Skip to Content

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

Rustoleum has been the top pick for coatings and paintings for several decades. It has provided us with corrosion and rust-free surfaces. Different types of Rustoleum spray dry at different rates. Today will discuss how much time Rustoleum takes to dry. 

Scroll down to get your answers!

How long does Rustoleum take to dry?

Rustoleum makes several products encompassing protective paints and coatings. The time it takes to dry various Rustoleum sprays vary depending on the weather and temperature. However, the average time to dry to touch is 1 hour, dry to handle is 4-8 hours, and total dry is 24 hours.

Different Rustoleum products take different times to dry. The hour that it takes to dry different Rustoleum primer and coatings depends on the material used in the products.

It is easy to feel lost given the diverse product line of Rustoleum, and it also gets confusing when you see the shared name of their products. So below, we made a complete list of the drying time of the Rustoleum products for you.

Rustoleum spray paint:

Rustoleum spray paint becomes touch-free in 2-4 hours. It becomes hard dry in 5-9 hours and totally dry in 24 hours.

And on plastic, Rustoleum spray paint becomes touch dry in 30 minutes, hard dry in about an hour, and full cure in 24 hours.

Rustoleum oil-based paint:

In 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 21-degree Celsius temperature and 50% humidity, Rustoleum oil-based paint takes 2-4 hours to become touch dry, 5-9 hours to handle dry, and 24 hours to become fully dry.

The cooler the temperature, the longer it takes to dry Rustoleum. So, it is better to leave the paint at a warmer temperature.

Rustoleum primer: 

Rustoleum primer requires a second coat. As stated before, the timings are based on the standard environment, which is 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% relative humidity.

The Rustoleum primer becomes touch dry in 20-30 minutes, handle dry in 1-2 hours, and fully dry in 48 hours. If you are thinking of recoating, apply the second layer after 48 hours.

Rustoleum 2x:

Rustoleum 2x, given in standard condition, dries slower in colder temperatures. The spray takes 20 minutes to touch dry, 1 hour to hard dry, and 24 hours to cure fully.

Rustoleum chalk paint:

You would have to wait for 24 hours for Rustoleum chalk paint to dry thoroughly. It would take 30 minutes to touch dry and 2-4 hours to handle dry. Apply another coat after 2-4 hours or 24 hours.

As usual, it will take more time to dry at a temperature lower than standard 70-degree Fahrenheit.

Rustoleum protective enamel:

The touch-free drying hours for Rustoleum protective enamel are 2-4 hours, hard drying hours are about 5-9 hours, and full cure hours are 24 hours.

Rustoleum undercoating:

There are two types of Rustoleum undercoating. They are standard-grade undercoating and professional-grade undercoating.

The time it takes to touch dry standard undercoating is 30 minutes. It becomes fully cured in 24 hours.

The time it takes to touch dry professional undercoating is 10 minutes. It becomes fully cured in 72 hours.

Rustoleum glaze:

You would have to wait for 24 hours for the Rustoleum glaze to dry thoroughly. It would take 5 minutes to touch dry and 20 minutes to handle dry. As usual, it will take more time to dry at a temperature lower than standard 70-degree Fahrenheit.

Rustoleum satin:

Rustoleum satin becomes touch dry in 2-4 hours. It dries to handle in 5-9 hours, and it becomes totally dry in 24 hours. You can recoat after 48 hours.

Rustoleum epoxy:

Rustoleum epoxy takes about three days to cure fully so it can handle heavy traffic.

How long does Rustoleum take to dry on wood and on metal?

The time it takes to dry Rustoleum depends on the surface it is sprayed on and the temperature and humidity. The average time it takes to dry Rustoleum entirely is 24 hours, but some take longer than that.

Rustoleum takes about 2-4 hours to become touch dry, 5-9 hours to become handle dry, and 24 hours to become fully dry on both wood and metal surface. It may take longer than the stated hours in colder temperatures.

Rustoleum becomes touch dry in 1 hour, handle dry in 3 hours and fully dry in 24 hours at standard temperature. The standard temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit, 21 degrees Celsius and 50% relative humidity.

How long does Rustoleum need to dry between coats?

Rustoleum needs to dry at least 24 hours before you recoat. Rustoleum coating works on vinyl, hardwood, concrete and many more surfaces. The optimal time to recoat is after 24 hours.

The coating takes longer to dry when the temperature is cold. Some of the manufacturers suggest applying a second coating layer after 1 hour, whereas most of them suggest to wait for 48 hours. 

But applying within 1 hour of spraying is risky since you could have uneven layers and ruined colors.

So, according to the majority of the manufacturers, it would be best to recoat after 24-48 hours, and if you wait a little longer, you will have to sand the surface before recoating.

How long does Rustoleum need to dry before rain? 

Rustoleum takes about 24 hours to fully dry under the standard temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% relative humidity. Other variants may take longer, and colder temperature takes more time to dry Rustoleum.

Rustoleum should dry about 24 hours before it comes in contact with rain. But it can handle a slight splash of water or light rain if dried in the open sun for two hours. To be safe, dry the spray for a whole day before making it contact with water.

The manufacturers suggest thoroughly drying the Rustoleum spray for seven days before it gets wet. The more you dry, the more waterproof abilities it will develop.

How to make Rustoleum dry faster?

It gets easier to cure Rustoleum when you have a controlled environment. You may not have the professional setup that makes the drying process faster. Here are some steps that you can follow to make Rustoleum dry more quickly.

Paint in a hotter environment:

You can artificially heat the surrounding in a spray booth. But if you do not have that, the alternative will be to spray in the open sun.

Good, high-velocity airflow:

Rustoleum will dry quicker in a high-velocity airflow zone like wet clothes dry quicker in windy conditions. Pick a location that has good airflow.

The paint causes a general wet atmosphere over the surface while drying. The airflow removes this layer and makes Rustoleum dry faster. Moving air dries Rustoleum faster than still air.

Warm up the surface you will spray on:

A common mistake is to keep the surface of things you will spray in a colder environment. Keeping it in the sun or warmer environment hugely decreases drying time. 

If it is cold outside, keep the thing in an insulated environment.

Mixing Japan Drier:

Before doing this step, you will need a carbon charcoal filter, eyewear, and a lab coat. These safety measures are much needed because you will be mixing hazardous chemicals.

The materials you need are a reducer and a hardener. Mix Rustoleum, reducer and hardener into a 4:2:1 ratio. That is 1 pint of Rustoleum for 2 pints of reducer and 1 pint of hardener.

Japan Drier is a drying agent that goes with oil based Rustoleum paints, enamels and varnishes. Add Japan Drier in tiny amounts, only 2 ounces for a gallon of Rustoleum.

Japan Drier speeds up tremendously. Japan Drier is useful for a colder period when the paint does not dry fast.

Is Rustoleum spray paint toxic when dry?

No, Rustoleum paint is not toxic when fully cured. The average time it takes to dry Rustoleum is about 24 hours.

But during drying, the spray releases a toxic fume generated by the reaction of chemicals that aid in fast drying. The process is called off-gassing.

The fumes released during off-gassing is hazardous to human health. It will cause throat and eyes irritation if ingested. Inhaling in high concentrations will severely damage your lungs.

Wear specialized filter masks around sprays and seek medical support immediately if exposed to these chemicals.

Does Rustoleum paint need a hardener?

The answer depends on how much time you have and your relative environment. If you need to dry the surface in a short time, you will need a hardener.

And if the temperature is shallow and the air is still, a hardener will come in very handy to you. Hardener cures Rustoleum faster and makes it more durable.

Final thoughts

The temperature plays a significant role in drying Rustoleum. So, to control the time it requires, you can use a hardener, reducer, or Japan Drier. Be extra careful dealing with these toxic chemicals. You can contact the manufacturer to remove any doubt before you start working.