How Long Does It Take For Spray Paint To Dry

Spray Painting Wall

Spray paint is a great decorative choice for anybody who appreciates beauty. Despite spray paint's effectiveness when used on the surface, it's very versatile, affordable, and portable. If you're using spray paint for the first time, several questions could be going through your mind right now. One of which is "how long does it take for spray paint to dry"?

You can use spray paint on several surfaces. Some of these surfaces include: plastic, metals, glass and wood. Interestingly, it takes different time for spray paint to dry on these surfaces. In this article, we will answer all your questions regarding spray paint.

But before we answer the question above, let's look at the benefits of using spray paint on objects.

Benefits of Using Spray Paint

Man spraying wood

Easy Application

People love the fact that spray paints are easy to apply on the surface. It brings vibes to any artwork and suitable for any project. Whether you are a DIYer or a professional, spray paint will make your painting task a bit easier.


Unlike most conventional paints out there, spray paints are affordable. If you're using conventional paints, you may end up spending more on application tools and spraying machine. But spray paints already come with an aerosol can and you can apply it directly on the surface. Trust me; spray paints are perfect for home projects due to their affordability.

Clean Finishing

One of the reasons spray paints are popular today is because of their clean finishing. It helps to abrogate flaws like holes, splits, knocks that are commonly found on surfaces. It will always give a surface smooth finish even after the first coating. Without a doubt, spray paint will never provide an untidy look to an object's apperance.

How Long Does It Take For Spray Paint To Dry?

The duration it takes for spray paint to dry depends on certain factors. It takes some object longer time to dry depending on the paint's thickness and the type of spray paint you used. 

For instance, if you apply high-quality spray paint on plastic, it will take between 20 to 30 minutes to dry. Similarly, if you use spray paint on metal, it takes a longer time. In fact, it takes between 36 and 48 hours before a metal object completely dries after applying spray paint.

Interestingly, spray paint dries quickly when you apply it on wood. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes for a wood surface to dry after spray paint application.

You see, the answer to question "how long does it take for spray paint to dry" is relative. From the above analysis, you can imply that the time it takes for spray paint to dry depends on the surface you are working on.

Four Stages of Drying

paint drying

The best way to understand how long does it take for spray paint to dry is to look at the stages of drying. Basically, there are four stages spray paints undergo before they completely dry off a surface. These stages are:

 The Surface Dry Stage

Surface dry is the first stage of drying. Whenever a spray paint's solvent evaporates, there's always a thin layer on the paint surface. During this stage, the paint is still very sticky when you touch it.

Touch Dry Stage

This is the second stage where the paint is no longer sticky when you touch it, but it's not completely dry. Typically the surface paint is a bit harder and more solid.

During this stage, paints can quickly go off the surface when you apply light pressure. Most people mistakenly damage the paint during this stage because they assume that it's dry since it doesn't stick anymore.

Hard Dry Stage

During this stage, the paint's surface is more solid and harder. Light pressure can't easily damage it, but enough pressure could still destroy it. Also, your finger will show on the surface when you firmly press on it. But it'll not stick to your finger anymore during this stage.

Thorough Dry

This is the final stage for this process. During this stage, the surface is completely dry. There's no way pressure can damage it as it is fully ready for use.

When you apply this paint on any object, it will undergo the above stages before it dries completely. For this reason, spray paint drying time on the average defers.

Furthermore, certain factors contribute to the drying of spray paint. You will learn some of these factors in the next section.

Factors That Contribute To Spray Paint Drying

Worker Painting on steel wall surface

Different factors contribute to the time it takes spray paint to dry off a surface. Below are some of the factors.

#1. The Type Of Surface You Are Applying The Spray Paint

The nature of the surface you are working on can also determine how long it takes the paint to dry. If you are using spray paint on a wooden surface, it'll definitely dry faster than when applied to a metal surface.

#2. The Thickness of The Paint's Layer

The thickness of a paint's layer is another factor that contributes to spraying paint drying. The thicker the coat, the longer the paint will dry.

But the unique aspect of using spray paint is that you have control over the layer's thickness. This is what you can't get when using a brush. And if you mix solvent or thinners to your paint before applying, you will get a thin coat; this will make it dry faster.

#3. Environmental Factors. 

You can't rule out environmental factor when discussing the things that contribute to spray paint drying. It usually takes a long time for spray paints to dry thoroughly in a humid environment. Generally, it's better to use spray paints in a less humid environment; otherwise, it may take a longer time to dry.

#4. The Form Of Spray Paint Used

The type of spray paint used also contributes to how long it takes the paint to dry. For instance, if you use epoxy or polyurethane on any surface, they tend to dry more quickly than any other paints in the market.

But if you use enamel or latex spray paint, they can take between 8 to 15 hours to dry. Don't get me wrong; I didn't say these spray paints are bad; they have their advantages. However, if you need fast-drying spray paint, they could be the wrong choice for you.

How To Make Spray Paint Dry Faster

Dehumidifier For Room

As I mentioned earlier, the duration it takes spray paint to dry is relative. In this section, I'll teach you some of the tips to make spray paint dry faster.

#1. Run A Heater

Running a heater while painting a room is an excellent way to make spray paint faster. Once you direct the heater at the paint, it will dry more quickly.

Let me clear something here; heater only makes the drying process quicker. It doesn't automatically dry off the paint. So, don't expect a miracle, it still takes a normal process, but this time it's faster.

#2. Coat The Paint With Furniture Polish

This is arguably the quickest method. It involves coating the paint on an object with furniture polish like 5 minutes after applying spray paint.

#3. Turn On A Fan When Working Indoors

When you are working indoors, you can keep many fans to oscillate towards the object. Trust me; this works like magic.

But there's a rule to this. Before you turn on the fans, ensure that there is no dust in the room. Otherwise, your entire painting could ruin.

#4. Use a Dehumidifier To Reduce Humidity

When you are painting in an enclosed room that has little or no access to air, it may take forever for it to dry. But if you reduce the humidity in the room, the paint will dry faster. In a situation like this, you can use a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity and get a faster result.

#5. Apply Light Coat

The ability to apply a light coat when using spray paint is a skill most people don't have. But if you know how to make your paint coat thin, your spray paint will dry very fast.

#6. Work Outside In The Fresh Air When Possible

If you can, apply the spray paint on the object outside. The outside weather could make it dry faster. But if you want to work outside, do it early to get enough sunshine to dry your paint.


It's sometimes frustrating when your paint takes longer time to dry, especially if you want to use the painted item. But the right spray paint could decrease your wait time.

Also, if you apply some of the things we discussed in this article, the paint will dry faster than expected.