How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry: All You Need To Know!

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry: All You Need To Know!

The period for which paint takes to dry depends on several factors. This is the first thing you must understand so that you will not be expecting the same result when two applications of paints are so different. One of the factors is the type of surface you are spraying.

Instead of asking how long spray paint takes to dry, try to get a bit specific. How long does spray paint take to dry on wood? or how long does spray paint take to dry on metal? This is better. It doesn’t answer all the factors that contribute to the duration it takes but you are getting closer. 

In this post, you will know how long spray paint takes to dry generally and how long it takes on a particular surface. Let’s get started. 

The Time Spray Paints Take to Dry Generally

The factors to consider before you determine the duration are 

  • The kind of surface 
  • The kind of paint (the degree indicated at the back of the can usually between 65 and 70 degrees). 
  • The weather when you painted 
  • The thickness of the paint 

If you look at these factors, it may come to your mind that it is impossible to give an accurate duration for how long spray paint takes to get dry. But you can put some factors together and do your estimate. It is like saying if the weather is hot and I make the painting thick over a wooden surface, how long does spray paint take to dry? 

You must and should consider the quality of the paint. This is why you will find recommendations at the end of this post.

1. The type of surface 

When you expect spray paints to get dry. Expect it to dry according to the kind of surface on which you apply it. We will talk about the surface types below, but here is the summary: good is the fastest to dry, plastic is slower, metal is the slowest of the three. 

2. The thickness of the coat you apply 

If you make the layer of paint on the surface thin, it will dry faster. If you don’t know, paints usually dry in stages. These stages will be explained below. What determines how long it will take for a stage to dry is how thick you make the layer over the surface. 

When it comes to using spray paint, you can exert more control over the thickness than when you are using a brush. 

For experts, they usually add thinner and solvent into paints to reduce the thickness of the layer. 

3. The environment (the weather of your area) 

This is simple to explain. The humid regions will have their paintings dry slowly. A hot or warm region dries paint faster.   

4. The formula in the paint 

A majority of paint formulas are made to dry fast. So it is worth checking to see what the manufacturer says about the period the product would take to get dry. For now, the fastest kinds of spray paint you can get is a polyurethane spray paint or epoxy paint. With these two types, you can achieve ‘surface dryness’ in five minutes and ‘through dryness’ within an hour depending on the kind of surface. (The level of dryness will be explained shortly). 

You can also consider choosing lacquer paints. They dry thoroughly at around 3 hours. Enamel paints usually take 8 hours to dry. 

Drying can take up to a day as you have read about metal and it is usually that long whenever there is a thick layer of paint.

Now that you have accepted that spray paint dries according to some factors —- the product and surface being the key ones — you can move to the process of getting the spray to dry.

Spray Paint to Dry 

Stages of drying 

The first stage is the surface dry 

In this stage, when you look at the surface of the painting, you think it is dry but you will place a hand on it and realize it sticks. There is a layer on the surface that is solid but underneath is a layer that is soft and wet. 

The second stage is the touch dry 

Here, you will notice the paint is dry. You will put a hand on it and realize it doesn’t stick to your flesh like cream. This is called touch dry. But once you decide to put some amount of pressure on the surface, you will ruin the surface paint.

The third stage is called hard dry 

Here, you will notice that the paint is dry as well and only a bigger pressure than the last stage would leave a smudge on the paint. 

The last stage is the thorough dry 

Here, the paint is completely dry. It is ready for use. 

How long does it take for spray paint to dry on wood 

Wood generally dries faster than metal if you are doing a comparison between the two when it comes to spray paints. Generally, the spray paint will take between 10 and 15 minutes to dry off completely. 

How long does it take spray paint to dry on metal     

Mostly, metals are the slowest to dry (their duration spamming up to days even with good paint). It takes about 48 hours to dry completely and nothing less than 36 hours. 

How long does it take for spray paint to dry on plastic

The quality of your paint is one important factor. But the surface should dry between 20 and 30 minutes after you paint. 


Paints dry in stages. The drying starts from the outer layer to the inner surface of the metal. 

Also, many factors must be considered before trying to find how long spray paint takes to dry. It dries fast when it is on wood compared to other surfaces. But before such a conclusion, other factors such as weather or the thickness of paint have been considered. 

Lastly, spray paints come in types too and with a slight difference in the speed at which they dry.

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