What Affects Spray Paint Dry Time?

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What Affects Spray Paint Dry Time?  Did you know that the average spray paint can take up to 24 hours to dry? In some cases, it can take even longer. This is because the paint needs time to cure or harden.

However, the spray paint dry time for a particular type of paint and surface can be impacted by something as simple as the weather, ambient air temperature, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure, and wind speed.

The article will teach you everything about the different types of paints available on the market today, as well as provide some general tips for working with them both indoors and outdoors. It also includes information about best practices like using ventilation masks or proper painting clothes so you don’t have any bad surprises when handling these products

Below are the factors that affect spray paint dry time. Knowing which ones can help you set up your surroundings for a quick-drying result!

Factors that Affect Spray Paint Dry Time:

factors that affect spray paint

Ambient air temperature:

How quickly does the paint dry at ambient temperature?

The ambient air temperature is the optimum factor that can affect spray paint dry time. If the air is hot, then it will speed up the drying process of your paint because hot air can hold more moisture than cold or cool air.

When the ambient air temperature is below 50°F, then it can take several hours for the paint to dry. Find a well-ventilated area in your surroundings with indirect sunlight where you can have paint dry without having to worry about any other factors that might affect your spray paint dry time.

At an ambient air temperature between 50 and 90°F, expect your paint to dry in approximately 1-2 hours.

At an ambient air temperature above 90°F, then the drying time will be reduced by up to 20%. So if you are painting on a hot day with no shade or breeze around, you should know that it might take longer than expected for your spray paint to dry.


Humidity is another factor that you need to consider when it comes to spray paint dry time. It has a great impact on the drying time of your paint because humidity contributes to the formation of water molecules in the air, which can affect or slow down the process of evaporation. This means that if you are in an area with high humidity, then you need to wait longer for your paint to dry.

When the relative humidity is above 50%, the best way to dry wood is to allow your paint to dry for at least 24 hours before being able to touch or move it again. This is because there might be some residual moisture that can affect the quality of your final result and can cause problems when it comes to application.

If the relative humidity is below 50%, then it will only take your paint 1-2 hours before being able to touch or move it again. However, if you are in a very dry environment with less than 20% humidity, then allow more time for evaporation because there might be some moisture that is trapped in the paint itself.

If you are painting indoors and trying to use a sprayer, then you will need to wait at least 24 hours for your paint to completely dry no matter what kind of humidity levels there are. This is because even if the relative humidity inside is lower than outside, the air within your enclosed space is already very dry.

Wind speed:

Wind is also another factor that you need to consider when it comes to spray paint dry time. If you are painting outdoors, then choose an area where the wind speed is between 0 and 10 mph because anything higher than this can increase your drying time by decreasing how much moisture gets carried away through evaporation.

If you are painting indoors and using a sprayer, then wind speed is not a factor that affects your spray paint dry time because you have no control over it.

Exposure to direct sunlight:

How to cure spray paint when working outdoors? Simply choose a location in the shade if possible because direct sunlight can increase the temperature of the surface being painted, which can affect your paint’s drying time.

If you are painting indoors and using a sprayer, then exposure to direct sunlight does not matter because you have no control over it.

Number of Coats Being Used:

How long does it take a coat of paint to dry? If you’re applying several coats, your paint may take longer to dry. However, if each layer is thin, it will still cure within the average time frame of 24 hours or more. If you spray each layer too thick, you may experience longer dry times.

Amount of Paint Used:

The more paint that is used in one coat, the thicker and heavier the paint will be. Thicker and heavier paint can take longer to dry and cure. It might also lead to drips or runs if left unattended for an extended period of time.

In order to learn how to tackle the above factors that affect the spray paint dry time, we need to learn how does spray paintwork?

How Do Spray Paints Work?

how do spray paint

Spray paint works by passing through a small opening, often called a nozzle, and breaking up into tiny droplets. The propellant in the can then blasts these droplets out of the can and onto the surface you’re painting.

Spray paint essentially works as a two-stage process: the first stage is when the paint leaves the nozzle; after that, it’s propelled onto your object by compressed air coming from an aerosol can. During this time, the solvent in the paint evaporates and leaves pigments and polymers behind on your surface.

Solvent (mostly water) evaporates from the top layer of paint at a certain rate; once all solvent has evaporated, the paint is no longer able to spread itself and begins to “set” into a firm layer.  The paint sets when the rate of evaporation from below balances up with the rate of dissolution and precipitation beneath (the molecules at higher layers begin bonding to the ones them) from above.

The time it takes for the solvent to evaporate is known as the “drying time” of the paint, and this can vary according to several factors like ambient temperature and humidity levels.

1. In order to work correctly, spray paints need oxygen to help the paint particles dry.

2. The pigments in spray paint are designed to dry quickly when exposed to air.

3. The can also contains a propellant which helps the paint come out in a fine mist.

4. The propellant is generally a mixture of propane and butane.

5. To ensure that the propellant works correctly, spray paint cans have a plastic or metal pin in them which gets pushed back when you squirt the paint out of the can.

6. Usually, if a hole is already pricked through a can of spray paint, it will not work even though it appears to be full of paint. This is because air will have already entered the can and caused a change in pressure, which will prevent any paint from coming out.

7. The material that makes up the pin and keeps it within the can have to be strong enough not to melt or break down when exposed to high temperatures.

8. This allows the pin to move to the top of the can with the push of a button, but also keeps it from breaking when exposed to high temperatures.

9. This allows you to spray out paint without having to hold the button down at all times but is also strong enough not to break if sprayed directly with a lighter or some other heat source.

10. After spraying, the pin will return to its original position, which means you cannot reuse the paint in the can.

11. The entire process of spraying out air and then replacing it with spray paint is known as “topping off.”

12. Ideally, most spray paints should be used within one month of opening them for the best results. This is because the propellant may begin to break down and cause problems.

13. However, this is not an exact science and sometimes people will use paint for years after it has been opened and deemed it satisfactory. You just have to experiment with each can of spray paint you buy separately to determine how long it lasts before it becomes unusable.

14. The better the quality of the spray paint, the longer it will last after being opened.

15. Brands like Krylon are very popular because they claim to have much better propellant systems inside which allows their cans to be much more efficient at using minimal amounts of product.

16. Topping off is also possible with these high-quality cans of spray paint, but it is recommended that you do not keep doing this because it can cause problems.

17. If the propellant is exposed to too much air after being topped off multiple times, it could begin to break down and cause other issues in your painting.

18. Therefore, if you have a high-quality brand of fastest drying spray paint like Krylon, it is recommended not to top off too much and to use it all before the propellant starts to degrade.

What Is the Difference Between Dry Time and Spray Paint Cure Time?

The terms “dry time” and “cure time” can be used interchangeably in most cases, but they do have slight differences.

In general, the term ” dry time ” refers to how long it takes for a new layer of paint to completely dry after being applied on top of an existing layer of paint. In the case of a multi-layer paint job, for example, this means how long it takes for each individual layer to dry.

What does it mean for the paint to cure? The term “cure time” refers to a package’s threshold before a given product can be applied onto surfaces and/or objects without causing damage. In other words, if an object is too sensitive or vulnerable to a given paint’s curing process, the manufacturer will include this information in their product description.

Differences In Dry Time and Cure Time For Different Types of Paint?

Spray paints typically boast extremely fast dry times (relative to other types of paint) due to the aerosolized solvent ingredients that enable them to spread across surfaces quickly.

How long does it take for certain paints to cure? Curing spray paint time varies among different types of paint.

  1. Acrylic paints, for example, typically require 24 hours to completely cure, while enamel paints can take anywhere from 12 hours to overnight.
  2. Polyurethane typically requires one full day before it’s considered dry and ready for use.
  3. Oil-based products are generally recommended for use anywhere from one to four days after they’re applied.
  4. Urethane requires at least 24 hours before it’s considered fully dry, though the manufacturer recommends allowing up to 48 hours for complete curing.
  5. Silicone typically takes up to one full day or overnight before it can be used safely on most surfaces.
  6. How long does latex paint take to dry? Latex paint is typically completely dry within 2 to 12 hours.
  7. Concrete patching compound typically takes 24-48 hours before it’s ready for use.
  8. Finally, epoxy typically requires at least eight hours before you can use it safely.

Before purchasing or using any product for dry times and/or cure times, the manufacturer will always advise you to check the product specifications. You’ll be your brand’s hero if you learn about the four drying phases before buying so that you don’t have to waste time waiting. Instead of waiting, you may focus on other things while still finishing them. Let’s learn.

The Four Stages of Drying:

How long to let the spray paint dry? There are four stages of drying: surface dry, touch dry, hard dry, and thoroughly dry. Each stage takes a different amount of time to complete, and the type of spray paint you use will also affect how long it takes for the paint to dry.

Surface Dry: 

Surface dry is when the paint has begun to evaporate and you observe spray paint still tacky. You cannot put your finger on it without having the paint stick; however, if you touch it with a cloth you will feel no stickiness.

Touch Dry:

Touch dry is generally 15-30 minutes after surface dry. At this point, you can run your hand over it and not have the paint stick. The paint is still wet, though, and if you touch it with a cloth you will still feel some stickiness due to the moisture that was left behind.

Hard Dry:

Hard dry is an hour or more after surface drying; however, this can vary depending on how thickly you applied the paint and on the climate. At this point, you can feel the surface with your finger and not have it stick to your skin or cloth.

Thoroughly Dry:

Thoroughly dry is when there is absolutely no wetness present and the paint has set completely. For example, Acrylic paint drying time on wood thoroughly is about 48 hours.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry On Different Surfaces?

How long should you let the spray paint dry on a range of surfaces? The drying time for spray paint can vary depending on the type of paint, the weather conditions, and the surface that you have applied. In general, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours for the paint to dry completely.

Type of Surface Being Painted:

Are you unsure how long to let spray paint dry between coats? Typically, the exact time it takes for spray paint to dry depends on three main factors. The surface onto which the you spray the paint, surface temperature, and humidity levels all affect how quickly the paint dries.

Spray Paint Dry Time On Wood:

How to dry spray paint faster on wood? Wood can be very absorbent, so it may take more time for the spray paint to dry on wood surfaces. Depending on the type of wood, this could also vary.

On wood, spray paint will usually take around 30 minutes to an hour to dry completely. However, if the weather is humid or wet, it may take a bit longer for the paint to dry. If you are in a hurry, you can use a hairdryer to help speed up the process.

Spray Paint Dry Time On Metal:

How long does spray paint take to dry on metal? On metal, spray paint will usually dry within a few minutes. However, if it is raining or humid, the paint may take a little longer to dry completely. Spray paint bubbling on metal is a common problem and you can avoid by simply waiting for the paint to dry completely, regardless of how humid it is outside.

Spray Paint Dry Time On Glass:

How long does spray paint take to dry on glass? Some spray paints will dry almost immediately on glass because of the chemical properties of glass. Glass is smooth and nonporous, meaning that the paint flattens out into a single layer almost immediately after when you apply it.

Spray Paint Dry Time On Plastic/Surfaces:

How long for spray paint to dry on plastic? Although spray paint you can apply to plastic, it does not properly dry on these areas. Spray paint will leave the surface looking spotty and unfinished when it dries because, unlike other surfaces, plastic is able to block the paint from drying. When applying spray paint to plastic surfaces, you must use either a primer or sealant for the spray paint to dry correctly.

Spray paint will sometimes leave a sticky residue when you apply it onto plastic surfaces, but you can remove this by hand-wiping or with a cloth and some warm water. If you wait until the paint is completely dry, however, only an aggressive adhesive remover would work there.

Rubber typically takes spray paint longer to dry than many other surfaces. Rubber is different from other materials because it does not have a porous surface, but instead, company uses mostly elastomer polymers in general,  spray paint on rubber will usually take at least several hours to dry completely.

How To Dry Spray Paint Quick: 7 Effective Pre-Cautions

Before applying spray paint, be sure to take precautions such as using an air filter or wearing gloves. Knowing how to properly dry and clean up after spray paint can help you do a better job in less time.

  1. Pre-treatment is key for minimizing the drying time for spray paint, so you want to make sure that whatever surface you are painting is clean and dry. You can make a wash with water and dishwashing soap or use an all-purpose cleaner to remove dirt, oil, grease, and any other contaminants from the surface. Once it’s clean, let it dry thoroughly before continuing to the next step.
  2. Drying is always easier with the help of an air compressor or a heat gun, but if you don’t have access to them, you can let the paint cure on its own for about 24 hours before worrying about cleaning up. When you are ready to clean it up, be sure to use acetone-based cleaners to remove any remaining paint.
  3. Avoid using paint thinners or lacquer cleaners because they can damage the surface, and make sure that after cleaning up you use a tack cloth to pick up any debris left behind. By doing this, the final coat will stick better and look nicer.
  4. It’s also a good idea to cover any surfaces in the area that you may damage by the paint, including the floor.
  5. If you want to use trash bags or painter’s tape to protect surfaces, be sure to use them in advance. Doing so will make clean-up easier and can help prevent problems with dry times.
  6. Put a smaller container of paint into a larger container of hot water to warm it up. Then, test the paint on a nearby surface to be sure that it is ready to use again.
  7. If you have a particularly complicated design or pattern that will take hours to paint, consider painting it on a flat surface first. Then once the piece is dry you can mount it as you desire after being sure to allow for drying times.
  8. When using aerosol spray paints, always make sure to wear protective eye goggles. Keep your eyes closed while spraying to prevent any damage to them in case an accident occurs. 
  9. It is important for spray-paint cans and other aerosol paints and sprays (relative to their size) to always store in a cool and dry place in this way spray paint won’t dry.
  10. If you are using spray paints that contain an odor, only work in well-ventilated areas with the windows open.

There are some things to keep in mind when using spray paint for an art project.

  1. First of all, the surface that you have painted on should be very smooth. Furry surfaces can cause drips to form, which ruins the effect. 
  2. Also, you should use a few coats of paint if you want it to appear darker or more opaque. 
  3. If you want the paint to appear more transparent, then use one coat of paint and let it dry for about an hour before applying another coat.

A Quick Guide to Spray Paint Drying:

  1. How warm does it need to be to spray paint? If you are painting outside, the temperature of where you live will affect how quickly your paint dries. Paint in colder weather (below 60 degrees Fahrenheit) for longer dry times (up to 48 hours). Painting in warmer temperatures (above 70 degrees Fahrenheit) speeds drying periods by up to six hours. Working in cold temperatures can cause your paint to take longer to dry. If you want to resume work once the weather warms. 
  2. Windy days also help speed up drying times, so painting on a windy day outside will cut down dry times. The wind carries the paint particles away from your surface, which speeds up the drying process.
  3. How to spray paint in cold weather? If you do not have an air compressor or heat gun at your disposal, try using a hairdryer in the cold setting to speed up drying time. Do not use the hot setting, as this may cause damage to your paint job. Be sure to hold the hairdryer approximately 12 inches away from your surface and aim at your piece, rather than holding it in one spot. Be sure that the air is blowing over your paint.
  4. If you are painting in cold temperatures, but want to resume working within the next day or so, use a hairdryer on the cool setting and aim it at your piece. This will warm up the paint and speed up the drying process. Again, be sure not to hold it too close to your piece.
  5. You can also try warming up your paint with a lower-temperature space heater (not the kind you would use to dry your hair). Be sure to place it under your drying rack and keep it set on low.
  6. Allow your paint spray cans to warm up in a cupboard or other enclosed area for about 10 minutes before you begin painting. This helps heat up the paint inside which speeds up the spray release time, making your paint dry faster.
  7. If you are painting at night or on a cloudy day, try using a lamp with an incandescent bulb to speed up drying times. Place it under your drying rack and keep it set on low.
  8. Be sure to spray thin layers of paint and wait until each layer is almost but not completely dry before applying the next coat. This will help decrease the amount of time you spend waiting for your piece to dry, especially if has many colors.
  9. If you are using spray paint, consider using a fan-type nozzle. This gives you more control of where the paint you have sprayed, allowing for better coverage. Plus it saves time to clean up the excess mist.
  10. Speed your drying process by giving yourself plenty of drying space to work with. Ideally, you want at least one foot of space on each side for your painting surface with another six feet behind it. This will allow you to be safe while working with the paint and not worry about any accidents that may occur during the drying process.
  11. I recommend it for light coats, when using spray paint, wait at least 45 minutes before applying another coat. Heat can speed up the process also, but you must be careful about heat-sensitive spray paint.
  12. It is advisable to purchase at least two cans of spray paint when it comes time for a touch-up job due to having enough for your initial coats, and then waiting around in case you need to make an additional touch-up pass.
  13. For complete coverage of the surface, wait at least three hours before applying another coat. For pieces with many colors, wait 24 hours for each extra coat.
  14. High humidity can increase the time it takes for paints to dry. When you need to apply a second coat of paint on a humid day, be absolutely sure that you have dried the first coat thoroughly before you apply the second coat. If you are not sure, wait another 24 hours.
  15. If you want to cut down on the time it takes for your paint to dry, avoid having too many layers of paint. The more coats you put over each other, the longer it will take the paint to dry. It is best to work with just one or two layers of color and then allow at least 24 hours of time between spray paint coats.
  16. When it comes to spray-paint drying times, always remember to follow each individual label’s instructions and safety warnings. These typically have a list of drying times for different conditions, including low and high temperatures, and humidity levels.
  17. If using spray paint, remember that different colors may require different drying times. A base coat will always have a shorter drying time than a color layer.
  18. To avoid problems with your paint running or dripping, allow enough drying time before applying topcoats such as fixative, varnish, or other liquids. Your spray can label should state how long you need to let the surface dry before applying any extra coats.
  19. When using spray paints, never hold the can in one place for more than a few seconds. If you do not want to use an entire can of paint for one painting session. I recommend that you shake and mix the cans before spraying. However, if this is not possible, only try to cover about 20 square inches at a time.
  20. If your paint is not dry to the touch, you should not tempt to go over it with dry colors. Wait for a few days and then use a wet paper towel to remove any residue on your dry colors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does spray paint dry faster in heat or cold?

When it comes to spray-paint drying times, the temperature of the environment can play a role in how quickly the paint dries. In general, high temperatures will speed up the drying process, while low temperatures will have the opposite effect.

Will a heat gun help spray paint dry faster?

A heat gun can help speed up the drying process for spray paint, but be careful not to damage the paint with too much heat.

Does spray paint dry faster in the sun?

Sunny weather can help speed up the drying process for spray paint. However, be careful not to damage the paint with too much sunlight.

How to check if your paint is dry?

If you are not sure if your paint is dry, you can try to see if it is sticky. If it is not sticky, then it is probably dry.

How long does it take enamel paint to dry on wood?

It typically takes enamel paint two to four hours to dry on wood, but it is best to wait 24 hours before applying a topcoat.

How long should spray paint dry before sanding?

The drying time for spray paint can vary depending on the type of paint and the weather conditions. In general, it can take a few hours for the paint to dry completely. It’s usually safe to sand the paint after it has dried thoroughly. Sanding before this recommended dry time could result in the sandpaper clogging with paint, making the sanding process more difficult.

How long does spray paint primer take to dry?

The answer to this question depends on the type of primer you are using. If you are using a water-based primer, it will usually take about two hours to dry. If you are using an oil-based primer, it will usually take about four hours to dry.

How long does it take for acrylic paint to dry?

It can take anywhere from a few hours to a day for acrylic paint to dry. The drying times depend on what surface the paint is applied onto, as well as the thickness of the paint. Generally speaking, thicker applications will dry slower than thin ones.

Acrylic paints dry because of evaporation. The water in the acrylic paint (also known as the vehicle) evaporates (turns to gas), leaving behind only the acrylic polymer (also known as the pigment).As a result, thin layers of acrylic paint dry faster than thick layers.

Does spray paint dry faster in heat or cold?

How quickly spray paint dries will depend on the type of aerosol that is being used. Many artists consider working in hot weather preferable to cold, however, because it allows for a thicker build-up of paint with each coat. This means one can work faster without running out of paint. Artists who are concerned about achieving a specific color, however, should always use the same temperature to ensure uniform color.

The paint’s manufacturer will indicate the time for the paint to dry on the can whether it is best suited for hot or cold weather conditions. If the spray paint has not been stored correctly then it may take longer to dry even in warm temperatures. Storing aerosol paints in low temperatures may cause them to congeal and fail to spray.

What is spray paint made of?

Spray paint is made of pigment, a solvent, and a propellant. The pigment is what gives the paint its color, the solvent helps to dissolve the pigment, and the propellant helps to propel the paint from the can.

how long does oil-based paint take to dry

Oil-based paint takes a longer time to dry as compared to the other types of paint. It usually takes about 24 hours for the paint to dry completely.

how long does house paint take to dry

The drying time for house paint can vary depending on the type of paint used, the climate, and the humidity. In general, it can take anywhere from several hours to a few days for the paint to fully dry.

The solvent used in most aerosol paints is usually either water or a petroleum-based hydrocarbon. The propellant is usually a gas, such as butane or propane.

The primary difference between latex paint and spray paint is the pigment. Latex paint uses clay as its pigment while spray paint uses pigments made of metal oxides. The pigments used in spray paint are aluminum, titanium, and iron oxides.

The primary difference between acrylic enamel paint and spray paint is the solvent. Acrylic enamel paints use water as their solvent while almost all varieties of spray paint use either petroleum or alcohol-based solvents because they evaporate quickly.


Spray paint is a medium that can be used to create stunning works of art. In the above piece of content, we learned about how to spray paint dries and what affects the drying process before you start your project. 

The key takeaway of this detailed article about spray paint dry time is that – If you are using a spray gun, then it is recommended that you use one with an air compressor. Unlike handheld sprayers that don’t use compressed air to propel the paint, air compressors can deliver higher pressure and volume for faster drying time. Especially if the area is quite large or you are using glossy paint.

Whether you are looking for advice on which type of paint to buy or want an idea for something new to try out in your own home-based studio, paints vision is  your one-stop destination for all things artistic. Our team is always on the lookout for the latest products available in the industry, as well as exploring new brands, styles, and techniques – so that our readers can get a complete overview of their options.

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