Is Spray Paint Waterproof? Here’s The Answer

If you’ve ever thought about using spray paint for various projects, you may have wondered, “is spray paint waterproof?” Choosing suitable paint for a long-lasting finish on a project is an important decision. With spray paint, you mainly need to consider moisture protection.

In general, not all types of spray paint are waterproof. Outdoor spray paint is the most common waterproof option to buy, but you must prepare and seal the surface properly. Check the spray paint label to make sure your outdoor spray paint is entirely waterproof.

In this article, we’ll discuss in-depth specifics like what makes spray paint waterproof and how to use it for the best paint job. Look for our top picks in waterproof spray paint below as well.

Is Spray Paint Waterproof

Is Spray Paint Waterproof?

Spray paint is a fast-drying option. There are multiple types of spray paint, and not all of the options are waterproof. Most indoor/outdoor spray paints can stand up against some water. However, outdoor spray paint is the most likely to be waterproof.

The most important part about using waterproof spray paint is applying paint to the surface correctly. With most paint projects, preparing and sealing the surface helps your color last.

Types of Spray Paint

With so many types of spray paint on the market, the best option depends on your painting project. The most common options include:

  • General-purpose: Paint made for a wide range of surfaces, including metal, glass, wood, wicker, plastic, masonry, etc. This spray paint comes in hundreds of colors, and it’s ideal for indoor and outdoor projects.
  • All-surface: Many all-surface options are versatile enough for any home improvement project, whether indoors or out. The paint also comes in many colors, and it’s often pre-mixed with primer to save on application time.
  • Rust-prevention: An excellent choice for metal surfaces. Most rust-prevention formulas protect the metal from oxidizing. This paint is typical for outdoor surfaces. It’s available in many colors and textures as well.
  • Enamel: A long-lasting and durable option, enamel paint works on various surfaces and dries quickly. They’re popular in high-temperature formulas for painting appliances and other items such as outdoor tables.
  • Special use: Other unique options like chalk or metallic finishes work on a wide range of surfaces. They often include high-temperature formulas as well.
  • Automotive: The paint choice for vehicles, automotive paint works on primed surfaces, including metal, fiberglass, and plastic. They prevent rust and oxidation.

Most of these options are water-resistant by nature. However, that doesn’t mean they’re entirely waterproof. For waterproofing, you need outdoor spray paint. The primary difference between water-resistant and waterproof paint is in how the paints are designed.

Outdoor spray paint is water-insoluble, which allows it to hold up better over time against water and the elements. Not all options are waterproof, so make sure to double-check the label. Water-resistant paints may somewhat resist water penetration, but it breaks down over time. Waterproof paint won’t do so no matter how much time it spends in wet conditions.

However, application and preparation play a considerable role in ensuring spray paint reacts the way it should. Preparing the surface is the best method to keep water damage from ruining your finished project. To truly make the paint repel water, you also need an extra coating to boost the waterproofing performance.

What Makes Spray Paint Waterproof?

Waterproof spray paint

Most high-quality outdoor spray paints and sealers have water-repellency properties. These ingredients add a waterproof element to the paint.

Some types of paint are also more water-resistant than others. For example, water-based acrylic paint is more elastic. It expands and contracts without splitting the paint, allowing moisture to evaporate. Latex paints also provide a durable, rubber-like coating on the surface that works well against water.

You can make water-based paints more waterproof by applying sealer or varnish. Spray sealers apply a clear coat to protect the paint from moisture in a single coat.

The preparation and application process is another factor in how waterproof your paint job will be. Prepping the surface is crucial to ensure water doesn’t penetrate the paint film.

How to Tell if Spray Paint is Waterproof

Outdoor or exterior spray paint indicates the brand is waterproof. Read the label on the can of spray paint to ensure it has waterproof qualities. Otherwise, it may only be water-resistant.

How to Prepare the Surface for Waterproof Spray Paint

Before you start painting, prep the surface thoroughly. You’ll want to clean, sand, and prime your surface prior to applying waterproof spray paint.

Clean the object with soap and water. Rubbing alcohol or paint thinner can help speed up the cleaning time with highly saturated items or plastic. Use a degreaser product if needed, then rinse. Allow the item to dry completely.

Next, sand the object with fine-grit sandpaper. If it’s heavily rusted, lightly sand to remove as much rust as possible. Wipe the area free of dust and debris from the sanding process, using soapy water or a cloth. Prime the surface, and when it dries, you’re ready to spray paint.

Some surfaces require more sanding. For example, it’s best to sand if you’re working with wood or a porous surface. Another example is to smooth rough surfaces for a flawless finish. Skipping this step with certain surfaces could cause the paint to crack or bubble, allowing water to penetrate through the paint film.

Preparing the surface is always helpful in painting projects for longevity. However, you may not always need to sand. You may choose not to sand small, decorative items or anything that you don’t expect to last long. Never skip sanding furniture or outdoor items if you want the finish to truly be waterproof, though.

Do You Need Primer for Spray Paint?

You may not need a primer for all your spray paint projects. However, you should always prime furniture and outdoor items. Primer is beneficial for helping the paint adhere to the surface and remain durable. It also keeps water and moisture from breaking down the paint over time, and it is especially crucial for water-based paints.

How to Apply Waterproof Spray Paint

Waterproofing spray paint

Applying the paint is an equally crucial part of creating a waterproof surface. You want to avoid layering the paint on too thick or rushing if you want an eye-popping result. Make sure to always allow plenty of drying time as well.

Before applying waterproof spray paint, protect your work area. Wear a mask for ventilation and lay down a protective sheet or newspaper. Spray between two to three thin coats of paint, allowing each layer to dry completely. If you don’t give the paint time to dry between applications or don’t use enough coats of paint, the paint job may not last long. Dry time is critical.

Take your time applying the paint as well. Make sure the entire surface is covered. Any missed areas could allow the paint to crack and invite water damage beneath the painted surface.

If you don’t apply the paint correctly, water could penetrate the protective paint film and turn your painting project into a mess in no time. Double-check the directions on your paint can and follow their recommendations carefully.

Does Spray Paint Need to be Sealed?

For a long-lasting paint finish, you should seal the painted surface. A clear or topcoat is not necessary for all spray paint projects. However, a clear gloss spray paint adds an extra layer of durability. It’s helpful for outdoor objects. If you only have water-resistant spray paint, the sealer can add a waterproofing element to the paint.

Avoiding this step means you won’t get the most out of your waterproof spray paint. The clear topcoat boosts the effectiveness of your paint.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry?

Once the painting process is over, allow at least 24 hours for the paint to fully cure. You can handle the object in a couple of hours, and it might feel dry to the touch in as little as 30 minutes. However, waiting a total of 24 hours ensures your paint will hold up against water better.

You could help the paint dry faster by using thin coats of paint. Running a fan, space heater, or dehumidifier is also beneficial, depending on your climate. If you spray paint in temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees F, the paint should dry in less time.

Does Spray Paint Come Off in Water?

Most spray paints come off in water if the paint is still wet, it will wipe off easily. But once the binding agents in a water-based paint fuse together, they harden and become resistant to water. Dried spray paint, mainly oil-based paints, is even more challenging to remove due to the natural oil or alkyd binding agents that don’t dissolve in water.

To remove dried spray paint from your skin, whether it’s water or oil-based, you need liquid dish soap and lots of scrubbing power. Removing the paint from porous surfaces is much more challenging. It would help if you had heavy-duty cleaning supplies or a power washer to remove the paint.

Can You Spray Paint in the Rain?

You cannot paint in the rain, regardless of the waterproofing element. The water washes away the paint before it has a chance to bond and dry, causing unsightly streaks.

It’s best to wait for a clear, sunny day with little wind to spray paint outdoors. Alternatively, you could spray paint in your garage if the weather is not ideal. Protect the surrounding area from paint spray with a sheet, tarp, or newspaper for the best results.

Even too much humidity could make it difficult for the paint to stick. If you’re spray painting in a humid location, aim for a sunny day where it’s under 90 degrees F and less than 85% humidity. Keep in mind that humidity and wet conditions could cause the paint to take longer to dry thoroughly.

How Long Does Spray Paint Last Outside?

In general, spray paint can last outside three to four years. If you spray paint wooden outdoor furniture or accessories that were sanded and sealed correctly, expect the paint job to last for about four years. Using high-quality spray paint can also extend the longevity of your paint on outdoor pieces.

Is Spray Paint Toxic?

Most brands of spray paint are somewhat toxic. Spray paint does contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like acetone, xylene, toluene, and methyl ethyl ketone, and more. These chemicals may not be present in every type of spray paint.

However, they could cause harm if you inhale, ingest, or absorb the paint through your skin. For this reason, it’s important to wear protective clothing and have proper ventilation when you work with spray paint. How long the fumes are dangerous varies based on how much paint you use and how much is dispersed in your workspace.

Compared to traditional spray paint, waterproof paint typically contains fewer VOCs and is commonly applied outdoors, which is a considerable benefit for safety. Many options are also UV-resistant.

The Best Waterproof Spray Paints

What is the best waterproof spray paint on the market? Rust-Oleum and Krylon are two of the most popular options. The brands also sell unique formulas for various needs, like protection against mold and mildew. Here are the best waterproof spray paints.

Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover

Rust-Oleum 334090 Painter's Touch 2X Ultra Cover Spray Paint, 12 oz, Satin Vintage TealRust-Oleum Painters Touch 2X Ultra Cover is suitable for interior and exterior surfaces, including plastic, wood, metal, masonry, and unglazed ceramic.

It’s a long-lasting oil-based formula with a low odor. The paint resists chips and peeling over time. Plus, with this paint, you can cover up to 12 square feet.

The best part is that this RustOleum paint has a primer built-in. You can apply the spray paint smoothly from any angle and hide unsightly spots with ease.

The satin finish further helps hide or minimize imperfections on the painted surface.

Krylon Outdoor Decor Spray Paint

Krylon Outdoor Décor Spray Paint, 12 Ounce (Pack of 1), Blue LagoonKrylon Outdoor Decor Spray Paint comes in tons of vibrant colors, and it’s excellent for waterproofing. The paint only takes an hour to cure fully, so it’s ready for rain in as little as an hour.

The result won’t crack, peel, or fade as quickly as other spray paints either.

Use Krylon Outdoor Decor Spray Paint only for outdoor items, though. It’s great for wood, metal, brick, terracotta, wicker, glass, plastic, ceramic, concrete, masonry, and even laminate.

Krylon is easy to apply, even for beginners. The spray any way tip reduces finger cramps as you paint and reduces the likelihood for application mistakes.


Most exterior or outdoor spray paints are waterproof. However, the longevity of your paint job also depends on how you prepare, apply, and finish the paint. Take your time to spray paint carefully if you want the object to hold up against the water. Putting in the effort during these stages ensures the paint will not break down quickly. Shortcuts could result in sub-par results.

Did you learn the best way to use waterproof spray paint for your project? If you found this article helpful, please let us know in the comments and share the post with your friends and family.