What Temperature is Best to Spray Paint?

Spray painting might seem easy enough at first glance. But as you start the job you will realize that it’s actually not that simple. You have to be aware of many different things while spray painting to get a picture-perfect finish. 

One of these factors is temperature. Monitoring the temperature is vitally important when it comes to spray paint. So, what temperature is best to spray paint?

In short, too hot or too cold temperature is not conducive to painting properly. The absolutely ideal temperature is 18 degrees to 25 degrees celsius. The more the deviation from this ideal temperature the more challenges you will face when spray painting.

Keep reading this article to know more about how temperature affects spray painting and how to overcome the challenges when the temperature gets out of the optimum range. This article will also talk about some of the best practices followed by professionals.

Why does Temperature Control Matter When Spray Painting?

When you are spray painting, the temperature will be a critical element in determining how the end result will turn out to be. Just like any other liquid temperature the density of the paint changes with the change in temperature.

So, if the temperature goes below the ideal range then, then the liquid paint in the cans will become denser. It’s also difficult to dry paint in a colder climate. On the other hand, in extremely hot temperatures, the paint dries too quickly. So, it does not even have the chance to spread throughout the “canvas” properly.

Furthermore, because of the chemical structure of the paints, many do not stick to the surface when it is too cold. You can think of heat as a kind of activator for your paint – because of which, the ingredients of the paint form a stronger bond with the painted material. As a result, temperature also impacts the longevity of the paint job.

So, obviously, in spray painting temperature control matters if you want to get a nice result.  

What Temperature is Best to Spray Paint?

If you have ever used coconut oil then you do not need saying that temperature affects liquid substances. Coconut oil freezes when the temperature drops even a little bit. Although not to the same extent, other liquids also show the same characteristics.

Spray Paint Cans contain liquid paint inside them. So, it is also subject to the same rules when it comes to fluctuations in temperature. You already know why temperature control is important in spray painting. So what temperature is best for spray paint?

Well, the current consensus is that any temperature between 18 to 25 degrees celsius is great for spray painting. You will face some challenges if the temperature goes outside this ideal range. However, you will start to see the real problems when the temperature is below 10 degrees or more than 35.

Please note that the temperature we are talking about is the temperature of the surface of the material that will be painted. While the air temperature is important, the temperature of the surface is even more important as that will determine whether the paint will stick or not.

What Happens If You Paint When It’s Too Cold

You already know that it becomes more difficult to paint in a cold environment. So, how cold is too cold to spray paint? Although it’s technically possible to paint, you will start to face severe problems when it reaches 10 degrees. Some of these problems are:

  • The paint might freeze. Even if it does not freeze it will definitely get denser. Denser paints are more difficult to work with as spreading them equally throughout the canvas is more difficult.
  • The components of the paint must form a bond with in order to stick with the surface, However, the cold climate actually interferes with this bonding process. Therefore, painting when the temperature is below the optimum range will result in a higher chance that the paint will not stick to the surface.
  • Without heat, the applied paint will dry slowly. Many small dirt particles in the air and even small insects can fall in this wet paint and get stuck.
  • You cannot apply another layer of paint while the first layer is still wet. Naturally, the paint will dry slower in colder climates. Until it dries you will have to halt your operations. So, the overall job takes longer to complete. 
  • Cold temperature is also responsible for forming dews on the surface of the material. This dew is responsible for cracks in the paint. As a result, spray painting in colder climates can also lead to low longevity of the paint job.

These are some of the challenges you will have to overcome if you paint below the optimum temperature.  

How to Overcome Cold Temperature Challenges While Spraying Paint

Now that you know the challenges of spraying paint when the temperature goes down, you must be thinking about the possible way around this problem. So, let’s look at what you can do to overcome the challenges posed by cold temperatures.

Using Booth

If you contact any specialized company to do your paint job and the temperature is below optimum then it is likely that they will use a paint spraying booth. Controlling the temperature in this booth is very easy. In addition, this reduces dust contamination risk.

You can also create a makeshift tent using plastic materials.

If you cannot use a booth then try to paint indoors so that you can control the temperature to some extent. If that is not possible then keep the material you are going to paint inside the house warm for as long as possible before you start the job.

Keeping the Paint Warm

Another easy-to-apply solution is simply keeping the paint warm for as long as possible. You can do this by keeping the paint spray can in warm water. This will keep the liquid paint inside the can – well – liquid. Make sure to change the warm water after every 30 minutes.

Furthermore, we recommend you choose an oil-based spray paint as these are less affected by cold climates compared to water-based ones.

Applying Paint Thinner

One of the main problems of spray painting in winter is that it gets thick. You can easily use paint thinners to solve this problem.

As you have already guessed, paint thinner can be mixed with the paint to make it less dense. It really makes the job much more difficult when the paint condenses due to the low temperature. So besides warming it up, you can also use paint thinners. 

Furthermore, you can also use an air blower to move the paint where you want to. Using an air blower also comes in handy when you need to dry the paint in cold weather. 

How to Spray Paint in Very Hot Temperature

Is it easier to paint in hotter or colder temperatures? At this stage of the article, it will be clear to you that spray painting is significantly more difficult in a colder climate. However, there can also be certain challenges when the weather is too hot – above 35 degrees celsius.

The major problem with painting on extremely hot days is that the paint will dry too soon. 

The paint might even dry up before reaching the desired place. So, when spray painting in an extremely hot situation always remember that it might dry up sooner than you think and paint accordingly.

There are a few things you can do to make your spray painting experience less challenging. Do not paint under direct sunlight. In fact, if possible paint indoors. Furthermore, you can try to cool down the surface by applying cold water – if you do this, be sure to dry the surface before you apply any paint.

Last but not the least, using a paint booth is a viable solution when the weather is extremely cold or hot.  

Spray Painting on Different Materials – Things to Know

The end result of spray painting depends on many factors. You are already aware of the optimum temperature. However, another important factor is the material of the surface you are going to paint on.

Not all colors will stick to all the materials. For example, a color that will be good for painting glass, might not be good for painting on fabrics. So, your selection should depend on the type of material you are going to use it on.

So let’s take a quick look at which paint is most suitable for a particular material and how much time it might take for the paint to dry.

MaterialBest Suited PaintTime to Dry
GlassEnamel and Acrylic< 15 Minutes – Dry to touch> 24 Hours – Completely Dry
FabricAcrylic Fabric< 24 Hours
DrywallAcrylic Latex Paint2-3 Hours
MetalOil Based Paint< 10 Minutes – Dry to touch> 24 Hours – Fully Cure
WoodLatex Paint≅ 1 Hour – Dry to touch> 24 Hours – Fully Cure

Of course there are many other materials you use spray paint on. But you get the idea. So the answer to the question, “Which paint is best for spray painting?” is that it depends on the material.

Similarly, the answer to “How long does it take for spray paint to dry?” also depends on many factors. We have already mentioned one of these factors – the material the surface is made from. It also depends on the temperature and the type of paint used. For Example,  Polyurethane and Epoxy spray paints dry fast – usually within 5 minutes. 

So, to get the best result, choose the paint according to the material you are going to paint on. Here is a Spray Paint that works pretty well on Glass, Fabric, Wood, Ceramic, and Metal.

Additional Tips For Spraying Paint

How to get a smooth finish with spray paint? Here are some of the best practices that have been proven to help in achieving a smooth finish. 

  • Clean the surface where you will paint. Painting over an unclean surface is a big no-no. The dust will settle in the paint and make it look dirty and uneven.
  • You already know all about how temperature impacts a painting job. So if it’s too cold, try to warm up the surface.
  • Humidity also plays a big role. As you can imagine it’s difficult to dry paint in a humid environment. For a picture-perfect paint job apply spray paint when the humidity is somewhere around 40-50%.
  • Before you start spray painting add Primer to the surface. Adding primer is always a good idea. However, it is absolutely crucial in winter. Primer will make your paint look more vivid. Moreover, it helps the paint to dry quickly and stick to the surface.
  • Do not paint in direct sunlight.
  • Choose the paint type carefully. There are two main types of color – oil-based and water-based paint. So, is there any difference between oil-based and water-based paint? Yes, oil-based paints last longer and are more effective in a cold environment.
  • When spray painting you always run the risk of the paint being spilled in undesired places. So, cover the surrounding areas with a cloth or plastic sheet so that you can only focus on the part of the surface you want to paint.

These are some of the factors that all professionals pay attention to. So, if you want to get a smooth finish with spray paint, follow these best practices.


Can Spray Paint Harm You?

Yes, without following the proper instructions spray paints can be harmful to you. 

Spray paints contain many chemicals – some of which can be toxic for you if inhaled. For example, a common spray paint element is acetone. Inhaling acetone can create irritation in your throat, eyes, and nose. More serious problems like kidney and liver damage might occur if you inhale the fumes day after day.

So cover your nose while you are spray painting to protect yourself from the fumes.

Are “All-Weather Spray Paints” Worth It? 

Well, you already know that spray paints do not work well when the temperature goes down below 18 degrees. So, some companies offer “All-weather” spray paints claiming that you can use these spray paints at any temperature.

While these spray paints do give you some edge when painting in very cold weather, it does not completely get rid of the problem. You still have to be very cautious and follow the proper steps. Plus these special paints are expensive. So, personally, we are not fans of this paint.  

Can You Spray Paint Fabric?

Yes, using spray paint to design fabrics has become very popular nowadays and you can definitely use it to color your dress. However, remember that not all types of paint are equally good in adhering to fabrics. So, check the label. To get the best result buy an Acrylic Fabric Spray Paint.  


Congratulations! Now you know not only what temperature is best for spray paint, but about also other dos and don’ts. Whenever possible try to control the temperature so that ideally it remains within 18 to 25 degrees celsius.

However, when controlling the temperature is not possible, lessen the negative impact of the adverse temperature by following the steps discussed in this article. This will ensure you get a beautiful, smooth, and long-lasting paint job.

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