How Long Does It Take for Spray Paint to Dry? – Detailed Guide

How long does it take for spray paint to dry? Last year, I painted the wooden furniture by myself and created a whole mess. In the end, I had to contact an expert for guidance and was able to turn the whole scenario into a blessing. Luckily, keeping the lesson from last year in mind, this year I was able to achieve relatively better results. Now, coming to the point, what happened last year was the result of my impatience. I applied two coats of spray paint consecutively without letting the first one dry.

This led to the visible signs of paint drops pooling down the applied surface. Little did I know that I had to dry the first coat for at least 4 hours before applying the second one. I usually wait for 60 minutes, with the polymer paints that I use. The expert then, later on, told me that different paints take different times to dry and I should take into account multiple factors before proceeding with the second one.

So, I decided to share the tips with all of you and therefore I have outlined various factors that affect the time frame required for the paint to dry.

How Long Does It Take for Spray Paint to Dry?

How Long Does It Take for Spray Paint to Dry

The ability of the spray paint to dry highly depends upon the chemical composition of the spray paint, the number of coats and their thickness, humidity in the surrounding air temperature of the room, and the surface on which the plant is being applied.

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Factors that Effect Spray Paint Drying Time

All these factors can change the rate at which spray paint dries in general and might leave you waiting for a few hours or in some cases for up to a day. In general, I suggest waiting for around 24 hours to let the paint dry completely before you begin resettling your furniture and other necessary items in your room. Below I have discussed all the factors in detail that affect the drying rate of the spray paint.

Factors that Effect Spray Paint Drying Time

1. Material that is Being Sprayed

The material that is being sprayed can play a great role in changing the time at which it dries. Some materials make it easier for the paint to dry immediately after the application. However, there are other substances as well that are not only difficult to paint but also take longer to get dry after the application of multiple coats.

1.1. Metal

You might be surprised to know that metal can dry out immediately after it is sprayed with paint. In general, you will observe that the paint seems dry upon touching as soon as 10 minutes after its application. I recommend applying thin coats for even faster results. However, you will still have to wait for at least 24 hours to let the paint settle down properly and dry out after the application of multiple coats.

1.2. Wood

Wood is different from metal and may affect the drying abilities of the paint. But, you should check other factors as well. Applying thick coats of paint over the wooden surface can increase the time required for the paint to dry properly. Though it is advised to wait 24 hours before you begin with your regular tasks, you can still touch the paint after an hour or two of application. This is because the paint will start drying after almost two hours but will dry completely after 24 hours.

1.3. Plastic

Plastic is another material that is worth mentioning in this regard. The paint applied on a plastic material takes about 30 minutes to dry completely. Yes, you read it correctly. Only thirty minutes are required for spray paint to settle down and cure fully on a plastic substance. You can even touch the paint and check whether it comes on your hand or not. But despite this, I suggest waiting for at least 24 hours before you resume your regular activities for the best results.

2. Temperature and Humidity in the Surroundings

Temperature and humidity are other factors that are responsible for changes in the average time required for a certain paint to dry. Let’s discuss the temperature first. Experts suggest that warmer temperatures are ideal for the quick and efficient drying of spray paints. This is because they facilitate the consistency and composition of the paint and allow it to make a better bond with the surface it has been applied.

Hence, allowing it to dry immediately. Whether you are painting in indoor or outdoor conditions, keeping the temperature between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit will yield the best results for you. It is not recommended to paint during colder temperatures. This is especially true if the temperature of the surroundings is below the freezing point as it can affect the consistency of the paint and will also impact the adhesion properties of the paint.

Thus, making it difficult for the paint to develop the bond with the surface it has been applied on. This will in turn increase the time required for drying and you might have to wait for a few days before the paint dries completely. Besides the temperature, you should also pay attention to the humidity.

A humid environment also affects the curing ability of the paint and thus, contributes to an overall increase in the time required for this purpose. Therefore, it is ideal to paint in less humid environments with negligible moisture content to achieve the best results without affecting the adhesion properties or curing time of the paint.

3. Chemical Composition

The type of paint and its chemical composition is another factor that will impact the rate at which it will dry. You will find different options in terms of chemical composition when purchasing spray paints. The most commonly used paints are made up of polyurethane and epoxy materials and are more efficient than all their other counterparts.

These paints are capable of drying out within five minutes of application. At this time you might observe that the paint is safe to touch and afterward, it takes about an hour or two to let the paint cure fully. Besides this, you can also find thermoplastic polymers that are used to manufacture paints in combination with Lacquer.

It might take longer than polyurethane paints but are better than latex paints. The paints made up of Lacquer can completely dry within 3 to 4 hours after application. You can also touch the paint as soon as 15 to 20 minutes after application without worrying about staining your hands with it. Also read a detailed guide to get spray paint off skin.

Finally, Latex paints and Enamel paints are those that take considerably a long time to dry completely. They might take around 8 to 16 hours to dry completely and in some cases, the time might increase by up to 24 hours depending upon the humidity and temperature in the surroundings.

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4. Application of Coats

The number of coats you apply and the thickness of coats can also affect the rate at which the paint will cure fully. Generally, applying thinner coats make it easier for the paint to dry immediately and you can touch it with your hands after a few minutes of application. Thick coats can take a long time to dry.

If you have applied a single coat, you might wait for up to 8 hours in total before carrying out other activities such as setting furniture. However, in the case of multiple coat applications, it is advised to wait for at least 24 hours to let the paint settle and cure properly and prevent it from sticking to other surfaces.

How to Make the Spray Paint Dry Faster?

There are some tips and tricks to decrease the average time required for the spray paint to cure fully and will allow you to return to your routine tasks immediately after you have applied the paint to the furniture or other items. Though these techniques are effective, you should still wait for at least an hour or two for the best results and avoid staining other objects with the paint.

How to Make the Spray Paint Dry Faster

1. Use a Fan

Using the fan is on the top of our list. Using a fan near the air that has been sprayed with paint can help increase the air circulation in the surroundings. Better air circulation is known to improve evaporation and therefore, will help the paint in drying quickly. But, there are some downsides as well.

You should not sit or work near the fan as the increased air circulation will also disperse the fumes and tiny paint particles in the air, which can cause discomfort to the eyes and might also generate a strong odor. Similarly, make sure that the room is free of dust and dirt as fans can attract the dirt and might blow dirt on the newly painted surface.

2. Decrease the Humidity

As mentioned earlier, increased humidity in the surrounding can affect the drying rate of the paint irrespective of its composition and is not recommended if you are using spray paint. Therefore, decreasing the humidity in the workplace can be of great help.

If you are painting indoors, using a dehumidifier in the room can significantly decrease the humidity and will decrease the time required for curing the paint. Similarly, in outdoor conditions reading the weather forecast and working on days with low air humidity can help in the long term.

3. Increase the Heat in the Surroundings

Warmer temperatures are ideal for effective drying of the spray paint and thus, increasing the temperature near the workstation can be the best solution in this case. If you have sprayed a relatively small object, you can use a blow dryer with an intense heat setting to let it dry quickly.

Similarly, for large substances, using a heater inside the room or increasing the temperature of your inverter air conditioner can keep the room warm and will release hot air into the surroundings, which will be effective in drying the paint. These tricks can especially be adopted in the case of Latex paints because of their longer drying periods.

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4. Apply Thin Coats

Apart from the above-mentioned options, you can also apply thin coats over the surface to allow the paint to dry quickly. Application of thicker and multiple coats can significantly increase the time required for the paint to settle and dry completely.

It will also help in maintaining the consistency of the paint and will prevent it from running downward. You should also wait for some time after applying a single coat before you apply another coat as a consecutive application without any drying time can lead to over-coating.

FAQs about Spray Paint Curing Time

Will spray paint dry in two hours?

On average the spray paint will dry within one to two hours after application and you might observe that the painted surface can be touched with your hand after a few minutes of application without staining your hands. However, this is not always the case. The drying time might increase or decrease depending upon the composition of the paint as well as the temperature and humidity in the surroundings.

How many coats of spray paint should I use?

You can apply as many coats as you want, provided that you offer an adequate drying time for each coat. However, the majority of the experts recommend keeping the coat count to two. Applying two coats with adequate drying time for each coat can yield the best results and will also contribute to better adhesion of the paint to the surface it has been applied on.

Will spray paint dry in the cold?

Cold temperatures are not ideal for drying the spray paints. This is because the decrease in the temperature can affect the consistency and adhesion properties of the spray paints, which in turn is responsible for the increase in the average drying period. Therefore, it is important that you take the required measures to increase the temperature around your workplace for better paint adhesion and quick drying.

Final Thoughts on Spray Paint Drying Time

The DIY paint application requires a lot of patience especially if you are planning to apply more than one coat of spray paint. This is because you must provide adequate time for the first coating to dry before applying another one. This is carried out to prevent the pain from running as well as to avoid over-coating the surface. Generally, the majority of the paints available in the market can dry completely between one to eight hours after application.

However, various factors can affect and increase the time frame required for drying the paint. These include the paint composition, thickness of the coats, material being sprayed, temperature, and humidity in the workspace. Therefore, you should take adequate measures in this regard to achieve the efficient and desired results.


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