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Is Spray Paint Waterproof? (Can You Make It Waterproof)

While most spray paints are water resistant, not every variety is waterproof. Most outdoor spray paints are waterproof, and the label should indicate the waterproofness. The methods used to prep, apply, and seal the paint can also affect water insolubility.

The waterproofness of spray paint relies on many details, so it is important to make sure you do everything properly. Keep reading to learn how to identify waterproof spray paints and how to use them for maximum effectiveness.

Outdoor Spray Paint Is Almost Always Waterproof

When in doubt, you can usually count on spray paint marketed for outdoor use to be waterproof. These formulas must be waterproofed to hold up to wet weather conditions such as:

  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Sleet
  • Hail
  • High humidity

Outdoor spray paint also tends to dry faster than other varieties, decreasing the chance that the paint does not properly dry between coats.

How To Tell If Spray Paint Is Waterproof

The only way to tell if spray paint is waterproof is by checking the label prior to making a purchase. It should explicitly state whether the product is water-resistant or waterproof, and you can learn more about other limits of the paint.

Checking for reviews of the product online can help you choose a paint with proven waterproofing capabilities. Some may last a year, while others far exceed the estimated timeline.

What Makes Spray Paint Waterproof?

Most waterproof spray paints use water repelling ingredients such as:

  • Epoxy phenolic
  • Silicone
  • Epoxy novolac

Some of these types of paint just happen to be more water resistant by their nature, without any added ingredients.

For example, water-based acrylic paints will better expand and contract, so they are less likely to split and allow water underneath. Latex spray paint has a rubber-like finish that mimics the waterproof ability.

Using an additional clear coat will add an extra layer to protect against moisture and other elemental factors.

Wet Paint vs. Dry Paint

Keep in mind that spray paint is not waterproof until it is dry, regardless of what the end-product promises.

This gives you enough time to fix anything that went wrong when you were spray painting. You can clean any objects that were accidentally caught in the spray, or you can remove the color if you decide you don’t like it.

While this forces you to wait for full waterproofing effectiveness, it prevents the need for heavy duty cleaning in case there is an accident.

How Long Does It Take Waterproof Spray Paint to Dry?

In most cases, expect to wait:

  • 30 minutes for the object to feel dry
  • A few hours before you can handle it
  • 24 hours for the paint to cure completely

This timeline is only true if you use the proper method to apply your spray paint. Make sure you use thin layers and wait for the paint to dry before adding another layer. Aim to paint your object between temperatures of 65°F and 85°F.

Fans, space heaters, and dehumidifiers can improve your environment for a shorter drying time and easier application.

Different Types Of Spray Paint

Is spray paint waterproof

Spray paint comes in many varieties, most of which are water-resistant. Keep in mind that just because a spray paint fits into a certain type, it does not guarantee its waterproofness.

General Purpose and All-Surface

While similar, there are slight discrepancies between these two paints.

General purpose paints mean you can use them for most all uses. They work well on a variety of surfaces and come in hundreds of colors. They also have the widest variety of colors available.

All-surface paints emphasize their ability to adhere to many surface types, including:

  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Wood
  • Wicker
  • Plastic
  • Masonry

They are slightly more flexible in offering waterproof options.


Enamel spray paints are durable and have a vibrant finish. They work well on most surfaces and ‌dry quickly.

It is not uncommon to see enamel paint used for appliances, automotive parts, or on outdoor furniture.


Epoxy paints include adhesives and polymers that are naturally resistant to:

  • Water
  • Stains
  • Chemicals

With the right ingredients, epoxy spray paints can be waterproof on their own, but you are unlikely to see them marketed for outdoor use. These paints are sensitive to fluctuations in temperature and abrasive materials.

Special Use Paint

Special use paint includes any spray paint marketed for a specific use. Common examples include:

  • Chalk paint
  • Metallic paint
  • Metalcasts
  • Trim and bumper paint

Depending on the intended use of the paint, not every special use paint is waterproof.

For example, the design of chalkboard paint causes it to absorb water. With ingredients like talc or titanium dioxide, the paint creates a textured surface that works well for chalk but poorly for waterproofing.

Rust Prevention

Spray paint that boasts rust preventative properties is likely to be waterproof. This type of paint needs to protect metal from oxidizing, and it should be able to hold up to outdoor uses.

While rust preventative paints can be used on several surfaces, the most obvious application is on metal. You can also use rust preventative paint on permeable objects that have metal hardware, nails, or screws.


Most automotive paints need to ‌withstand higher temperatures, and they use ingredients like epoxy phenolic to accomplish this.

In the journey to hold up to automotive applications, these paints must also have a greater ‌water-resistance and durability. You can expect them to work well on outdoor metal materials, but you may have better options for other surfaces.

The Surface You’re Painting Needs To Be Conducive To Waterproofing

Is spray paint waterproof

Choosing a waterproof spray paint is half the battle. If the surface you are painting is not conducive to waterproofing, you will not get the best results from your paint.

Prep work should include:

  • Cleaning the object
  • Sanding to facilitate adhesion
  • Priming to smooth the surface out

You may not need to sand smaller items, but do not expect the paint to be as effective or waterproof.

Use your own discretion to determine the level of prep work you need to perform. It may be tedious, but it helps with the immediate success and longevity of your waterproof spray paint.


Cleaning the object prior to painting helps you even out the surface and remove dirt or grime that may interfere with the paint sticking to the surface.

In most cases, you can use dish soap and water to clean the surface. Rubbing alcohol or paint thinner can help speed up the drying time before painting, but you need to be mindful of the fumes emitted by the chemicals.

If someone heavily soiled the object with oil or another messy substance, use a degreasing agent to clean it thoroughly. Make sure you remove all the degreaser prior to painting.

Regardless of the cleaning method you choose, always rinse the object and dry it thoroughly before you spray.


Sanding is not always necessary, but it can help with certain surfaces.

If your object is heavily rusted, use fine grit sandpaper with light pressure to remove as much dirt and rust front he surface.

Other materials can handle greater pressure, and your paint will turn out better for it.

Using sandpaper on wood or other porous surfaces lets you smooth them out and allows for better paint adhesion.

Make sure you sand off any old paint; failing to do so can cause the new coat to crack, allowing water under the waterproof surface.

Make sure you wipe the object down after sanding to remove any dirt or particles you roughed up. A cloth wet with a soapy solution should do the trick.


Many spray paint companies also sell a priming formula you should use to prep the surface after cleaning. While not every object needs primer, it is essential for outdoor furniture and items.

Primer helps with:

  • Evening out the object’s surface
  • Facilitating the durability of the paint
  • Adding a water-resistant layer underneath

You can use a spray primer or one that brushes on, but look to the instructions for tips on application and drying time.

To Conclude, Is Spray Paint Waterproof?

Yes for the most part, as we have spoken about in this article. Outdoor paint is almost always waterproof, for some paints that are used inside, simply look at the label and chemicals on the paint. That should tell you whether it’s waterproof.

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About Lisa Bohrer

Lisa is a native Texan who says she wears many hats. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, farmer, animal lover, fisherwoman, gardener, and college student. Lisa is a sophomore at Liberty University where she is taking classes to earn her Associates Degree in Creative Writing. She and her husband of 35 years fill their days with life on the farm raising goats and chickens, and then most evenings she can be found at the computer writing, or researching a topic that has piqued her interest.

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