Does Spray Paint Dry Faster in the Sun? Uncover the Truth

Bob Thomas
Yes, thanks to higher temperatures and lower humidity. But beware: direct sunlight can cause unevenness. Want the best results? Dive into the details below!

As a qualified painter and decorator, I've had my fair share of experiences working with spray paint.

One question that often comes up is whether spray paint dries faster in the sun.

Well, it's time to uncover the truth! In this article, we'll explore the factors affecting spray paint drying time, including the impact of sunlight, and provide some tips to ensure your spray paint projects dry quickly and evenly.

Quick Summary

  • Sunlight can help spray paint dry faster due to heat and reduced humidity, however it can also cause issues, such as cracking and blistering. 
  • Other factors, such as type of paint, surface, and application method, also influence drying time
  • Proper preparation and technique can help achieve optimal drying times

Does Sunlight Speed Up Spray Paint Drying Time?

The short answer is yes, sunlight can help spray paint dry faster.

The heat from the sun raises the temperature of the painted surface, speeding up the drying process.

Additionally, sunlight often means lower humidity, which can also contribute to faster drying times.

While the sun's role in accelerating spray paint drying is evident, it's not without its complications.

Using direct sunlight might seem like a quick solution, but there are important drawbacks to be aware of before you place your freshly painted item under the sun's rays.

Drawbacks of Drying Spray Paint in Direct Sunlight

While the sun speeds up drying time, too much UV exposure can ruin your paint job's finish.

Here's how to avoid sun damage:

Excessive sunlight can create an uneven, blotchy appearance. The surface dries rapidly, but shaded areas lag behind leading to visible inconsistencies. Drying out of direct sun allows paint to cure evenly.

Blistering bubbles happen when solvents evaporate too quickly in the heat. The top layer dries before underlayers, trapping solvents which then push upward through the paint. Slow evaporation in indirect sun prevents blisters.

Intense UV rays may cause paint to fade or discolor over time. The sun's energy degrades pigments, especially in paints without UV blockers. Curing paint away from direct rays preserves the intended hue.

Rapid moisture evaporation can inhibit paint from properly adhering to the surface leading to cracks as it contracts and expands. Gradual drying in ambient shade allows paint to bond tightly to the substrate.

Other Factors Affecting Spray Paint Drying Time

  1. Type of paint: Different spray paints have different drying times. Oil-based paints typically take longer to dry compared to water-based or acrylic paints.
  2. Surface: The material you're painting on can impact drying time. Porous surfaces like wood may absorb paint and dry faster, while non-porous surfaces like metal may take longer.
  3. Application method: Applying thin, even coats will help the paint dry faster. Thick or uneven coats can lead to longer drying times and potential issues like bubbling or cracking.
  4. Ambient temperature and humidity: Ideal drying conditions for spray paint are typically between 65-85°F (18-29°C) with humidity below 50%. Higher humidity and lower temperatures can slow down the drying process.

Tips for Faster Spray Paint Drying

  • Choose the right paint: Opt for fast-drying spray paints when possible. Check the label for drying times and recommendations.
  • Proper surface preparation: Clean and dry the surface thoroughly before painting. This will ensure better adhesion and faster drying.
  • Apply thin, even coats: Use a sweeping motion to apply thin, even layers of paint. Allow each coat to dry partially before applying the next coat.
  • Use a fan or heater: In cooler or humid conditions, consider using a fan or heater to help speed up the drying process. Just be cautious not to blow dust or debris onto the wet paint.
  • Be patient: While it's tempting to rush the drying process, giving your spray paint project ample time to dry will lead to better results in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions Section (FAQs)

Q. How long does it typically take for spray paint to dry?

  A: The drying time for spray paint can vary depending on the type of paint, the surface being painted, and the environmental conditions.

On average, spray paint takes about 15-30 minutes to become touch-dry and 1-2 hours to dry completely.

However, drying times can be faster in the sun and warmer temperatures.

Q. Can humidity affect the drying time of spray paint?

  A: Yes, humidity can significantly impact the drying time of spray paint.

High humidity levels can slow down the drying process, while low humidity can help speed it up.

It is recommended to paint in conditions with humidity levels between 40% and 70% for the best results.

Q. What are some other factors that can affect the drying time of spray paint?

  A: Aside from sunlight and temperature, factors such as the thickness of the paint layer, the type of surface being painted, and proper ventilation can also influence the drying time of spray paint.

Applying a thinner layer of paint and ensuring good ventilation can help speed up the drying process.

Q. Is it better to paint in direct sunlight or in the shade?

  A: While sunlight can help speed up the drying process, painting in direct sunlight can also cause the paint to dry too quickly, leading to an uneven finish or even cracking.

It is generally recommended to paint in a shaded area or during cooler parts of the day to avoid these issues.

Q. How can I speed up the drying process if I'm not painting in the sun?

  A: If you're unable to paint in the sun or prefer not to, there are other ways to speed up the drying process.

You can use a fan or a hairdryer to help circulate air around the painted surface, ensuring proper ventilation in the area.

Additionally, applying thinner layers of paint and allowing each layer to dry completely before applying another can also help speed up the drying time.


While sunlight can indeed help spray paint dry faster, it's essential to consider other factors like the type of paint, surface, and application method.

By properly preparing your surface and using the right techniques, you can ensure your spray paint projects dry quickly and evenly.

So, the next time you're working on a spray paint project, don't hesitate to take advantage of a sunny day to speed up the drying process.

About the author 

Bob Thomas

A fully certified interior decorator and house painter , Bob Thomas brings immense expertise and knowledge amassed from many years of hands-on experience with residential, commercial and specialty painting and decorating projects of all sizes and scopes.

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