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How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry?

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry?

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry

When it comes to spray paint’s dry time, there are so many variables that is impossible to give a clear cut answer to how long it takes for spray paint to dry. Moreover, there are different dry phases, making it even more complicated.

However, today’s article will help you better understand what we’re talking about and hopefully will answer most of your questions.


Let’s go!

What affects paint’s drying time?

Painting a wall with a spray paint


One of the most important factors that affect how long it takes for spray paint to dry is the temperature. In a mild temperature of 65 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit, spray paint takes about 1 hour to be semi-dry, which means is dry enough for you to add another paint coat.

Waiting for the final output to become fully dried up, on the other hand, could take between 3 to 24 hours.

Coat Thickness

Coat thickness is another factor that affects the drying time of spray paint. Lighter coats tend to dry much faster than thicker coats.

For what it’s worth, a lighter coat is generally more preferable, thanks to the final smoothness it produces, and the fact that a light coating guards against pooling and running.

Paint Material

Another variable to consider when determining how long it takes spray paint to dry is the exact kind of paint involved. Lacquer paint generally has a faster drying time.

The first coat’s drying time for lacquer paint generally takes 10 minutes. Full drying time is usually achieved around the three-hour mark.

Another paint type with a fast drying time is epoxy paint,  also known as the polyurethane paint. It is, in fact, the fastest drying spray paint out there, and can be fully dried up in about an hour.

Enamel paint, also known as latex, takes about ten to thirty minutes for a surface dryness, and about eight hours to hard dry.


Just as the drying time for spray paints can be affected by temperature, it can also be highly affected by the levels of humidity, which is the level of wetness or dryness of the area where the painting project is being carried out.

Generally, the lower the humidity (the dryer it is) the faster it takes for paint to dry.

Surface Type

Perhaps the most important factor is the type of surface you’re working on. Every surface has a texture and every texture has its own drying time. Painting metal surfaces will significantly differ from painting wooden surfaces, and the same goes for concrete and bricks.

Generally speaking, painting on concrete or a metal surface will take less time to dry compared to a wooden surface.

How long does spray paint take to dry on metal?

In optimal external conditions, such as low temperature and low humidity, spray paints dry faster on metal surfaces than anywhere else.

Usually, it will take around ten minutes or even less in some cases for surface drying. For thorough drying though, it may take up to 36 hours.

How long does spray paint take to dry on wood?

Wood is known for absorbing much of the paint material, resulting in increased drying time. However, the drying time will mostly depend on the texture of the wood.

On a smooth wooden surface, the drying process will take less than on a rough wooden surface.

Stages of Drying

Stages of drying

Above we’ve mentioned several times concepts such as surface drying and thorough drying. They all signify certain stages that paint goes through before getting fully dried. There are four main stages, which we’ve listed below.

1. Surface Drying

This is the first and quickest stage, and it consists of the evaporation of the solvent. Once this happens, the first stage is successfully attained and further coating can be applied. Beware though, because the paint is still very delicate and should not be touched.

2. Touch Dry

Here the paint is no longer sticky but significant pressure can still cause damage. This stage is critical since it can give the illusion of hard drying when it really isn’t at that stage yet.

3. Hard Dry Stage

At this stage, the paint is dry enough to survive significant pressure, though not hard enough to survive extreme physical forces. What this means is that slight hand touches may not leave a mark, but when you really put some force behind it, the pain can come off.

4. Thorough Drying

In this final stage, the paint has taken its final form and the job is pretty much done. No amount of pressure is enough to remove the paint, without damaging the whole surface.


How long should I wait between spray paint coats?

The duration between consecutive paint coats depends on the time it takes for the last one to be dry enough. The question can be better summarised as: how long does one coat of paint take to dry?

The answer is 1 to 2 hours on average. However, it greatly depends if the paint you’re using is water-based or oil-based. Also, flat paints tend to dry much faster than glossy paints, decreasing the time needed to wait between spray coats.

How long does it take for car paint to dry?

How long does it take for car paint to dry?

Car painting typically takes thirty minutes to an hour between coats, and about 24 hours for the final, thorough drying.

If you read carefully, you should already know by now that painting on a metal surface takes less time to dry.

How long does it take for spray paint to cure?

Paint is cured when all the solvent you used has evaporated and what you’re left with is just the coating. Cure time takes much longer than the dry time.

As for how long it takes for spray paint to cure, the most important thing to consider is the kind of paint you’re using and the level of humidity. Acrylics tend to cure in about  48 hours, while enamel may take up to 30 days.

How to dry spray paint fast?

Spray paints can be dried faster by applying thinner coats, opening windows to facilitate ventilation, and running a heater to increase the temperature.

How to cure spray paint fast?

When it comes to curing spray paint faster, follow the same principles as drying the paint faster. Thinner coats always cure faster. Proper ventilation, dehumidifying, and increasing the temperature can significantly reduce the curing time.

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