Q: I found an old table and chair set at a thrift store, but the finish is scratched up and I’m not a huge fan of the current color. I’d like to spray paint the set to give it new life and help it match my dining room decor, but I’m not sure how long I should wait between applying each coat of paint. How long does it take for spray paint to dry?
A: “How long does spray paint take to dry?” is a common question that doesn’t have a simple answer. Even when you choose the best spray paint for your project, a number of variables can impact dry time, including the material type, the type of paint, and even the humidity and temperature. Additionally, there is a difference between paint being cured (100 percent dry) and just dry to the touch. You can apply additional coats of paint after just a few minutes, but it can take hours for the paint to cure and be fully dry. In many cases, the package instructions on the spray paint you’re using will offer the most reliable information to help you successfully complete a project. Continue reading to learn some general information about how long spray paint takes to dry and some other spray painting tips to help you plan out different projects.
When you’re asking, “How long does it take spray paint to dry?” the answer can vary greatly depending on the type of surface you’re painting. For example, if you’re spray painting furniture made from metal, the drying time will be different than if you’re spray painting a wooden sign. Generally speaking, smoother and nonporous surfaces dry more quickly than their rough and porous counterparts. Here are some estimated dry times for different surface types:
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How long for spray paint to dry can also vary based on the type of paint you use. Polyurethane and epoxy spray paints dry the fastest. After about 5 minutes the surface should be dry to the touch, and after only an hour it should be fully dry.
Lacquer spray paints are made with thermoplastic polymers that will offer a surface-dry feeling after just a few minutes. However, for lacquer paints to completely dry, you’ll need to wait approximately 3 hours.
Enamel and latex paints take the longest to dry. These paint types may require up to 8 hours to be fully dry.
The temperature in the space where you are working will also impact paint dry times. Generally speaking, warmer temperatures are better for helping spray paint dry more quickly. Spray paint in cold weather, especially in below-freezing temperatures, can freeze or have its consistency negatively impacted. In most cases, spray painting in an indoor or outdoor space with a temperature between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit will yield the best results.
The humidity of the space is another important factor to consider. High humidity levels will lead to increased drying times for all material types. For best results and faster drying times, work in a low-humidity space.
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How to Make Spray Paint Dry Faster
While there are a number of variables that can impact how long spray paint takes to dry, you can take steps to help the paint dry more quickly.
Thin coats of paint dry quicker than thicker coats. Rather than over-spraying to fully cover a surface, allow the first pass to dry for a few minutes, then spray some more. Applying thin coats of paint can also prevent the spray paint from running or pooling on the item.
As we shared above, spray paint takes longer to dry in high-humidity spaces. Taking measures to decrease the humidity before spray painting, such as using a dehumidifier or keeping the windows closed, can be effective. If you are planning on painting outside, check the weather forecast and avoid painting on humid days.
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Placing a fan close to the objects you spray paint can also help speed up dry times. Fans provide increased air circulation, which allows for faster evaporation and shorter drying times. However, if using a fan, make sure the area is free of dust or dirt to avoid blowing debris on your freshly painted surfaces.
One more tip for how to dry paint fast is to raise the temperature in the room. Consider turning up the thermostat when painting indoors, using a blow dryer over smaller surfaces, or placing painted items out in the warm sun to dry.