Then the spray gun is your friend! But before you start spraying, you need to be well-informed about the optimal spray paint temperature to provide your work the best conditions.

Spray Paint Temperature – All You Need To Know

Optimal Temperature for Spray Painting

Optimal Temperature for Spray PaintingThe temperature can affect the final result, a suitable temperature can improve the overall quality when an abnormal temperature can downgrade the quality and might even damage your painting equipment.

It would depend on the type of paint to accurately know what is the ideal temperature range for spray painting: Oil-based paints can be used between the temperature of 4 to 32 degrees Celsius (or 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit) , whereas water-based paints (or latex-based paints) fare less as well in colder weather, with the best temperatures being between the 10 and 30 degrees Celsius range (50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit).

However, to ensure the best result for your spray painting projects, try to aim for around 18 to 25 degrees Celsius (or 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit). Nowadays, some manufacturers offer paints that are temperature-resistant, so it’s always a good idea to look for those products if you’re painting in less than favourable conditions.

Ways to Achieve Better Adhesion

Ways to Achieve Better AdhesionSince we pretty much cannot control the temperature and weather conditions as we’re carrying out our projects, maximising paint adhesion is a great way to combat the unchangeables. Professionally speaking, there are a myriad of ways to achieve this, but here are a few things you can do at home:

  • Cleaning
    It doesn’t matter what material you’re spray painting on, cleaning is the first and foremost way of ensuring that the paint sticks well. To clean the surface and give the paint the best condition to adhere you should use cleaning solvents such as acetone, stain removers or even water.
    Sometimes it’s even recommended to slightly sand metallic or wooden surfaces before spray painting, but take caution not to damage them excessively.
  • Primers
    Also known as an Undercoat. It is really useful for painters!

Maintaining the Ideal Temperature Before Spray Painting

Maintaining the Ideal TemperatureNow that everything is set, let’s get to the painting. For smaller objects, try to keep the objects and the spray tools inside the house or garage just before painting. This is to keep them from being affected by complications caused by the temperature, such as potential frost or over-exposure to sunlight and heat.

In such cases, it might be a good idea to look into building a spray paint booth, or a “bubble” to more easily control your temperature.

With a few pieces of 4- or 6-Mil plastic sheetings supported by a few zip poles, scaffolding or even 2x4s alongside some heating/ventilating sources and you’re good to go.

Watching Paint Dry (and Keeping the Temperature Ideal)

Watching Paint DryTo ensure that the paint coats dry on the object evenly, multiple coats are surely needed.

Since the temperature during the drying periods is just as, if not more important during the painting periods, try to take the temperature drop at night into consideration while spray painting. Spray paint dries quicker than normal paint, taking as long as 8 hours, or as short as 1 hour depending on the type, so use that to your advantage!

Colder temperature might hinder the drying process while constant air circulation aids it, so keep the area where you leave the object to dry well-ventilated and around the temperature ideal for spray painting (that’s about 10 degrees Celsius or 25 degrees Fahrenheit in case you forget!)

One of the ways to test if the paint is dry or not without touching it is to smell it.

Paint usually has a nice smell!

Furthermore, as the paint layer freezes up, it starts cracking, forming bubbles or worse, peeling off the surface or facilitating mildew growth. The sheen, or the “gloss” that the paint has will dull away, and similar to spray paint under hot temperature, will create blotches of colour inconsistencies.

Read More: How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry?

What Should I do If the Paint is Frozen?

the Paint is FrozenUnlike normal paint, spray paint is more forgiving to use at low temperature, providing that it is still stored in the can. Yes, under extreme weather, the liquid content in the can might solidify and thus reduce the overall pressure of the spray when you use it, but this is generally not a big problem. This proves somewhat more challenging, however, for water-based spray paint, and less so for oil-based ones, as water has a lower freezing point than oil.

To resolve this, simply warm the spray paint can slowly via any type of heat source while occasionally shaking the can.

Regardless of what type of paint, don’t forget to check the product details to specifically learn more about what kind of paint you’re dealing with, as different products from different brands have their own chemical makeup.

How to Spray Paint Metal in Cold Weather?

Paint Metal in Cold WeatherMetal absorbs temperature exceptionally well, and as such metal surfaces should be given special treatment everytime you spray paint them. Here are some pointers to help you with it:

  • Use specialised paint for the job: Most major brands now have their own line of specially-formulated paint to combat cold weather. Try opting for such products to give yourself a great headstart before you start painting.
  • Try warming your metal beforehand: One of the easiest ways is to place a few lamps around the metal to heat it up to around 15 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit) and maintain that temperature throughout the spraying and drying process. And don’t forget air circulation.

A mist coat is a thin layer of paint that is applied so as to help other paint coats stick better. To achieve a mist coat, hold your spray can 12 to 18 inches away from the painting surface.

A wet coat, on the other hand, is essentially the final coatings you applied onto your metal. This finishes the paint job and creates a glossy surface. Hold your spray nozzle 6 to 8 inches away from the surface to achieve this.

What About the Humidity?

What About the HumidityHumidity is often one of the factors needed to be taken into consideration when you spray paint. In the same vein as cold temperature, high humidity will also hinder the drying of paint by creating a gunky layer on the painting surfaces caused by a mixture of water vapour and undried paint.

Relative Humidity (RH) is the ratio of how much water vapour the air is holding compared to the maximum amount it can actually hold. This is a very useful number to keep track of when you paint, as this could potentially make or break your paint job.

Ideally you would want to paint at the Relative Humidity range of 40 to 50 percent.

Other tips

Temperature Reading

Temperature ReadingYou might have noticed that in order to get the best results, there are a few temperature points to satisfy before, during and after the painting process. You can either estimate the temperature yourself, or do it the pro way, and acquire an infrared thermometer to take the work out of guesswork and make your life a lot easier.

Learn the Phases of Drying

Learn the Phases of DryingThese are extremely useful, as they help you determine when to apply the next coat, and when to start using it:

  • Surface dry: This takes place first when you spray paint, this is when the solvent has just evaporated. Do not touch paint at this phase, as it will easily stick to you.
  • Touch dry: Harder the paint has become, and as such it will depend on the type of paint if it would stick to you or not. Harder layer for sure, but can still come off easily if applied pressure upon.
  • Hand dry: This is when the paint hardens and will no longer fall off the surface. It is advisable that you start with the next coating when the paint has reached this stage.
  • Thorough dry: Touch it, feel it, use it! This is when the paint is completely dry and ready to go!

This significantly increases your spray control while simultaneously decreasing fatigue. We think that will be the game-changer for your spray painting experience.

Spray Paint Nozzle Clogging?

Spray Paint Nozzle CloggingTo resolve this, always clean the nozzle between each coatings and shake the can well before using to avoid any possible lumps of paint that might block the nozzle.

To ensure maximum results, the spray should be a fine coloured mist without any splitting or sputtering of paint. Remember to test on a draft surface first to prevent any unwanted accidents.


All things considered, a spray paint job, though sounds relatively crude and simple, is in nature as much a labour of love as painting a picture. Now that you know what the best spray paint temperature is, you can wield it in your hands to create the dream paint job!