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

We all have been there. There is at least once when we have applied a fresh coat of spray paint on our wall or any other surface and had no idea if it had dried or not. Many times, in our attempt to check the condition of the paint, the painted surface gets blemished, and in turn, also sticks to our body. 

Here in this article, we will be determining how long does spray paint take to dry.


It is essential to understand the 4 stages of drying when you have spray painted a certain item.

4 Stages Of Drying

  • Surface Dry
  • Touch dry
  • Hard dry
  • Thorough dry

The surface drying takes place due to evaporation of the solvent in the paint. During this time, a thin layer is formed on the surface which can easily stick to any surface or come off.

Before we can answer the question how long does spray paint take to dry, we have to understand that the drying time of spray paint is dependent on 4 important factors.

Factors Which Decide The Drying Time Of Spray Paint

The Nature Of The Surface

The nature of the surface that you apply the paint on heavily influences the time it would take for the paint to dry. Metal surfaces dry faster or slower depending on the environmental conditions.

Spray paint dries faster when applied on a metal surface if the conditions are hot and the environment has less humidity. The drying of spray paint is also relatively faster if the surface is concrete or brick.

But it takes longer for spray paint to dry on wood as the paint easily gets absorbed into the surface. So, it is always better to purchase a paint that is specifically designed for the surface that you plan to use.

How Thickness Of The Paint Layer Is

The thickness of the paint layer being applied also plays a role in determining the time it takes for the paint to dry. A thicker coat of paint may take longer to dry when compared to a lighter coat. The consistency of spray painting is usually less than that of brushing.

Paint Thickness Tester via Amazon.com

Spray paint layer thickness can be controlled by mixing it with solvents and thinner depending on your requirement. If you are applying more than one layer of paint, be sure to apply the second layer only after the first layer has completely dried.

The Environmental Condition

Like we have seen above, the environmental conditions also play an important part in the time it takes for the paint to dry. Drying is always faster in hot and less humid conditions.

The Type Of The Paint Applied

It is an obvious fact that the type of paint that you apply influences how long it takes to dry.

Processes To Dry Your Spray Paint

Enamel Paint

This mostly occurs in latex paints. In this drying process, the surface begins to dry in the first few minutes because of the evaporation of the solvent. The presence of air causes cross-linking of polymers and forms a hard surface.

The surface dry process may take from 10 to 30 minutes whereas hard dry can take up to 8 hours. Thorough dry may even take an entire day.

Lacquers Paint

This works by the evaporation of solvent alone. This is found in some kinds of latex paints which use water as thinner. These are made of thermoplastic polymer. In this case, surface dry can take from 3 to 5 minutes whereas touch dry can take 10 minutes. Hard dry can take from 2 to 3 hours.

Epoxy or Polyurethane or Polyester Multi-Pack Paints

These paints dry with help of a chemical reaction between the two ingredients. The drying process is faster in these paints as surface dry may take around 5 minutes and hard dry can take around 30 minutes to 1 hour.


Checking whether the spray paint you have just applied has dried or not is something that all of us should know. Never use your hands to see if your paint has dried or not. This way, you might end up leaving your impression the surface and blemish the coat.

The best way to find if your paint is dried and is ready to go is by smelling it. If it is possible to smell the paint, it means that it hasn’t been properly cured yet.

What are your views on this? How do you check if the paint has dried? Do let us know in the comments.

Abigail Jones

Hi, I'm Abigail. I like spending time tearing my house apart and putting it together back again. Join me on home improvement tutorials, tips on my blog.

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