Here’s How Long It Takes for Spray Paint to Dry On Metal

So, you’re looking to spray paint something or have already done it and wondering, how long it takes for spray paint to dry on metal? The answer to that question is not really as straightforward as you might expect. 

Generally, the drying time of spray paint on metal will take approximately 15 to 30 mins max. But it can be faster or slower than that based on a number of factors like temperature, humidity, ventilation, technique etc. 

In this article, I will talk about how you can use all of these factors to speed up the drying process and guide you to a successful spray-painting job. So, without further ado, let’s get right to it. 

How to Make Spray Paint Dry Faster? 

There are many factors that come into play when determining the drying time of spray paint. So, based on those factors here are a few things that you can do to make your spray paint dry faster. 

  • Ensure A Controlled Environment

Starting with the environmental aspect, spray painting needs to be done in a controlled environment. There should be no direct sunlight or wind blowing into the room. If it’s a very windy day, you’re likely to get dust and debris onto your work and you don’t want that happening.

Though the spray paint would indeed dry faster on a hotter day when compared with a much colder and wetter day, direct sunlight will not be good for the paint. So, the best option is to prepare a spray-painting room where the job gets done.

  • Ensure Proper Ambient Temperature and Humidity 

It’s no surprise that temperature will have an immense effect on how long it’ll take for the spray paint to dry on metal. Normally, the optimal temperature is between 18 Degree Celsius to 29 Degree Celsius.

Too hot temperatures are not ideal for drying paint even though it may make it dry faster. So, it’s good to make sure that the temperature of the painting room does not reach further than the mentioned range. 

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And it will just be worse if the air is humid. If there’s more humidity, then it’ll take much longer for the spray paint to dry as there’s moisture in the air. This will prevent the spray paint from drying fast and will just keep it moist. Humidity should be below 85%. So, it’s better to not spray paint during a rainy day. 

On the other hand, colder temperatures are not necessarily bad when it comes to drying spray paint. It’s more preferred. But always be cautious and make sure that the temperature is not too cold so that your paint freezes instead of drying and then melts later on.

  • Spray lighter layers

Thicker coats will always take more time to dry so it’s best that you spray paint in lighter layers and wait for the coat to be semi-dry before applying the next one.

It’ll just take about 5 minutes and the semi-dry surface will help the new layer to stick to it more firmly. Once you wait for the layers to dry, you’ll essentially be cutting down the overall waiting time

  • Ventilation Is Critical 

More so than weather and temperature, focusing on ventilation will be more beneficial to make sure that your paint dries faster. If you already have a room set for spray painting, make sure that it’s properly ventilated. Add fans and vents for the air to pass as a congested area will not help your spray paint to dry faster.

Always remember that there is no perfect day for painting. You can’t get all the factors right on a single day, and if you keep waiting for the perfect day then you’ll end up never getting your work done.

  • Consider Using a Hairdryer

As absurd as those sounds, it will work on smaller objects. Once you’re done with the paint job, just run a hairdryer over the surface. That will pretty much dry your paint faster. Be sure to use furniture polish once you’ve finished.

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Why Proper Prep of the Surface Material Matters?

If you want your paint to dry smoothly, it’s very important to make sure that the surface area is prepared finely. Get rid of all the rust, oil, grease, water and not to mention the old paint and dust along with it. There should be no remains of any debris.

The surface should be completely bare so that the new paint can be applied without leaving any unevenness. So, get that sandpaper, steel wool, or emery cloth files and get to work! Acetone works best in removing oil residue but you can use alcohol pads too if you have them laying around.

Do remember that you shouldn’t touch the freshly bared surface of the metal as your hands might leave oil prints behind. So instead use rubber gloves. Now that your metal surface is ready to use, you can start the painting process.

Once you’re ready to put the final coats on your metal, it’s wise to use a primer that is recommended for metal surfaces.  This will provide extra protection and lifetime of the coating

If you have all these covered, it’s safe to bet that you can even get away with painting your metal with a paint that’s not even meant for metal surfaces. So, the key to a good paint job is preparation.

The Best Type Of Spray Paint For Metal

If you’re looking for rust proof spray paint, the hard-wearing enamel should be your first choice. But the downside is the fact that it takes a bit of time to dry which isn’t helpful to this article’s cause. But there are certain methods that we will learn that are perfect to ensure long-lasting and fast-drying paint jobs.

When it comes to the application of spray paint on metal, it’s the same as others:

  • Shake the cans multiple times for the paint to mix well
  • When you’re spraying, make sure that you’re using a long sweeping motion. As if you’re sweeping the floor at high speed. This will prevent your spray paint from dripping. Because drips will just lead to more time wasted in drying.
  • If there are signs of dripping, quickly wipe it clean and continue
  • To make sure that you’re getting the best results, apply up to 3 coats. To make it dry fast, allow the individual layers to dry before starting the next layer.
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Is It Better to Spray Paint or Brush Paint Metal?

Brush painting and spray painting both have their highs and lows when it comes to painting metal surfaces. Brushed paint is much more durable while spray paint is a lot more time efficient. 

With spray painting you are projecting your paint at high speeds. Covering more of the metal surface faster. And with a proper technique you have a better chance at applying an even coating. This will result in a much more premium looking finish. Also spray paint comes without the hassle for post-work clean ups. 

With brushed paint, you will generally have a more durable finish. But it’s going to take a lot more time and patience on your part. However, it’s going to take some time for the paint job to dry and you’re going to have to do a lot of cleaning after you are done. 

I personally prefer spray painting over brush. I prefer not wasting hours or even days hand painting something.


There are just so many factors influencing spray paint drying time that pinpointing exactly when it has dried is very difficult. The general rule of thumb would be to wait from three hours to overnight. That way you can be sure that the paint has dried. So that’s it on how long for spray paint to dry on metal. I hope this article was able to clear your confusion and answer the questions you were looking for. Thank you and have a nice day!