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One of the most frustrating things about painting is waiting for it to dry in between coats. Because, if you’re like me, you don’t want simple painting projects to last for days.
But unfortunately, if you add multiple layers of paint without letting them dry in between, you’ll have a paint job that scrapes off or just looks bad.
And nobody wants that.
Which might have you wondering – how long does it take for spray paint to dry? Here’s what you need to know.
How Long Does it Take for Spray Paint to Dry?
Determining the amount of time it takes for spray paint to dry is tricky because dry times vary from surface to surface. It also depends on the type of spray paint you use.
For example, if you’re spray painting metal, dry time can be as little as ten minutes.
But if you’re spray painting untreated wood, which is a porous surface, the wood will soak up the paint, and it can take an hour or more before it’s dry to the touch.
As a general rule of thumb, expect a light coat of spray paint to dry in about 30 minutes. However, if you’re heavy-handed or are painting a porous surface, it can take up to an hour.
It’s also important to note that dry time and cure time are quite different.
When talking about dry time or surface dry, we’re referring to how long you should wait in between coats. On the other hand, cure time is how long it takes for the paint to fully dry and harden.
Here are some estimated spray paint dry times for popular surfaces:
Metal is one of the most commonly spray-painted surfaces. And luckily, it only takes about 10-30 minutes for spray paint to dry on metal surfaces.
If you’re spray painting glass, expect to wait about 15 minutes between coats. The paint should feel touch-dry before adding a second coat.
Plastic is another fast-drying, non-porous surface. You can expect a light coat of spray paint to dry on plastic in about 10-30 minutes.
Unfortunately, if you’re spray painting wood, you’ll need to be patient. It usually takes around an hour for spray paint to dry on wood.
If you didn’t use light coats or are working in a cold garage, expect it to take longer.
Concrete is a porous surface, so it takes longer to dry. You can expect it to take about an hour for concrete to feel dry to the touch, but it can take up to 24 hours, depending on the paint you use.
You can spray paint leather, but it’s essential to use very light coats. Allow the paint to dry for about 30 minutes or until it’s dry to the touch before adding a second layer.
Spray paint will dry on a canvas in about 30 minutes. However, it will take 24 hours for the paint to fully cure.
How long does it take spray paint to dry in the cold?
There’s no doubt – if you’re working in the cold, it will take your spray paint longer to dry. But it’s hard to say precisely how much longer.
And remember not to paint when it’s lower than 50 degrees. Doing so can affect the paint’s ability to dry and leave you with a goopy mess.
How to Make Spray Paint Dry Faster
Need to speed up dry time? There are a few things you can do without adversely affecting quality.
Here’s what to try.
Use Thin Coats of Paint
To make your paint job dry faster and look better, use very thin layers of spray paint. On surfaces like plastic or metal, a light coat will dry in as little as ten minutes.
Plus, when you use thin coats, you lessen the risk of runs and peeling paint.
Plan for the Weather
Humidity majorly affects the dry time of your projects. On high humidity days, your paint can take twice as long to dry or not dry properly at all.
Try planning your projects on days when humidity levels will be between 40-70%.
Also, factor in the temperature. The ideal temperature for spray painting is 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your paint will dry quickly if it’s on the warmer and sunnier end of that spectrum.
If you’re working in a garage or shop, plug in a fan to increase circulation and speed up dry times. (Just make sure no dirt or debris will get blown into the paint job.)
If temperatures are cooler, you can also use a space heater to add warmth.
As a general rule of thumb, expect spray paint to dry in about 30 minutes. However, if you’re painting a porous surface like wood or concrete, plan on waiting an hour in between coats.
You can look at the back of your spray paint can for approximate dry times.
If you want to speed up drying time, use light coats, paint on a warm and low humidity day, and use a fan to increase circulation if you’re going to paint or work on DIY projects in a garage.