How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry? The Answer Revealed!

By Tom Pelly | Home Painting

May 11

If you are using spray paint for the first time, there are a lot of question that could pop into your mind. One, common inquiry is how long does spray paint take to dry?

This is also one of the most important details you need to understand if you are using spray paint.

In this way, you will exactly know the factors that contribute to spray paint drying as well as on which surfaces you can use it on.

Possessing the understanding of how spray paint dries and what factors contribute to the process has its benefits.

In this guide, I will help deal with the question of how long does spray paint take to dry. Additionally, I also will a few vital things you need to know about spray paints.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry?

The length of time involved in drying spray paint can be attributed to a few factors.

This includes the surface you spray painted on, the thickness of the paint applied and the type of spray paint you used.

These things significantly affect the length of time it takes for spray paint to completely dry.

Be that as in may, to give you a better understanding or an example using one of this factors, let us look into how long does spray paint take to dry on different types of surfaces.

Given that you are using a high quality of spray paint, if this is applied on plastic, drying time will take about 20 to 30 minutes.

When it comes to applying spray paint on metal, this surface will require a longer drying time which takes about 36 to 48 hours.

Contrastingly, when spray paint is applied on wood, this surface has the shortest drying time which is 10 to 15 minutes.

Nevertheless, this is only considering one factor. I will be discussing the other factors further for you to have an adequate understanding of how this process works.

Stages of Drying

Part of having a thorough knowledge of how long does spray paint take to dry is understanding the stages of drying.

1st Stage - Surface Dry

The first stage of drying is called surface dry. When the solvent of the spray paint evaporates, a thin layer on its surface looks solidified.

However, anything can still stick on this layer upon contact.

2nd Stage - Touch Dry

The next stage is known as touch dry. At this point, the surface of the paint becomes harder and more solid.

The reason why it is called touch dry is that you can touch the surface without the paint sticking unto your fingers.

However, if a bit of a pressure is applied to the surface, it can easily damage the paint.

3rd Stage - Hard Dry

Hard dry is the subsequent stage of the drying process. At this stage, the surface of the paint is a bit more solid and harder.

The paint will not easily come off, but fingerprint impressions or smudges are still possible when pressure is applied to the surface of the paint.

4th Stage - Thorough Dry

Finally, the last stage of the drying process. During this stage, the whole surface is completely dry. 

Factors That Contribute to Spray Paint Drying

To further understand and have more clarity on this topic, here are a few critical elements that contribute to how long a spray paint dries. 

1. Type of surface painted on

As mentioned, the type of surface spray paint is applied on is one factor to determine how long it takes to dry.

Given that you are using high-quality spray paint, this usually dries around 10 to 15 minutes on wood.

If the surface is plastic, this will take around 20 to 30 minutes and for metal surfaces, a good 36 to 48 hours will do.

However, you also need to take into consideration that each type of surface requires a specific formulation of spray paint that makes it compatible with it.

2. The thickness of the paint applied

Another key factor is the thickness of the paint applied. The thicker the layer of paint will require a more prolonged period of time to dry.

The good thing about using spray paint is that you have enough control on it regarding the thickness of the paint you apply compared to using a brush.

One trick you can use to also get a thin coat of paint layer is mixing in solvents or thinners to your paint before application.

3. Environmental factors

Of course, there is also the external element which is environmental factors that you also need to consider.

If the environmental conditions are too humid, expect that the spray paint will require more time in order to thoroughly dry.

When using spray paint, make sure that you are in a less humid environment to help it dry faster.

4. The form of spray paint used

Lastly, the type of formulation that the spray paint has also plays a pivotal role in all of these.

The fastest drying type of spray paint on the market is the epoxy or polyurethane spray paint.

Within five minutes, surface dry can be achieved and hard dry is completed in just an hour.

Lacquer spray paints also have a fast drying time which occurs within 3 hours to complete. Meanwhile, enamel spray or latex spray paints will take 8 hours to completely dry.

On rare occasions, it can take the entire day especially if the paint layers are thick.


Conclusively, there is more than one factor that makes spray paint dry.

Now that you have a better understanding of the drying process as well as the different elements that contribute to its drying time, you can now assess how to go about any project that you might take on in the future.

Bottomline is that acquiring these knowledge will minimize error that you might have when using spray paint.

I hope you have gained knowledge from this article. Is your question of how long does spray paint take to dry answered by this article accurately?

Were you able to pick up vital points about spray paints? Do you have other suggestions regarding this topic?

Feel free to let me know your thoughts by leaving your comment below.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Tom Pelly. I'm a home designer and founder of TidyTheHome. While doing my job, I found that choosing a right tool to repair home is an essential factor. As a result, my blog is designed to provide you with important information of latest tools to help you complete job faster and more professional. Explore my blog to get all information you need in home improvement.

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