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How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry?

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  • Post last modified:December 12, 2022

Spray paint, a versatile, affordable and handy paint material that can be a quick fix solution to turn ashes into assets.

But it can get really tricky when you start a DIY spray paint project without knowing the basics like how long you should wait for the paint to dry, or what are the variables that manipulates the drying process.

So keeping all the queries in mind, I have designed this article in a way that you will be getting every question answered regarding how long does spray paint take to dry?

Before asking how long does spray paint take to dry, you need to know what kind of dryness you want. So there are four possible answers for this question. They are:

  • Surface Dry
  • Tack Free Dry
  • Hard Dry
  • Thorough Dry

Let’s know more about the type of dryness first

Surface dry phase

When the solvent of the paint is evaporating, it leaves a thin layer on the surface which is seemingly hard. Yet it will feel sticky when you touch it. This is the first phase of drying.

Tack free dry

By tacking I mean slightly taping on the surface. And when you do that the paint might not come up. But with slightly pressed pressure it can come out wholly. So this phase is more stable but needs careful handling.

Hard dry

At this stage, the pint is hard and solid but not smudge free. So you can keep on taping but do not mess with it much. You know, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Through dry

So this is the stage you are safer than ever. You can tack, tap or mess, whatever you want to do, you can do it since you’ve reached the ultimate level you were seeking for.

Now that you know exactly what texture you are looking for, let me fast forward the conversation to factors that can boost up the process of drying.

how long paint spray take to dry

Select the Paint type

As I’ve already said that the drying time frame can be tricky, since there will be a lot of variables working simultaneously. So the first one in this regard is the type. Please follow the time frame of different paint type:

Latex Or Enamel

This are water based paints and the air to some extent. So the solvent evaporates faster and because of the air between the polymers it leaves a smooth surface. However, it can take up to 30 minutes to tack free dry and 8 hours to reach the ultimate level of dryness.


The catalyst of this type of paint is thermoplastic polymer. So it starts to dry just after 4 to 6 minutes. And only after 3 hours you can get a completely new, dry, painted surface.

Polyurethane Or Epoxy

With epoxy mixed in the paint, it becomes prone to dryness. You just need to mix the chemicals, wait until you get to see some reaction and paint. Viola! Within 1 hour you get the dryness you want.

Knowing the type of the surface 

Just keep in mind that the drying time frame partly depends on the materials also. Even if your paint is epoxy that doesn’t mean it will be dried in an hour. The following chart will help you to understand the timing more aptly

Surface Type

Estimated Time


Approximately 3-3.30 hours


20 minutes approx.

Metal (Doorknobs, Cars, Refrigerator)

10 minutes to hard dry


15 minutes to drip-free recoating

24 hours to dry completely


30 minutes for tack free

 More than 24 hours for thorough drying

Applying technique

Like other paints spray paints drying time also determined by the thickness of the coats. The thicker the layer, the drying time lingers. However, you are not using a brush to apply the paint, so you have full control over the thickness you want to apply. You can use best paint edgers to get the better finish, at the edges of your walls. But make sure you are not repeating the coats too fast.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry

Heat and humidity

While calculating the perfect climate, just be aware to avoid:

  • Excessive humidity
  • Extreme heat &

Make sure the climate condition is something in between. Because both of these factors are prone to cause melt down of the paint.

Extra tips to boost the drying process of spray paint

In order to fast forward the drying time of spray paint, you may follow the tips below:

  • If you are working indoor, clear the surface. Make sure it’s dust free. Then switch on the fan.
  • You can also turn on the heater for better drying.
  • For a confined room working and excessive humidity, you can use dehumidifier.
  • Don’t slather one coat after another. Rather try to coat in thin layers. Wait for a while, and put another coat (if needed).
  • If possible, try to work outside. Sunlight helps in drying paint more effectively.

Final Note

So I am ending my most comprehensive guide on how long does spray paint take to dry here, hoping that it will help you optimally. 

With that being said, if you follow this guideline you can not only accelerate the spray paint drying process but also you will be able to identify the texture and tone you want as your end product. Wihtout using brush, you can also us e

If you have any more question or queries, don’t forget to share it in the comments section below.

Brian Pierce

Brian Pierce is a professional gardener who has vast experience in gardening and home decorating. Being cultivating his skills, he has been to many home and garden related seminars of typical fashion. So, now he has decided to share his years of knowledge, experience, opinions, tips, and above all his hobby on the internet. Find him on Twitter here. Happy Reading!

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