How Long Does It Take Spray Paint to Dry?

Man spray painting home decor

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Spray paint is a type of aerosol paint that comes in an easy-to-use can. Just point the can at the target surface and press down on the valve to release a spray of paint, making it a quick and effective method for painting furniture, metalworking projects, siding, home improvement projects, and more. After application, it typically takes anywhere from five minutes to eight hours for spray paint to dry.

Drying time depends on several key factors, including the type of paint, material, surface texture, temperature, humidity, and air flow. Even if the surface is dry to the touch, spray paint can take about 24 hours to fully cure.

How Long Does It Take Spray Paint to Dry?

Type of Spray Paint

There are a variety of spray paint types to choose from including fast-drying, acrylic, latex, oil-based, lacquer, epoxy, and rust-preventive enamel spray paint, all of which have different drying times.

Type of Spray Paint Average Drying Time 
Fast-Drying Spray Paint 5 Minutes 
Acrylic Spray Paint  30 Minutes 
Epoxy Spray Paint  1 Hour 
Lacquer Spray Paint  3 Hours 
Latex Spray Paint  8 Hours 
Oil-Based Spray Paint  8 Hours 
Rust-Preventive Enamel Spray Paint 8 Hours 

Material and Texture

The type of material and the texture of the target surface can also affect the drying time of the spray paint. Common materials include wood, metal, and plastic, while the texture can vary between rough, smooth, porous, and nonporous.

  • Wood is a go-to option for many home renovation projects, but it's also regularly used by avid woodworkers to make furniture and decorations. Due to the porous nature of wood, after spray painting a wood surface, it will typically take about one to two hours to dry to the touch and about 24 hours to fully cure.
  • Metal has the benefit of being nonporous, so spray paint dries quickly after it is applied. Expect to wait just 10 minutes after spray painting a metal surface for the paint to dry to the touch. However, the spray paint will still take about 24 hours to fully cure.
  • Plastic is similar to metal in that it is nonporous, but the smooth surface can make it difficult for spray paint to adhere properly. On average, spray paint takes about 30 minutes to dry on a plastic surface and an additional 24 hours to fully cure.
  • Rough and porous textures help the paint adhere better to the target material and soak up the spray paint. It will typically take longer for spray paint to dry on a rough, porous surface than it would on a smooth, nonporous surface.
  • Smooth and nonporous textures don't require as much paint for full coverage, so they tend to dry quicker than rough, porous textures. However, spray paint may have difficulty properly adhering to a very smooth surface, like polished metal or plastic.


The local climate, including the temperature and humidity, can influence the drying time of painting projects. Apply spray paint when the ambient temperature falls between 40 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity level is between 40 to 50 percent.

  • Arid climates with high winds and low humidity are ideal for decreasing the drying time of spray paint. However, if the humidity is too low, the paint could crack. You can set up a humidifier to increase the humidity inside to help prevent this problem.
  • Humid climates often increase the drying of spray paint due to the high level of moisture in the air. If the humidity outdoors is too high, move the project indoors to a basement, workshop, or a garage, where you can use a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity.
  • Warm climates will quickly dry the spray paint, so you can add another coat or wrap up the project. However, if you wait too long, temperatures can soar, causing the paint to dry unevenly, crack, or blister. Plan your painting projects for early spring or late fall to avoid this issue.
  • Cold climates are not ideal for spray painting. The cool temperatures increase the drying time and, if it's too cold, the paint may freeze or change in consistency. Try to schedule your painting projects during the warmer months of the year when the temperatures remain above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Make Spray Paint Dry Faster

For those on a tight timeline, there are a few ways to speed up the process and make spray paint dry faster.

  • Increase the air circulation. The better the airflow through the area, the faster the paint will dry. If you need to make spray paint dry faster, open any doors or windows and to set up one or more fans to increase the air circulation.
  • Use a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity. A high level of ambient humidity can slow the drying time of the spray paint. Set up a dehumidifier in the room with the painted objects to pull moisture from the air and speed up the drying process.
  • Apply a fast-drying spray paint. Sometimes you need to get a job done as quickly as possible. Investing in a fast-drying spray paint product will ensure that the paint dries to the touch in just a few minutes.