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Paint spray can be a great decorating option due to its versatility, affordability, and portability. The unique way of spray painting requires half the time and doubles the productivity compared to traditional brush painting. In particular, when you use multiple colors, it is important to let the layers dry after each coat.

Therefore, it is necessary for you to understand how long does spray paint take to dry? Using personal experience, we will also share tips on how to speed up the drying time of spray paint. Spray paint cans usually have a drying time listed on the back, and you may have to search for it since it is often small. However, this estimate isn’t always correct, as many factors may impact drying time for spray paint. 

how to make paint dry faster

Table of Contents

How long to let spray paint dry between coats

Paint TypesDry Times
* Epoxy or Polyurethane Paint Polyurethane or epoxy paints will be touch-dry in 5 minutes and completely dry within 1 to 2 hours. Waiting longer will result in a better and more durable surface.
* Acrylic PaintIn general, acrylic paint dries to the touch in 10 to 30 minutes and completely in 8 hours.
* Enamel Paint If you use enamel paint right out of a tin, it will take quite some time to dry. To the touch, enamel takes 30 minutes to dry, but to dry completely, it requires eight hours.
* Oil Paint Oil-based enamel paints have a thick consistency, so they usually dry in 8 to 24 hours under normal conditions. It takes eight hours for oil paint to become touchable while it takes 24 hours to completely dry.
* Lacquer Paint You will get a faster drying time if you use lacquer spray paint made from thermoplastic polymers. You can touch a dry surface within twenty minutes, but it takes about three to 24 hours to dry completely. 
* Latex PaintA Latex paint is dry to the touch after 5 minutes and completely dry after 1 hour.
Spray paint’s drying time varies with its type.

How long does it take for spray paint to dry?

The amount of time it takes for spray paint to dry depends on a number of factors. We will examine some of the factors that can affect spray paint dry time if you are working on a time-sensitive project. Below are these factors.

1. Impact of the Surface Material 

Painting on different surfaces (like furniture, cabinets to walls and fences) will also change the drying time. A smooth surface will absorb less moisture and dry faster. On the other hand, a rough surface will require more drying time.

man spray painting
Paint on different surfaces

How long does spray paint take to dry on Metal? 

How long does spray paint take to dry on Metal

Metallic surfaces dry faster because they are not porous, and on average, it takes 10 minutes to dry. Environmental factors must be considered when dealing with metallic surfaces. Very hot temperatures and high humidity also prolong drying times.

How long does spray paint take to dry on Wood? 

How long does spray paint take to dry on Wood? 

Depending on the type of paint, the thickness of each layer, and the temperature, spray paint needs more time to dry on wood than on other surfaces.

Wood has a porous surface, so it usually requires multiple coats of paint because it absorbs moisture and ultimately affects the drying process. Generally, wooden surfaces take 1-2 hours to dry, and it is expected that wood will dry faster with water-based paint than oil-based paint.

How long to let spray paint dry on Plastic?

How long to let spray paint dry on Plastic

The easiest material to paint on is plastic. Usually, plastic surfaces take at least half an hour to dry after an application of paint. However, the paint coats might not reach the complete drying stage until they sat for at least three hours.

If the paint is completely dry, it won’t come off on your fingers, and you won’t leave an impression on it when touching it.

How long for spray paint to dry on Glass?

Painting on glass surfaces ( including mason jars, windows ) will require a very light touch, as the paint may run easily. The painting on glass can be difficult, and not letting the paint dry will lead to drip marks.

If you want to add another coat, wait for at least 15 minutes. However, The paint may take over 24 hours to dry completely.

How long to let the spray paint dry on Rubber? 

The rubber surface is highly porous, which means it requires a considerable amount of time to dry. You must apply the new coat after half an hour. Thus, you have to plan ahead, especially if you want to do multiple coats. A good 24 hours will be needed for the spray paint to dry completely. 

How long should spray paint dry on Cardboard?

In the same way as paper, cardboard’s porous and soft surface is an interesting choice for spray painting. Cardboard is the fastest-drying material.

The drying time for cardboard should not be more than 15 minutes in a well-ventilated environment. Ventilation is a great way to speed up the drying time of cardboard. 

2. Paint types used in spray painting

The market offers a wide selection of spray paints, and each product has its unique construction, which can heavily influence the drying process. So, to find out which type of paint you should use, read the above mentioned carefully.

3. Environmental and Weather Conditions

The temperature greatly influences how long spray paint takes to dry. Most paints perform best at temperatures of 65°-85° Fahrenheit. Hotter temperatures will not speed up drying time, and a much hotter day will negatively impact the drying process. However, extreme cold temperature can affect the consistency of paint and freeze the paint completely. 

If your work piece is cold and you spray paint in cold weather, your paint may run excessively. The good news is that this problem can be easily solved with a climate control system that increases or decreases the temperature in your work area.

4. Humidity

Another major factor that affects the drying process is humidity, and a low-humidity environment is usually preferred for painting projects. 

5. Surface Friction

When spray paint is exposed to the atmosphere, it loses its viscosity, and it begins to dry immediately, although at a slow rate, so a rough surface will take longer to dry spray paint.

Hence, you should always sand your surface before applying the spray paint to increase the friction on the surface.

What is the drying time for spray paint on a Car?

What Is The Drying Time For Spray Paint On A Car?

Most types of car paint require you to wait 20 to 40 minutes between coats. Plus, you should apply a primer 24 hours before applying a base or enamel-based paint. In addition, depending on your paint company and the coating layers, the time could differ. The spray paint will fully dry in 8 hours.

How does the paint get applied?

A surface’s preparation can also effect the cure time of spray paint. 

As a general rule, the thinner the paint layer applied to a surface, the faster it dries.

On the other hand, thick coats mean a thicker paint layer on the surface, which helps the surface to resist drying. Therefore, if you plan to do multiple coats, it is recommended to apply thin paint layer.

how long to wait between coats of paint?

The spray paint dry time consists of four steps. To figure out how long between coats of paint, you must know the stages of spray painting drying. 

1. A Dry Surface 

When the solvent evaporates, a thin layer forms on the paint surface. During this stage, you should be careful not to touch the sticky layer.

2. Touch Dry 

You may now touch the paint, but it will stick to your finger at even slight pressure. If it doesn’t stick to your finger right away, it may not mean it is dry.

3. Hard Dry

You cannot put pressure on the dry paint yet as it is dry. Fingerprints will still leave a mark on the color, although the paint is no longer sticky enough to stick to the finger.

4. Thorough Dry

It is ready to go when the paint is completely dry and can be pressed without breaking. Enjoy yourself after completing the task.

how to dry spray paint faster?

If you are in a hurry and need to use the painted area or item as soon as possible, here are some tips on making it spray paint dry faster. 

* Using a thin paint coat

The paint coat should be thin so that it takes less time to dry. Do not coat over wet paint if you failed to get enough coverage the first time. Using thin layers makes it easier to avoid streaks and patches. 

* Use the heater or hairdryer

A warm workstation will allow the paint to dry faster. Hairdryers and heaters are ideal tools for increasing the temperature and reducing humidity for speeding up the drying process. However, staying too close to a thinner material may cause damage, so be careful. Keep in mind, too much heat will not dramatically speed up the process. 

Space heaters are relatively inexpensive, so you can use this method to ensure that your paint dries a lot faster than it would under natural conditions. 

* Work outside 

People usually asked, When does spray paint dry outside?

A sunny day is your best friend when you’re painting outside. In general, spray paint take about 10 to 15 minutes to dry outside. Also, you can start early in the morning so you can enjoy the weather and complete the project on time.

* Try proper ventilation

If you are working indoors, then the wind is your closest companion. It would be best if you use the fan to keep the optimal airflow. As a result of air circulation, the rate of evaporation increased. Thus, ceiling fans and stand fans can achieve the desired results. 

Make sure to clean the workstation of the fan to avoid dust and dirt that may come along with the wind and stick to the paint. 

Pro Tip: 

  • It’s better to use the fan only after the second stage of drying, known as touch drying.

* Coat with furniture polish 

With furniture polish, you can get the paint to dry quicker, and it won’t leave drip marks. After spraying paint on an object, spray the polish a few inches away and let it dry before applying another coating.

Why is My Paint Sticky and how to fix sticky paint?

When you do not give enough time for the paint to dry completely, it becomes tacky and sticky, and it may cause a lot of problems. Thick coats of paint, highly humid air or extreme temperatures cause paint to be less likely to dry.

Therefore, I would like to share with you what I have done in the past when I ended up with sticky spray paint. As you can see that the paint has not yet dried fully.

Why is my paint sticky
Sticky paint

I primed some foam dice with Flex Seal and painted them with Rust-Oleum Satin spray paint.

Prime dice with flex seal and painted with Rust-Oleum
Prime and painted dice

My guess is that the satin enamel was not compatible with the flex seal because I was unable to find the green I desired in the ultra cover. Putting it simply, I ended up with a sticky dice piece. So what did I do to fix the sticky and tacky paint?

Will tacky paint eventually dry?

how to fix tacky paint

Definitely tacky paint will dry but you have to follow the instructions properly. I will begin with the simplest suggestion: wait. It may take some time for the paint to dry fully. Also, you should check the container of your paint for information regarding the drying time. Maybe you haven’t given it enough time. 

How to fix tacky paint?

Let’s discuss how to fix paint that is too tacky. You can dry your paint in the following ways: 

  1. Baking soda
  2. Consider talcum powder
  3. Auto wax 
  4. Proper preparation

1: Use Baking Soda to dry tacky paint

In my case, I applied a generous amount of baking soda to the dice pieces, then removed some of the excess soda.

Use Baking Soda to dry tacky paint

There is no sticky paint on the dice pieces. After that I took a damp cloth to clean it.

baking soda to fix sticky paint

However, if the spray paint is still sticky, then leave a thin coating of baking soda on the dice.

using damp cloth to remove excess soda to dry paint

Then I planned to repaint it with Krylon to see if I get better results.

repaint the dice with Krylon spray paint

Fortunately, my new coat of paint dried right away, it was not tacky or sticky.

paint dried out

It looks good as you can see in the picture below. So you can must try this method.

Will tacky paint eventually dry

2: Use Talcum Powder to fix sticky paint

It is a good idea to use talcum powder on white surfaces, such as white doors, to prevent them from spotting. Using this powder, you can dry moisture. This will allow your paint to dry and you will no longer have to worry about sticky paint.

3: Auto wax on tacky paint

It is possible to buff tacky paint away just like you would buff your car’s paint! This is another good option that can be used on areas experiencing friction through furniture or areas that have a lot of items contacting a painted surface.

As long as the paint is tacky, it can be destroyed by any bumps or scrapes it may encounter along its way. If you apply some auto wax to your surface, you might be able to prevent the paint from being damaged in the future.

4: Preparation for Preventing Sticky Paint: What You Need to Know 

If you are going to paint a surface, then there are a few things that you can do to prepare the surface. 

Make sure that you have a clean and dry area in which you will work. To make sure that your paint adheres more effectively to the surface, you will need to sand the surface with sandpaper. This will enable you to achieve better adhesion. 

Second, as we mentioned earlier, you should try to create an environment that will allow your paint to dry as quickly as possible. For example, if it’s too humid, it is possible to reduce the moisture content in the air by 20-30% by using a dehumidifier. In case it is too cold, try to warm things up and see if that helps. 

Whenever you are painting, you should always buy the best paint. If you compare quality paint with cheap paint you will see a true difference in quality as well as the level of stickiness because it is always better to buy nice paint rather than to buy twice.

Conclusion :

We hope you found our comprehensive article on how long spray paint takes to dry informative and valuable. In case you forgot, on a smooth and even surface the drying process is quicker. However, When a surface is uneven or rough, drying time increases considerably.

Additionally, you can use environmental factors to accelerate the drying process. One must remember that there isn’t a perfect day to paint, and you’ll probably never paint if you wait for all the conditions to be perfect. 

FAQs on How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry?

How long does it take for Rust-Oleum spray paint to dry?

When the temperature is above 450 degrees, rust-oleum spray paint may take 30 minutes to dry on most surfaces. Rain, snow, or high humidity will delay Rust-Oleum’s drying time. However, we have noticed that rust-oleum spray paint takes 2 to 4 hours to dry tack-free to fully dry in 24 hours.

Does spray paint dry instantly? 

Spray painting is much faster than brush painting, but the area you are painting should have good ventilation and lighting. In general, Metal is a smooth, fast-drying surface, and spray paint can be dry in as little as 10 minutes on a warm, sunny day with low humidity. A full dry takes approximately eight hours. You can speed up the drying process by using a space heater or painting outside on a warm day.

What are some ways to speed up spray paint drying time?

The easiest way to ensure that spray paint dries faster is to work outside and apply thin layers of paint. However, If you cannot avoid working indoors, then make sure the area is well-ventilated so the paint can dry quickly. Open the windows or place a fan in the room and direct it to blow on the freshly painted surface. 

When spray painting, how many coats should I apply?

Two coats can be applied if you allow enough time for each coat to dry. You should allow the paint to dry for two days before applying another coat. Each dried coat should also be sanded. Once the final coat has dried, it’s time to apply a clear coat. If your spray paint has a high sheen, you can apply a clear coat over it.

Is spray paint safe to use?

Yes, spray paint is safe when used correctly. Unfortunately, it is also toxic. Make sure to wear a mask when using spray paint to avoid any health risks.

How much do you need to shake spray paint?

You will usually need to shake the spray paint for a few minutes. A bearing inside the can mixes the paint when it is shaken.

How long before you can wet sand Rust-Oleum spray paint?

You can recoat the surface after an hour or after 48 hours. After 48 hours, repeat the steps for surface preparation. Using 600 grit sandpaper is recommended for light wet sanding. The fresh surface can be polished or waxed after one week coating.

Jennifer Marie-Holapaints writer

Jennifer Marie

Jennifer Marie is a general contractor with over the years of experience in home remodeling, DIY projects, and commercial painting projects. Her experience includes working with paint sprayers, painting tools, and other painting supplies. You can follow her on Facebook.

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