How Long Does Rustoleum Take To Dry? [Inc. Metal, Plastic, & Wood]

Taking on a painting project can be exciting and stressful at the same time. Do you want to try using Rustoleum paint for your surface but don't know how long it takes to dry? Is Rustoleum a fast-drying paint brand? We will answer these questions and many more throughout this article.

You can generally expect Rustoleum to take 1-4 hours to dry enough to touch it and closer to 24 hours for a complete cure. This is pretty standard for paint, so try and keep your hands away from Rustoleum for at least a couple of hours.

Furthermore, the material you paint on also affects dry time, so a few things come into play.

As we start this post, we will cover all things Rustoleum paint and discuss how long yours should take to dry. Whether you're using your paint on metal, plastic, or wood, we're here to help you with your project. With that said, let's dive head first into this topic below!

Stream of pressurized spray mist from containter, How Long Does Rustoleum Take To Dry? [Inc. Metal, Plastic, & Wood]

Does Rustoleum Take Long To Dry?

No. Rustoleum shouldn't take more than a couple of hours to dry enough for handling and around 24 hours for a complete cure. Typically, Rustoleum products go on as a spray, allowing faster dry time.

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Newly painted empty apartment room

Even if you use one of Rustoleum's thicker paints, you should be able to enjoy it stress-free within a few hours of letting it sit. Of course, this can depend on a few things, like the climate, the surface you paint, and how you apply your product.

Regardless, you should count on 24 hours of curing time before your paint is ready for the long haul, but again, this can vary slightly. It's also good to know that some surfaces take paint/spray better than others, meaning their overall dry time will be far less.

With that said, let's explore how long Rustoleum will take to dry on metal, plastic, and wood below:


Rustoleum will generally take around one hour to dry to the touch on metal surfaces. Your paint should be fine to handle after around three hours and then fully cured after 24.

According to the brand, you can re-coat at any time during this drying process. So, if you have a stubborn surface that is still showing through your paint, don't be afraid to apply a second (or even third) coat!

You can also easily clean up any spilled paint with xylene or mineral spirits, so that's helpful for anyone planning on detailing an automobile.


You can usually expect Rustoleum to dry to the touch on plastic within 30 minutes to an hour. That's a little fast than metal, so expect a quicker dry time with plastic surfaces and materials.

Furthermore, Rustoleum will cure fully after around 24 hours, which is on par with metal and most surfaces. Typically, paint, spray or not, needs time to settle onto a wall or other surface, which can take a day or two on average.

Rustoleum also recommends applying a top latex coat after painting your plastic at the four-hour mark.


Moving onto wood surfaces, Rustoleum should be dry to the touch within 2-4 hours. Moreover, you should be fine to handle the surface within 5-9 hours, so this is a bit longer than plastic and metal.

Lastly, Rustoleum will take roughly 24 hours to dry completely on a wood surface, although this can be a bit longer depending on how well you prepared your surface.

So, wood surfaces will take the longest with Rustoleum, which is something to keep in mind.

Why Is My Rustoleum Paint Not Drying?

If you notice your Rustoleum paint is taking super long to dry and cure, this could be for several reasons. Most importantly, paint needs to be applied to a dry, correctly prepared surface.

For example, did you make sure to prime your metal, plastic, or wood? Doing so can make your dry time much faster and provide a smoother surface for the paint.

Furthermore, how many coats of paint did you apply? As we said, you can add a second or even third coat while your paint dries, but this will extend the wait.

You want to give your initial coat of Rustoleum enough time to settle before adding more. Ideally, we recommend letting the first layer of paint dry for around an hour and then applying the second.

Correctly timing these things can help get your surface dry in a quicker timeframe.

How Can I Make My Rustoleum Dry Faster?

For those waiting an eternity for their Rustoleum to dry, there are some things that you can do to speed up this process. First, we recommend grabbing a box fan and facing it towards the surface you painted.

That said, you can also turn on the ceiling fan in your room, which will provide more air circulation. You might also want to turn on a few fans, placing them near a window.

Doing this essentially encourages your paint to evaporate faster, hence a quicker cure time. However, ensure your fan is clean so you aren't blowing debris onto your new paint job.

As we said, Rustoleum tends to take the longest to dry on wood, so you can't always make it dry super quickly (even with fans).

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Do You Need Two Coats Of Rustoleum?

A finger presses the nozzle on an aerosol spray paint

Like most paints, applying two coats of Rustoleum to your surfaces is a good idea. Typically, the more coats of paint your apply, the better the color will pop.

Also, Rustoleum works for a wide range of surfaces, like wood, plastic, metal, and even glass, so each will need its own set of applications and coverage.

However, we recommend letting your first coat dry for a bit before applying a second. If you paint too many layers within a short period, you could have a long dry time or an uneven final look.

For vehicles, Rustoleum recommends waiting at least 72 hours before placing anything into your truck bed or on top of your fresh paint.

You also want to let each layer of paint cure for a few hours, so this could be more than a one-day project.

Is Rustoleum Full-Coverage?

Yes. In general, all Rustoleum products will be full-coverage. However, this can depend on the surface you paint and whether or not it has existing color or imperfections.

For example, you could need two coats if you use Rustoleum paint on a bright-colored surface. The same goes for harder-to-reach spots and uneven materials, like wood, so this takes some trial and error.

This also applies to automobiles, as you may need a few coats of Rustoleum to see the color pop. Luckily, every Rustoleum product should include instructions for coats and dry times, so you don't have to play a guessing game.

Regardless, you will need to examine each surface you plan to paint or spray paint with Rustoleum and determine how many coats/how much coverage it needs before starting your project.

Can I Use Rustoleum On My Car?

Man painting car in workshop

Yes! As we briefly mentioned, you can use Rustoleum on metal surfaces, including automobiles. Whether you need to rust-proof your vehicle's undercarriage, touch up your car paint, or even apply custom emblems or racing stripes, Rustoleum is a product you can try.

Rustoleum makes a line of 'Automotive' sprays and paints for vehicles, which is very cool. If you want to take on a DIY project, you can certainly use Rustoleum paints and sprays: make sure to follow the directions.

It's also worth mentioning how the brand claims that its automotive products will give your car an anti-static surface that repels dirt and dust for three years, which is impressive.

You can also use Rustoleum as a preventative measure against rusting, all while protecting and painting your vehicle, so overall it's worth checking out.

Can You Use Rustoleum On A Boat?

Painting boat body using spray gun

Yes, as long as you don't paint below the water line, you can use Rustoleum products for a boat. As we covered, Rustoleum products work for metal and plastic surfaces, so your boat will likely fall into those categories.

Furthermore, Rustoleum is great for preventing rust and everyday wear on surfaces, which can come in handy for your boat. Typically, anything constantly exposed to the water will age faster, so why not add a layer of extra protection?

According to the company, you can use Rustoleum products on fiberglass, wood, and metal boat surfaces. They also mention how Rustoleum products will provide your surfaces with a durable, abrasion, and weather-resistant finish, which will come in handy.

Of course, your dry time for a boat will be about the same as typical plastic or metal surface, so don't place it back into the water for at least 24-48 hours.

To Finish Everything Up

Whether you want to take on a DIY painting project or need a quick fix, you've likely considered Rustoleum products. From what we found, Rustoleum generally takes 1-4 hours to dry to the touch, while a complete cure takes up to 24 hours.

Furthermore, Rustoleum works on various surfaces, including wood, plastic, and metal. Of these, plastic surfaces tend to dry fastest, although this can vary depending on the climate and application.

You can also expect Rustoleum to dry on metal pretty quickly, often being dry to the touch within an hour. Wood takes a bit longer, usually 2-4 hours before you can touch it, so keep that in mind.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related home posts below:

Can You Reuse Paint Supplies? [Inc. Rollers, Brushes, & Trays]

How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry On Plastic? [And How To Make It Dry Faster]

How Long Does It Take For A Wall To Dry Out After A Leak Causes Water Damage? [And How To Dry It Faster]

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