Does Paint Dry Faster in The Sun? (Spray, Brushed, Rolled)

If you are planning your next painting project, you might wonder whether or not you can speed up your paint’s drying time by moving it outside in the sun to dry. But does paint dry faster in the sun? Are there any issues with drying paint in the sun?

Paint will definitely dry faster in the sun but it can also cause problems with bubbling, blistering, flaking, and peeling because the excess heat causes the top layer of the paint to dry much quicker than the layer directly touching the painted surface. In most cases, it is best to dry paint in an area close to room temperature with relatively low humidity and no wind.

Let’s take a closer look at the direct and indirect effects of sun on your paint to see when or IF it makes sense to dry paint in the sun!

Impact of the sun on spray paint drying time

So it is probably fairly obvious that paint will dry faster in the sun, but why?

There are three main factors:

  • Heat
  • UV rays
  • Weather


One of the main factors that contribute to quicker drying time is heat. As the temperature rises, the solvent in the paint evaporates at a faster rate. In the presence of sunlight, your spray paint will experience a faster drying process.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that extremely high temperatures may cause the paint to dry too quickly, potentially leading to cracking or peeling.

Impact of the sun on spray paint drying time

UV rays

In addition to heat, direct sunlight exposes your paint to ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can have both positive and negative effects on the drying process. On the one hand, UV rays can help speed up drying by breaking down the chemical bonds in the paint, allowing it to cure more quickly.

On the other hand, prolonged exposure to UV rays may cause the paint to fade or become discolored over time.

To balance these effects, try to paint in an area that gets partial sunlight or shade.


Different weather conditions can also impact the drying time of spray paint. Here are some ideal weather conditions for painting:

  • Air temperature: Aim for a day with a temperature between 50°F (10°C) and 90°F (32°C). This range ensures that the spray paint evaporates and cures properly without drying too quickly or too slowly.
  • Humidity: Lower humidity levels allow the paint to dry faster, as there is less moisture in the air to slow down evaporation. Strive for a day with humidity levels below 65%.
  • Wind: A light breeze can actually help speed up the drying process by whisking away solvent vapors, but strong winds may introduce dirt and debris, which could compromise the quality of your paint job.

By factoring in the sun’s impact, including heat, direct sunlight, and weather conditions, you can optimize the drying time for your paint projects and achieve the best possible results.

weather and drying paint outside

Other factors affecting spray paint drying time

In general, there are 4 main factors to consider anytime you are thinking about paint drying times:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Paint type and thickness
  • Surface material and preparation


Apart from sunlight, there are other factors that can affect the drying time of paint. One crucial factor is the temperature.

Generally, warmer temperatures tend to reduce drying time, while colder temperatures extend it. It’s recommended that you spray paint in temperatures between 50-90°F (10-32°C) for optimal results.

ideal temperatures for drying paint


Humidity levels also play a significant role. High humidity can slow down the drying process, as the moisture in the air competes with the paint’s solvents in evaporating.

Low humidity is beneficial for faster drying. So consider monitoring the local humidity levels and choose a day with lower humidity for your painting project.

Paint type and thickness

The type of paint you use can affect the drying time as well – including enamel, latex, oil-based paint, and water-based paint. Enamel and oil-based paints usually take longer to dry, while latex and water-based paints tend to dry faster. Also, the solvent used in the paint formulation influences the drying time, with some solvents evaporating faster than others.

The thickness of the paint application also comes into play. The thicker the paint, the longer it’ll take to dry. So, to speed up the drying process, it’s advisable to apply thin, even coats of paint and allow each layer to dry completely before applying the next one.

Surface material and preparation

Lastly, the material of the surface you’re painting can affect drying time. For example, wood, plastic, and metal surfaces have different absorption and drying characteristics. Paint dries faster on porous surfaces like wood, while it takes longer on non-porous surfaces such as plastic and metal.

Proper surface preparation is crucial for a successful painting project. Ensure the surface is clean, dry, and free of any debris or contaminants before applying the paint. In some cases, it’s also helpful to apply a primer to create an ideal painting surface and promote better adhesion, which can contribute to faster drying times.

In conclusion, the drying time of paint can be influenced by factors such as temperature, humidity, paint type, thickness, and surface material, in addition to sunlight exposure. By considering these factors and following best practices, you can improve the chances of your paint drying more efficiently.

Surface material and preparation for painting

Popular ways to accelerate the drying time of spray paint

Instead of trying to speed up your paint drying outside in the sun, focus on some other practical methods to help make things go a little quicker but also avoid the big issues with drying paint in the sun.

  • Improving air circulation
  • Use a heater
  • Apply thinner coats

Improving air circulation

To speed up the drying process of your paint, improving the air circulation around the painted object is essential. You can use a fan or a dehumidifier to increase the airflow, which helps evaporate the solvents in the paint faster.

Make sure the area is well-ventilated, as this not only promotes quicker drying but also reduces fumes and any health risks.

Improving air circulation

Use a heater

Another effective way to reduce the drying time is by using heaters. A space heater can be a practical choice, as it generates heat and improves the surrounding air temperature.

Place the heater at a safe distance from the painted object, ensuring it doesn’t cause blistering or other paint defects. Keep in mind that safety precautions need to be taken when using heaters, especially in confined spaces.

Applying thinner coats

Applying thinner coats of paint is also beneficial in reducing drying times. By using paint thinner or simply applying lighter layers, you minimize the amount of solvent that needs to evaporate before the paint fully dries. Remember to avoid heavy applications or overlapping layers, as this could lead to uneven drying and an undesired finish.

By employing these simple techniques, you can significantly decrease the time it takes for your spray paint to dry, ultimately making your painting project more efficient and enjoyable.

How to avoid potential issues when drying paint in the sun

While drying paint in the sun can speed up the process, it’s important to be aware of some potential issues that may affect the quality and longevity of your paint job.

In this section, we’ll discuss how to avoid bubbles and blistering, as well as prevent flaking and peeling of the paint.

Avoiding Bubbles and Blistering

When drying paint in the sun, you might encounter bubbles or blistering due to the heat and intense UV exposure.

To minimize these risks, follow these tips:

  • Choose the right time: Try to apply and dry your spray paint in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is less intense and the temperature is cooler.
  • Ensure proper surface preparation: Make sure the surface you are painting is clean, dry, and free of any debris. This helps to create a smooth paint film and reduces the chance of imperfections like bubbles or blisters.
  • Apply thin, even coats: Applying multiple thin coats of paint will allow the paint to dry more evenly, reducing the likelihood of bubbles forming.

Remember, it’s essential to keep an eye on the paint’s curing condition as it dries to identify any potential issues quickly.

Avoiding Bubbles and Blistering

Preventing Flaking and Peeling

If spray paint isn’t dried correctly, it can lead to flaking or peeling down the line.

Here are some steps you can take to prevent these issues:

  • Wait for optimal conditions: Avoid painting on days with extreme heat, humidity, or direct sunlight, as this can lead to a breakdown in the paint’s adhesive properties and cause it to crack or peel.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: Be sure to follow the guidance provided on the spray paint can regarding drying times and conditions, as different formulations may require specific conditions to cure optimally.
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure: Once the paint is dry, try to minimize the painted item’s exposure to direct sunlight if possible. Over time, prolonged exposure can weaken the paint film and lead to flaking and peeling.

By considering these tips when drying paint in the sun, you can help ensure a long-lasting and high-quality paint job while avoiding common pitfalls such as bubbles, blistering, flaking, and peeling.

Preventing Flaking and Peeling

Does spray paint dry faster in the sun?

In the end, your spray painting project’s drying time depends on various factors, including the presence of sunlight, temperature, and humidity. When exposed to direct sunlight, the paint may dry faster due to the increased evaporation rate.

However, be cautious as excessive heat or direct sun exposure can also lead to undesirable effects, such as uneven drying and color fading.

It is essential to consider the paint manufacturer’s recommendations regarding optimal drying conditions. Most spray paints will include information on the best temperature and humidity levels for a successful application. By following these guidelines closely, you can ensure a flawless and long-lasting paint job.

Keep track of weather conditions during your spray painting project – especially temperature and humidity. Ideal conditions vary depending on the paint, but generally, outdoor painting is best when the temperature is between 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity is below 85%.

Moreover, it’s necessary to apply multiple thin coats instead of one thick layer to ensure a more even and faster drying process. Thin coats will help the paint dry more uniformly and reduce the risk of drips or runs in the finish.

To sum up, while drying spray paint in the sun can expedite the process, it is crucial to be mindful of the potential drawbacks and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. By understanding the importance of proper drying conditions, you can enhance the longevity and appearance of your painted surfaces, yielding professional and satisfying results in your projects.

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