How Long Does It Take For Spray Paint To Dry Usually?

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

If you are looking to spruce up your outdoor furniture, or breathe new life into a tired looking thrift store purchase, then spray paint might be the solution. Spray paint is a cost-effective and fairly simple way of touching up furniture and extending its lifespan.

Spray paint is also a great option for those who want to paint on objects but are low on time, since spray painting is much quicker than using a brush. But when you finish spraying your first coat, you are likely wondering exactly how long it takes for spray paint to dry.

Spray paint is dry to the touch within 10 minutes to one hour, depending on the type of paint, humidity and temperature. It takes much longer for spray paint to fully “cure” so that it is ready to use. This can take anywhere from 8 hours to more than 24 hours. To speed up the drying process, paint on a dry warm day, use fans and paint thin coats.

One thing is certain, spray paint is definitely a time saver. It has great coverage, and a rare ability to get into touch to reach nooks and crannies. But if you want to know exactly how long it will take your spray paint to dry, you will need to consider some factors. There is no one universal drying time for spray paint. In fact, drying time will vary based on all sorts of factors, from the weather all the way down to the surface you paint.

Variables That Affect How Long It Takes Spray Paint to Dry


When you paint, you always need to take humidity into consideration. This even includes when you spray paint. As a rule, it always takes longer for paint to dry on humid days, versus painting on dry days.

So when you paint on a relatively dry day, then you should expect normal drying times. On more humid days, it can take much longer. Humidity is a major factor, but not the only weather factor to think about when you determine how long it will take your spray paint to dry.

The Item You Are Spray Painting

The object you spray paint will also impact how long the paint takes to dry. In general, non-porous materials that are smooth tend to dry the fastest. This is because they lack crevices that can collect extra paint, and they don’t retain humidity. Therefore metal and plastic surfaces tend to dry very quickly.

More porous and rough surfaces will take much longer to dry. So if you are painting a wood patio set plan to wait twice as long as a metal set. Any material that is not freshly sanded and lives outside in damp weather will have longer wait times.

Type Of Paint Used

The type of paint in your spray can also make a difference in the drying time. Every paint has its own unique formula. Some ingredients tend to dry quickly, while others take a long time to set. Enamel and latex-based spray paints, for example, tend to take longer to dry.

Most polyurethane and epoxy spray paints tend to dry much faster. Either way, make sure you understand the paint you are using and factor in the appropriate amount of time between coats.


The temperature when you decide to paint can even play its part in the drying process. The ideal temperatures to use spray paint are between room temperature (around 68 degrees) and upwards of 85 degrees.

Spray painting in colder weather is not advised. When you use spray paint in cold weather it can lead to sloppy looking results. Spray paint won’t mix and spray as evenly in cold weather, because it gets thicker in this weather. As a rule, the warmer the weather, the faster the drying time.


Airflow and circulation can also speed up or slow down the drying time. Just like with other types of painting, better airflow speeds up drying. If you have fans, or at least ample circulation, then the paint will dry faster than in a stagnant space.

Dry To The Touch Versus Cured: What’s The Difference

You also need to understand that there is a difference between spray paint feeling dry to a touch, and it being completely dry. This distinction is very important to make, especially with spray paint. Because spray paint often goes on in thin coats, it can appear dry to the touch within 10 to 15 minutes. This, however, does not mean it is completely dried and set.

When a paint is “cured,” this means it has dried completely through. It is no longer vulnerable or hazardous. Even when a paint feels dry to the touch, it is not necessarily cured. Paint can take upwards of 8 to 24 hours to completely dry through. So make sure you wait a day before you use your freshly spray painted patio set.

How To Speed Up How Fast Spray Paint Dries

Paint On A Dry Day

One of the best ways to cut down on spray paint’s drying time is to choose a dry day. Spray painting on a dry day will help the paint dry as quickly as it can. It has other practical benefits as well. Painting on a dry day means there is less risk of rain. It also tends to yield more even results.

Make Sure There Is Good Air Flow Using Fans Or Outdoors

A good consistent airflow is a fantastic way to cut down on a spray paint’s drying time. If possible, have the furniture outside, where the dry breeze can work its magic. If painting indoors, place oscillation fans by the recently sprayed objects.

Spray Thinner Coats

You should always try your best to spray even thin coats of paint. This tends to yield the most even and professional-looking results. It also, as it turns out, cuts down on the drying time. Less paint on each layer means less drying time.

Crank Up The Heat

If you paint on a cooler day, try cranking up the heat a bit .Warmer temperatures make for a better spray paint experience. You will have more even results and the paint will dry faster. You can even use a hot blow drier after each coat when you are painting smaller objects.

Check The Spray Can For Detailed Information

One of the best resources for you when you are trying to find out how long it takes spray paint to dry is the spray can itself. Most cans tell you how long to wait between layers. They also should say how long it will take the paint to fully dry. Take this information into consideration, and then also think about the other factors at play to make a final determination.

Summing Up How Long It Takes For Spray Paint To Dry

Spray paint works quickly and efficiently, but you still need to wait for it to dry. It can feel dry to the touch within 10 to 15 minutes. Non-porous and smooth surfaces like metal and plastic tend to promote faster drying times. It is always best to paint on a dry warm day to speed up the drying time. Still, regardless of all outside factors, it will likely take at least 8 to 24 hours for your spray paint to fully dry or “cure.” Once it is cured, you can safely use and enjoy whatever you just painted.

Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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