minute. Next, remove the plastic cap and hold the can upright. Push down the nozzle button firmly and start spraying in a continuous motion. Remember to keep a consistent distance from the surface and apply light, even coats to prevent dripping. Finally, allow the paint to dry completely between additional coats or before handling the painted object.

Spray Paint Quick Drying Tips

You may be frustrated by hearing all the aspects that affect the drying speed of spray paint. But the reality is that there are a few quick-drying tips that you can use to help speed up the process.

  • Use a paint dryer or accelerator: This can speed up the drying time of the paint.
  • Increase ventilation: Open windows and use fans to increase airflow in the room, and make sure the room is well-ventilated before, during, and after painting.
  • Paint in thin layers: Applying thin and even layers of paint can help prevent the paint from taking too long to dry.
  • Use a fan or hairdryer: Blowing air onto the painted surface can speed up the drying time.
  • Paint in warm and dry conditions: High temperatures and low humidity can help speed up the drying time.
  • Use a paint that is designed for the surface: Some paints are formulated specifically for certain surfaces, and using them can help speed up the drying time.
  • Use a primer: This can help the paint dry faster
  • Avoid painting in high humidity: High humidity can slow down the drying time of paint
  • Use a faster-drying paint: Some types of spray paint dry faster than others, such as lacquer paint or water-based paint.

Drying Hacks for Spray Painting

Is It Safe to Store Spray Paint on Its Side While It Dries?

When it comes to properly storing spray paint, it is generally safe to store it on its side while it dries. This allows the paint to settle evenly and prevents moisture from accumulating inside the can. However, it is crucial to ensure the lid is tightly closed to avoid leaks or spills.


The drying time of spray paint can vary based on several factors, including the type of paint used, the texture of the surface, and the environmental conditions. Acrylic spray paint tends to dry faster than enamel or rust-preventative spray paint, which may require a more extended drying period. 

Furthermore, the temperature, humidity, wind, and altitude of the surrounding environment can influence the drying time of spray paint. It is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for specific guidance on drying times and curing requirements, while also considering any climate factors that may affect the drying process. 

Properly drying and curing spray paint is essential for achieving a professional-looking finish and prolonging the lifespan of the painted surface.

Leave a Comment