How long does it take for spray paint to dry

Spray paints are easily available tools, especially if you want to lean into your creative side or simply touch up the wall paint. One of the simplest ways to fix paint or give your furniture a brand-new look is to use spray paint.

For those who are not familiar with how spray paints work, the process of waiting for the paint to dry will evoke questions like how long does it really take for spray paint to dry? However, there is no one single answer to this question as it depends on several factors such as the quality of paint, the surface of the wall/furniture, the temperature of the room and number of coats you have applied.

The following article will help you to understand how long spray paint takes to dry and how can one speed up the process of drying the paint.

Stages of drying

There are a few stages involved in the process of paint drying, four stages to be precise.

The first stage is surface drying; which means that the solvent of the spray paint dissipates and this forms a sticky layer on the surface of the paint.

The next stage is called touch-dry as it is dry enough to not stick to your finger-tips when you touch it but if you apply more pressure, the paint comes off. In the hard-dry stage, the third stage of the drying process- the paint has solidified and is now dry but if you press against the surface hard enough, it may leave blotches on the paint. The last stage where the paint has fully dried is called the thorough dry stage.

The drying of paint is unique to the kind of paint used and other factors mentioned above. In this section, the factors that contribute to the drying of the spray paint will be detailed.

Factors drying is based on

Concrete, glass, wood, rubber, plastic and metal are few of the general surfaces that one spray paints on.

  • Concrete

Paint on concrete or brick surfaces dries faster than other surfaces like glass or plastic.

  • Metal

Paint dries faster on metal if the room temperature is warm. Metal surfaces such door handles or car parts can dry within five to ten minutes if there is no humidity.

  • Glass

Glass surfaces are slightly trickier to paint on as the paint can drip on that surface, if not dried properly. The paint coats should be applied carefully and there should be a gap of at least ten to fifteen minutes before the next coat is applied. Glass takes a day to dry fully.

  • Rubber

As rubber is sponge-like and absorptive, it will take a gap of half an hour between painting each layer. Painting rubber needs foresight as this can take a long time to dry, at least 24 hours are required before it dries off fully.

  • Plastic

Plastic requires the least amount of time compared to the above materials to dry off completely. While it takes only half an hour to dry, it is best to let the plastic sit for three hours so as to let each layer dry completely

  • Cardboard

This is a very delicate material to paint on but it takes very little time for paint to dry on cardboard. In an airy room, the cardboard material can dry within 30 minutes.

Speeding up the drying process

As it is commonly understood, the thicker a paint coat is, the longer it takes to dry. It is important to ensure that you paint in thin layers to quicken the drying process. To get thinner coats, you can use solvents or paint thinners. Additionally, wait for one layer to dry before painting another layer, if you want to paint several layers.

However, using a spray paint gives one more control of the painting process and spray paints have naturally thinner coats compared to painting with a brush.

Environmental conditions also influence how paint dries. Painting in warm climates with low humidity ensures consistency and smooth paint texture. For this, it is preferable to paint outdoors, especially in the mornings when the days are hot with low humidity.

If you have to work indoors, the room should be well-ventilated and airy so that the paint fumes do not affect you or give you headaches. You should also switch on the fan if you are painting indoors.

Types of spray paints

Spray paints have different formulations that will affect how soon the paint dries.

Enamel paints, also called latex paints, has a solvent which ensures that it solidifies and forms a hard surface. Due to this, enamel paints dry quite quickly. The process of surface drying will take place almost immediately, hand drying will require at least eight hours and the paint will dry entirely within one day.

Similarly, lacquer paints also require very less time to dry as it only needs the solvent to dissipate. Latex paints can also achieve this drying time if one adds water to it. The material in this paint is called a thermoplastic polymer. It takes hardly five minutes for the paint to reach the touch dry process and within a couple of hours, the paint will reach the hard-dry stage, too.

Epoxy spray paint is the quickest drying paint that is available in the market. This is because it only requires two ingredients to react chemically. This paint reaches its hard-dry stage within one hour and it takes only a few minutes for surface dry to occur.


Spray paints are pretty easy, economical and flexible to use if you know how to go about the painting process. While painting can be easily mastered, the drying process requires patience and knowledge about the kind of materials and paints used. Instead of waiting in uncertainty for the paint to dry, it’s better to read about what kind of paint dries the fastest, environmental conditions it needs to dry and how much time to wait between each coat.

Once you are aware of all the above-mentioned factors, spray painting will become easier. It is one of the most affordable and resourceful paints that can completely change how your furniture or walls look!

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