Spray paint is easy to apply and provides a beautiful workpiece, but is it waterproof? Choosing suitable paint for a long-lasting finish on a project is a vital decision. It would be best if you considered moisture protection when using spray paint.

Some spray paint types are waterproof, while others are not. Most spray paint available on the market is water-repellent but not waterproof. However, unlike regular spray paint, exterior spray paint is often formulated to be waterproof. However, it is necessary to prepare and seal the surface properly.

If you must use outdoor spray paint, check the label to ensure it is entirely waterproof. In this article, I will explain what waterproof and non-waterproof spray paint is, how to use it for the best paint job, what makes it waterproof, and other essential areas and tips.

Is Spray Paint Waterproof

Spray paint is a fast-drying paint type. There are many spray paint types; however, not all are waterproof. Most outdoor spray paints are waterproof. When using waterproof spray paint, it is essential to correctly apply it to the surface. When you prepare and seal surfaces during paint projects, it helps your color last.

Specific spray paints have additives that make the paint coating water-resistant and, in some cases, waterproof. Outdoor spray paints, e.g., spray exterior enamel, have excellent water-resistant qualities that enable the paint to thrive when exposed to moisture or rainfall.

Additionally, spray sealants, e.g., spray polyurethane, are water-resistant. You can spray these sealants on finishes to protect them from moisture. You can check the information inscribed on the spray paint container to confirm that your spray paint is waterproof.

Waterproof & Non-Waterproof Spray Paint

Spray paint is waterproof based on the top coat’s texture. Spray paints having waterproof or water-resistant qualities have a glossy top coat that prevents water from penetrating the spray paint coating. The shiny top coat makes the spray paint water-resistant/waterproof. Additionally, the additives in the spray paint coating and sealant make it waterproof.

Spray paints having plastic additives in their paint formula are water-resistant. The plastic additives, when dry, help prevent water from getting into the finish.

In contrast, spray paints without a glossy top are not waterproof. Non-waterproof spray paints always have a textured finish. Most times, interior spray paints aren’t waterproof.

However, you can make a non-waterproof spray paint waterproof. How do you do this? Easy! You can make it waterproof by sealing it with a sealant such as lacquer or wax. These sealants contain paint particles tightly packed and strengthened to prevent moisture from penetrating the material.

How Do You Know if Spray Paint is Waterproof?

First, you can check the paint container to confirm it is waterproof. The container should indicate if the paint is waterproof or not. However, if there is no indication, the spray paint is not waterproof. Therefore, it would be best not to use it constantly on surfaces/materials that can get wet.

Another way of knowing if the spray paint is waterproof is by checking the finish type you get when the paint dries. If the finish is glossy, the spray paint is likely water-resistant.

You can also test the spray paint by spraying some of it on a dispensable material. Afterward, please leave it to dry. Once the spray paint dries, add water drops to the finish, and leave it for a few minutes. You can check the spot after about 10 – 15 minutes. The spray paint is waterproof if water is on it, but the surface doesn’t seem wet. If otherwise, it is not waterproof.

Additionally, if the water is clear, the spray paint is waterproof. The spray paint is non-waterproof if the water has soaked into the finish. Also, if the water looks tinted, the colorant in the spray paint has been dissolved by the water.

How to Make Spray Paint Waterproof

Most outdoor spray paints are waterproof. Regular and interior spray paints aren’t waterproof; however, you can seal them with a waterproof sealant such as lacquer or wax. These sealants contain paint particles tightly packed and strengthened to prevent moisture from penetrating the surface/material.

Making your spray paint waterproof helps protect the paint from moisture in a single coat. You can make your water-based spray paint repel water by using an extra coating to boost the waterproofing performance.

For more effective results, preparing the surface to ensure water does not penetrate the paint film is best. You can prepare the surface by cleaning, sanding, and priming the surface before applying the waterproof spray paint.

Spray Paint Types

There are several spray paint types available on the market. You can choose any depending on your painting project. Below are examples of spray paints you can purchase.

1) General-Purpose

This paint type suits many surfaces, including glass, wood, metal, plastic, wicker, masonry, etc. It comes in hundreds of colors. It is ideal for indoor and outdoor projects.

2) Enamel

It is a long-lasting and durable option that works on various surfaces and dries quickly. It is popular in high-temperature formulas. You can use it to paint appliances, including other items such as outdoor tables.

3) All-surface

Many of these paint types are versatile enough for any home improvement project, indoor or outdoor. It also comes in several colors. It is often pre-mixed with primer to save on application time.

4) Rust-prevention

This paint type is excellent for metal surfaces. Most rust-prevention paints help protect the metal from oxidizing. This paint is suitable for outdoor surfaces and has various colors and textures.

5) Automotive

This paint type is suitable for vehicles. It works on primed surfaces, including fiberglass, metal, and plastic. Automotive spray paint helps prevent rust and oxidation.

6) Special use

Other incredible options, such as metallic or chalk finishes, work on various surfaces. They include high-temperature formulas too.

Most of these spray paint types are water-resistant naturally. However, they may not be entirely waterproof. The primary difference between waterproof and water-resistant paint is in how the paints are designed.

Outdoor spray paint is water-insoluble, thus, allowing it to hold up better over time against water and the elements. Not all options I mentioned above are waterproof; therefore, double-check the label.

Water-resistant paints may somewhat resist water penetration. However, it can break down over time. Waterproof paint cannot do this regardless of how much time it spends in damp conditions.

Preparation and application play a considerable role in ensuring spray paint reacts in an expected way. When you prepare the surface, you help keep water damage from ruining your finished project. To make the paint repel water, you need an extra coating to boost the waterproofing performance.

Other Spray Paint Types That are Waterproof

  • Acrylic Spray Paint

Acrylic spray paint is a paint type that is water-resistant and not waterproof. When dry, it produces a water-resistant sheen/gloss that seals the finish and prevents most of the water from penetrating.

If exposed to constant rainfall or high moisture content, the acrylic spray paint begins to soften and gradually allows water to penetrate it. This explains why “water-resistant is used instead of “waterproof.”

For paint to be waterproof, the finish must withstand moisture entirely; however, most paints, including acrylic spray paint, cannot do this.

Nevertheless, the exterior acrylic spray has excellent water-resistant qualities that are as close to being waterproof as you can acquire.

The paint can withstand rainfall due to its flexible and impermeable top layer. Therefore, for surfaces that are likely to have frequent contact with moisture or rain, it would help if you used exterior acrylic spray paint.

To improve the water-resistant qualities of acrylic spray paint, seal it with waterproof sealants. You can use spray enamel and polyurethane.

  • Rust-Oleum Spray Paint

This paint type is waterproof. When dry, Rust-Oleum spray paint forms a protective barrier that prevents oils or water from penetrating the finish. This spray paint is among the few fully waterproof spray.

This paint type’s protective barrier is strong enough to block moisture content for over ten years. It is because of the chemicals and additives available in the paint coating. Rust-Oleum spray paint prevents water from damaging metal and metallic objects.

Rust-Oleum spray paint is commonly used on metal, and its central feature is that it helps prevent rust by blocking out moisture. Therefore, if you use it, you will indeed have a waterproof coating on the sprayed item.

  • Krylon Spray Paint

Krylon spray paint is waterproof and specially made for outdoor surfaces. It has a formula that makes outdoor surfaces durable when you use them. You can use this paint type on wood, plastic, and metal, including fabric.

This paint type takes less than an hour to dry, and once it dries, it can withstand rain and water. Therefore it is an impressive option to waterproof outdoor objects and surfaces.

What Makes Spray Paint Waterproof

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

Certain paint types are also more water-resistant than others. An example is water-based acrylic paint. Water-based acrylic paint is more elastic. Additionally, it expands and contracts without splitting the paint, thus, allowing moisture to evaporate. Latex paints also give a durable, rubber-like coating on the surface that works against water.

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

The preparation and application process also determines how waterproof your paint job will be. Preparing the surface ensures water does not penetrate the paint film.

How do you prepare the Surface for Waterproof Spray Paint

Before you begin painting, ensure to prepare the surface thoroughly. Cleaning, sanding, and priming a surface should come before waterproof spray paint application. The table below shows the materials you need to prepare a surface for waterproof spray painting.

3Dishwashing soap/laundry detergent
4Cleaning sponge
6Sanding block/random orbital sander
7Rag/clean cloth
8Rubbing alcohol
9Tack cloth (Optional)

To prepare your surface,

  • First, clean the surface using soap and water. Rubbing alcohol/paint thinner can help speed up the cleaning time with plastics/highly saturated materials. You can use a degreaser if necessary.
  • Afterward, rinse the surface, and leave it to dry completely
  • Sand the surface using fine-grit sandpaper. If it is heavily rusted, lightly sand it to eliminate as much rust as possible.
  • Afterward, wipe the area with soapy water or a cloth.
  • Prime the surface and leave it to dry. Once it dries, you can spray paint.

Note that some surfaces require more sanding, such as wood. If you are working with wood or a porous surface, it is best to sand. You can also smooth rough surfaces to obtain a flawless finish. If you skip this step, it could cause the paint to crack or bubble. If this happens, water will penetrate through the paint film.

It is essential to prepare the surface for longevity. Nevertheless, sanding is not compulsory. You may decide not to sand small, decorative items or anything that might not last long. Never skip sanding furniture pieces or outdoor objects if you want the finish to be waterproof.

Is a Primer Necessary for Spray Paint

A primer may not be necessary for all your spray paint projects. However, it would be best to prime your furniture pieces and outdoor items. Primer helps the paint adhere to the surface and remain durable. Additionally, it keeps water and moisture from breaking down the paint over time. It is crucial for water-based paints.

Is Sealing Necessary for Spray Paint

To obtain a long-lasting paint finish, it would help if you sealed the painted surface. A topcoat is not necessary for all spray paint projects. Nevertheless, a clear gloss spray paint helps add an extra durability layer. Sealing is helpful for outdoor items. If you only have water-resistant spray paint, a sealer can help add a waterproofing element to the paint.

If you do not use a sealer, you might be unable to get the most out of your waterproof spray paint. The clear topcoat helps boost the paint’s effectiveness.

How Long Should I Wait for Spray Paint to Dry

Once the painting is complete, I recommend allowing at least 24 hours for the paint to cure fully. You can handle the item in a couple of hours, and it might feel dry to touch in thirty minutes. Nonetheless, it is best to wait 24 hours to ensure your paint will hold up against water better.

However, you can make the paint dry faster by using thin paint coats. Additionally, you can use a fan, dehumidifier, or space heater. Spray painting in temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit will let the paint dry faster.

Can Water Peel/Remove Spray Paint

If your spray paint is still wet, it can be wiped off in the water. However, once the binding agents in a water-based paint fuse together, they harden and become water-resistant.

Dried spray paints, mainly oil-based paints, are more challenging to remove due to the natural oil/alkyd binding agents that do not dissolve in water.

If you have some dried spray paint on your skin, remove it with liquid dish soap and enough scrubbing power. It doesn’t matter if the spray paint is water or oil-based. If you must remove the paint from porous surfaces, be prepared for more challenging work. Getting heavy-duty cleaning supplies or a power washer will make paint removal more manageable.

Is Spray Painting in the Rain Possible

Since you cannot paint with a brush or roller in the rain, spray painting is also impossible regardless of the waterproofing element. This is because the water washes the paint off before it gets a chance to bond and dry, thus, causing unsightly streaks.

If you must spray paint outdoors, waiting for a clear, sunny day with little wind is best. Alternatively, you could spray paint in your garage if the weather is unsuitable. To obtain the best results, you can protect the surrounding area from spray paint using a sheet, taro, or newspaper.

If the humidity is extreme, it could make the paint’s adhesion difficult. If you are spray painting in a humid area, aim for a sunny day with less than 85% humidity and a temperature below 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Note that moisture and wet conditions could increase the paint’s drying time.

Is Spray Paint Toxic & How Long Does It Last Outside

Most spray paint brands are somewhat toxic. Spray paint usually contains Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), such as acetone, toluene, and xylene. Although these chemicals may not be present in every spray paint type, they are in most brands.

Inhaling, ingesting, or absorbing the paint through your skin could be harmful. Therefore, wearing protective clothing and ensuring proper ventilation when working with spray paint is best. The extent of the dangers of the fumes varies, depending on how much paint you use and how much is dispersed in your workspace.

In contrast to traditional spray paint, waterproof paint typically contains lesser VOCs and is commonly applied outdoors. This factor makes it a considerable benefit for safety. Most of these spray paint types are also UV-resistant.

Generally, spray paint can last outside 3 – 4 years. If you spray paint wooden outdoor furniture pieces or accessories that were sanded and sealed correctly, they can last for at least four years. Using high-quality spray paint also helps extend the longevity of your paint on outdoor pieces.

Can Rain Wash Off Spray Paint

Rain usually affects indoor and ordinary spray paints. Rain does not affect the paint coating for outdoor spray paint unless the exterior spray paint is not fully cured before the rainfall. The effects of rainfall on the spray paint are lesser if you allow the spray paint to cure fully.

If you are concerned about how long spray paint needs to dry before pain, this depends on the spray paint type and brand. However, on average, spray paint should fully cure for at least three days before rain.

Nevertheless, you can leave it to dry for about seven days before rainfall to obtain the best results. Doing this will help prevent the rain from smearing or washing off the spray paint.

It would help if you didn’t expose indoor and decorative spray paints to rainfall, regardless of how long you leave the paint to cure. These paint types are not built to withstand rain or intense moisture. Therefore, the paint will wash off if you expose them to rain.

However, you can make indoor spray paint water-resistant by sealing it using a water-resistant sealant, such as exterior polyurethane. A water-resistant sealant will help prevent the rain from washing off the spray paint.

In contrast, exterior spray paints can withstand rainfall, including other weathering effects, due to the additives and gloss in the paint formula. Nonetheless, you can also seal exterior spray paint. Sealing exterior spray paint will help make the finish withstand heavy rainfall better.

How do You Apply Waterproof Spray Paint

Applying the paint is a crucial part of creating a waterproof surface. Also, ensure to allow enough drying time.

Before applying waterproof spray paint, you must first protect your work area. You can wear a mask for ventilation and lay down a protective sheet/newspaper. Afterward, spray between 2 – 3 paint coats, allowing each layer to dry entirely.

 If you don’t allow the paint to dry completely between each application, or perhaps, don’t use sufficient paint coats, the paint job may not last long. When applying the paint, try taking your time and ensuring the entire surface is covered. Missing any area could make the paint crack and invite water damage beneath the painted surface.

Also, if you don’t apply the paint correctly, water could penetrate the protective paint film, thus turning your painting project into a mess. You can confirm the directions on your paint can and follow the recommendations.

To learn more about applying waterproof spray paint, I’m sure the video below will help.


Most spray paint types are not waterproof. Most exterior spray paints are waterproof. You can make a non-waterproof spray paint by sealing it with a waterproof sealant such as lacquer or wax. These sealants contain tightly packed paint particles and are strengthened to prevent moisture from penetrating the material.

Nevertheless, the longevity of your paint job depends on the preparation, application, and finishing of the paint. When spray painting, please take your time to do it carefully if you want the object or surface to withstand water.

Before using any spray paint, ensure to check the label on the spray paint can know if it is waterproof or not. Not all paint advertised as waterproof is waterproof. They could only be water-resistant. To improve the water-resistant qualities of your spray paint, you can seal the finish using a glossy or any other water-resistant top coat.