Skip to Content

How Long Does Metal Paint Take to Dry? (Read This First!)

Whenever you paint a metal surface, you should know how long it will take for the paint to dry. It can take longer or shorter depending on the weather and the type of metal being painted. 

Read on to find out when your painting will be completed, whether you require a new coat or just want to know when it will be done.

How long does metal paint take to dry?

Paint on metal can take anywhere from 1 hour to 24 hours to dry. Generally, oil-based paint dries more slowly than water-based paint. Spray paint is the fastest method, dries within 15 minutes. Wait until the paint is completely dry before vacuuming away any dust or residue left behind by the tape.

In addition, it is important to wait two hours after a layer dries before adding new layers when painting with different mediums. If left untreated or perfected by previous coats, metal absorbs moisture through its pores, which can deteriorate the smoothness of the finish.

Hammerite metal paint:

In normal temperatures, Hammerite metal paint takes 1 to 2 hours to dry. The paint will dry faster if you live in a warm climate. Hammerite metal paint can be painted and finished in 45 minutes if it is sprayed in a warm climate. 

For cold climates, layer time will be increased to 1-2 hours for regular temperatures, and to 3-4 hours for colder temperatures.

Spray metal paint:

The spray paint will dry almost immediately (10 to 15 minutes). It is important to know that high winds can cause drying inconsistencies, making it necessary to wait 24 hours before painting again.

Enamel metal paint:

Enamel paint usually dries in about 2-3 hours. They can take up to 12 hours when the temperature is below 40 degrees or when there is a lot of humidity in the air.

Acrylic metal paint:

Metal paints painted with acrylic dry within 48 hours. It is important to let the paint completely dry before applying another coat, as it can be difficult to apply thinly.

Oil metal paint:

Paints made of oil dry very slowly, taking anywhere from one day to one week to fully cure. Regardless of their slow drying speed, oil paints are very durable. 

Depending on the climate, it may take 1–2 days for a patch test to show the effects of the type and thickness of the metal coat.

Rustoleum spray metal paint:

Rustoleum spray paint dries quickly and is easy to apply. In one hour, it will be dry enough to touch. Afterward, it will be fully dry within 24 hours. The paint, however, can be hard to clean up since it sticks to everything.

How long does it take for metal paint to dry on a metal door?

It can take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours for metal paint to dry on a metal door. Several factors influence the drying time, including temperature and humidity.

Paint on metal doors that are constructed from hard, durable materials, such as aluminum, dries fastest when they are painted. However, it might take a couple of days for the paint to completely dry. 

Before you use the door again, you should allow it to cure and air out for an extended period.

How long should I wait between coats of paint on metal?

It is recommended that you wait at least two hours after painting the metal before you apply another coat. After several days the previous paint will have dried enough so that a new coat can be applied smoothly and without any peeling or bubbling.

When it comes to outdoor items, it is recommended to wait even longer – up to 24 hours before using them. When you apply the paint too soon after an additional layer of paint has been applied, it may chip or peel.

5 factors that affect metal paint dry time

Metal paint is affected by numerous factors, such as paint type, humidity levels, temperature, and air quality. These are the five most common ones:


Drastic weather conditions can cause paint to dry more quickly than usual. It’s important to keep in mind that rain can also cause corrosion and other damage, which can further slowdown the painting process.


When painted surfaces dry, their adhesion to the paint may be affected. As paint thickens, it may not adhere to the surface as well. During the painting process, make sure the room temperature is consistent, so your paintings will look smooth and uniform.

Element Ratio:

When the paint is overwatered or has the wrong material ratio, it may dry too fast or bubble up when exposed to air (less moisture = less absorption). It is always preferable to use oil-based paint instead of water-based. 

However, keep in mind that both have specific uses and limitations.

Ventilation/AC Units:

Make sure you have adequate ventilation when working in large areas or spending long periods outside. AC units can lead to mold growth in paintings due to condensation, which builds up on painted surfaces when high levels of humidity are present.

Type of Paint:

Latex and alkyd enamels dry more slowly than other types of paints because of their higher water content. To achieve a smooth and professional finish, it’s important to keep track of all the different factors that affect how fast metal paint dries.

What paint to use in metal? 

The most durable way to paint metals is with oil-based paints. Furthermore, oil-based paint has a shorter shelf life than alkyd paint, so you will need to buy new cans almost every six months.

Enamels with a water base are perfect for smaller tasks and thinner pieces. However, too much water can cause all sorts of problems. It can exhibit unevenness holding curves in place, to a longer drying time that could lead to flaws when dry, compared to oil-based paint.

Latex paints are known for their glossy sheen and can be very durable, but also tend to dry slowly. Furthermore, latex paint is highly sensitive to water – overprinting the limit can result in a “flood” or seepage under other parts of the painting, ruining the final finish.

How do you make metal paint dry faster?

There are a few things you can do to speed up the drying process for metal paint. Applying primer first is one of the most common methods. In addition to maximizing absorption, this will act as an adhesion promoter for subsequent coatings. 

Here are some more tips for getting metal paint to dry faster.

Make sure your surfaces are clean and oil-free:

The first step is to make sure the surfaces are clean and free of oils – this will help the drying process along. Use the minimum amount of water when painting to prevent subsequent problems.

Make the surface dry:

Make sure the surface is completely dry before adding the final layer of paint. In this way, it will be easier to prevent water or oil from seeping under the coats and ruining them. Before applying the final coats, ensure that the surface has been thoroughly cleaned.

After finishing, let your paintwork air dry:

Let the final coat of paint air dry for a few days before sealing or decorating. This will reduce the chances of moisture settling and causing problems.

Put on a thin coat:

Instead of applying heavy layers of paint, apply a thin coat. In doing so, you will speed up the drying process and reduce the likelihood of flaking or peeling.

Maintain a low humidity environment:

Install a dew-sensor/dryer to control the level of moisture in the air if you must work in a low-humidity environment. The dryer will also increase drying time.

Add a retardant to the paint:

If you are using water-based paint, add a retardant, such as a linseed oil or mineral spirits. Using this method will ensure that the paint dries quickly and without any problems.

Coat the metal with a sealant:

Coat the metal with epoxy to prevent the paint from fading or staining over time. It will protect the finish and ensure that it lasts for years, and it will also make the process more efficient.

Final Thoughts

Metal paint can take anywhere from one to twenty-four hours to dry. It is best to wait for the paint to completely dry before handling it or storing it in an area with high humidity. However, the time required may vary depending on the type of metal paint applied and the weather conditions.