When using spray paint for a project, you might wonder how long the paint will take to dry. You want to get back to work on your project as soon as feasible. Like most others, you’ve probably questioned what conditions you’ll need and how to get spray paint to dry faster.
Because it takes spray paint so much drying time in certain conditions, the simplest solution is to change parts of your environment, such as ventilation or humidity, to achieve faster drying results with your oil-based spray paint.
In our guide, you can learn more about spray paint cure time and how it compares to dry time. By the end, you’ll know more about how long it takes paint to dry naturally and how to make spray paint dry faster. (Read Can You Paint Enamel Over Acrylic)
How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry?
Spray paint dries in a few hours and can be handled and re-coated. Some brands, however, take much longer to fully cure, whereas the paint requires up to 24 hours.
For a precise idea of how long it will take to dry, look at the label on the spray paint can. This is, however, an estimate. The humidity, air circulation, and the paintable surface affect how long spray paint takes to dry.
What Do Dry Time and Cure Time Mean?
To understand how spray paint dries, we must first define dry and cure times. The dry time of painting refers to the time between coats or recoats. The cure time is the time it takes for the paint to dry before you can utilize it.
Spray paint has four drying stages, including:
- Surface dry: Solvents evaporate.
- Touch dry: Paint no longer feels tacky on the finger.
- Hard dry: The upper layer of paint is hard.
- Totally dry or fully cured: The entire surface is dry and can be used.
The cure time is prolonged because the solvents evaporate from the paint surface as it dries. The paint cures when the leftover solvents leave the coating and bond with the air.
Does Spray Paint Dry Faster in Heat or Colder Temperatures?
When painting interiors and exteriors, it’s helpful to understand how spray paint dries at different temperatures.
- For paint to dry properly, the temperature must remain above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If the paint freezes, it will take longer to dry and damage your project.
- Paint does not adhere to the surface when temperatures are too cold as the paint is sticky.
- Hotter temperatures help paint dry faster.
- When the temperature is too high, the paint dry too fast and cracks.
- When the temperature rises above 90 degrees F, avoid spray painting.
For the best temperatures, check the spray can. For example, if you live in northern regions with long, cold winters, several brands make spray paint that can be used in colder temperatures.
In hotter climates, a medium-speed fan is recommended. It helps move air and remove moisture from the paint to help dry spray paint faster.
The ideal temperature range is 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with less than 85% relative humidity. Unfortunately, the weather is hot and humid, and painting in direct sunlight will be difficult. (Read Drywall Vs Plaster How To Tell)
Does Spray Paint Dry Faster in the Sun?
Avoid spray painting in direct sunlight for the best effects. Spray paint might dry too fast in the sun, creating peeling or marks. You want to work outside in the sun but not dry the object. Latex paints, for example, dry too fast and crack.
How To Make Spray Paint Dry Faster?
Oil-based paints can dry faster using various methods because they use less paint than other application methods. The most straightforward approaches involve adjusting environmental factors such as air circulation, humidity, or heat.
The time you apply the paint might significantly impact how long it takes to dry. There are several ways to speed up drying paint.
Use Thin Coats
Paint in thin coats is the best paint technique to make spray paint dry faster. The spray paint application results in thin coats already, although you may make mistakes that cause the paint to dry slower.
If your coats are too thick, they may cause sticky paint, and they could run. To achieve the best effects, move the paint can around the surface with your entire hand to get a thin coat and avoid just using wrist movement.
Low humidity is required for spray paints to dry rapidly. High humidity slows the drying process and can even cause damage to your paint jobs, such as paint drips and dust contamination. Humidity levels of 40 to 70% are ideal. Never paint on highly humid days; if the air is humid, a dehumidifier can help if painting indoors. (Learn How Long Does Tile Mortar Take To Dry)
If your house is humid, it may be beneficial to open windows and doors when painting. If it’s humid outdoors, close the windows, and if you have an air conditioner, you can use this when painting inside.
Use Air Circulation
Paint, especially spray paint, requires good ventilation as most spray paints include harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It’s critical to keep windows open so there is plenty of ventilation before painting.
You can use a fan to increase air circulation if working indoors, and after you’ve finished painting, turn on the fan to speed up the drying process. Painting in a garage, you can use a box fan, and if painting outdoors, ensure you do not spray paint on windy days.
A space heater is a fantastic technique to help decrease drying time, mainly when used with a box fan and increased airflow. If you need to reduce the drying time by a few hours, the combination of higher temperatures and circulation makes the difference.
In cold weather or humid days, a heater is essential because it helps reduce humidity. (Read Latex Paint Vs Enamel)
Running a heater alone doesn’t significantly reduce drying time, but it can enable fast-drying spray paint for a few hours rather than a full day. If you don’t have access to a space heater, you can use a hairdryer to dry the painted surface.
Paint During A Sunny Day
Choosing a sunny day to paint outside allows you to regulate the environment without overthinking heat, humidity, or ventilation. Summer painting is popular because the warm weather speeds up the drying process.
Begin painting early in the morning, so the pieces have time to dry. Painting is best done between 65- and 85-degrees F with no signs of rain.
Coat Spray Paint with Furniture Polish
Applying a spray-on wax-based furniture polish helps make spray paint dry faster.
- Spray paint as usual, then polish it.
- Spray the painted surface from a couple of inches above the object using several thin layers.
- Let it dry for 5 minutes before applying another coat.
- Gently wipe excess polish with a soft rag and avoid too much pressure, which could cause your paint to flake.
Wood needs 2-3 layers of furniture polish, although you’ll still need to test for dryness before handling your item.
Curing Paint in Oven
Curing spray paint is possible in a toaster oven if your pieces are small enough to fit. Bake the spray paint at 250°F for two hours when it is dry to the touch. Baking enamel paint is a prime example of this technique.
Never use your home oven to dry paint. When you cure spray paint this way, it releases dangerous VOCs and chemicals into the air. These chemicals could be released into food when using the same oven. Therefore, caution is advised, so use a toaster oven to dry paint. (Learn How To Wire A Stove)
Use a Heat Gun So Paint Dries Faster
A heat gun is widely used to remove paint from many surfaces. However, the heat gun helps dry paint faster when used on a lower setting. Plug in a heat gun and set it to 450°F to dry spray paint. Ensure to avoid temperatures above 750°F, or your paint may bubble and peel.
The process works better on hard surfaces such as wooden furniture than on flammable surfaces like canvas or fabrics. Keep the heat gun 2 inches away from the painted surface, move the heat gun continuously to distribute the heat, and never leave the gun in one position for too long. A hairdryer could be an alternative, yet this may need to be on the highest setting rather than the lowest.
How Long Does It Take for Spray Paint to Dry on Different Materials?
The drying time of spray paint varies depending on the surface. A porous surface, for example, may take longer for spray paint to dry. However, materials and drying time differences do not significantly affect the drying process.
Because wood is porous, it often requires many coats of paint. In addition, most wooden surfaces need at least two hours to dry. Water-based paint dries faster than oil-based paint on wood. To paint wood faster, use a heater or paint on a sunny day between 65- and 85-degrees F.
Metal surfaces dry quickly typically. Spray paint can dry in 10 minutes on a warm, sunny day with low humidity. Warmer temperatures can speed up the dry time of metal spray paint. It may help to paint using a space heater, heat lamps, or paint outside on a warm day.
Like paper, cardboard is porous, soft, and easily warped by too much paint. So be careful not to over-paint. Ventilation can reduce the time to dry spray paint to 15 minutes. Paint outside or near a box fan for these results. Try applying wax-based furniture polish on cardboard. The polish also functions as a paint sealer, ideal for working with cardboard. Also, the spray is light and does not run.
Does Spray Paint Need to Dry Before Adding Another Coat?
Do you need to let the first coat cure completely before applying another coat of spray paint? No. Before applying the second coat, the paint should be dry to the touch or semi-dry. Add another layer when the paint seems dry. Avoid painting late in the day or evening, as this lengthens your drying time depending on the surface and if you use fans or heaters to quicken drying.
Using a Heat Source Effectively
This drying method is ideal for homeowners who need to paint their homes quickly in the winter. No matter what surface you’re painting (wall, metal, wood, plastic, paper, or canvas), a space heater can help speed up the drying process.
You can also use a hair dryer, a lamp, an oven, or a heat gun for paint drying. It’s also possible to paint a little wall section and then go to the next one.
Using a heat gun or hairdryer to dry paint on large surfaces may seem tiresome. Regardless of the drying method, do not overheat the wet paint, as this may cause fissures in the finish and faster chipping.
Heaters or heat lamps might help paint drying when spraying painting drywall in freezing temperatures. Paint the surface with acrylic paints in washes, then cover it with a thin layer of oil paint. While numerous acrylic and chalk paints can dry faster, it is best to wait for the best temperature and weather conditions for painting. This will ensure the best quality paint job.