Is Spray Paint Waterproof? (Explained + Waterproofing Tips)

If you buy something through our posts, we may get a small commission. Read more here.

Share It

Many woodworkers prefer spray paints because of their efficiency, but did you know that not all spray-painted surfaces can withstand water exposure? As tempting as it is to buy, you must remember that applying the wrong product can ruin the material in the long run.

So, is spray paint waterproof enough to deliver the surface protection your project needs? Here’s our team’s take on that matter.  

Spray Paint That’s Waterproof + Key Properties

Most spray paints sold in the market are water resistant, not waterproof. And while it’s true that they offer moisture protection, the truth is these products don’t carry waterproof qualities that keep the entire surface safe from water penetration. 

spray painting cabinet drawer

More often than not, exterior spray paint is the one that produces waterproof paint film. Why? Because spray paint manufacturers understand that outdoor projects are more at risk of moisture damage than other surfaces. 

And even if you spray waterproof paint over indoor and outdoor projects, the superior protection still stems from proper applications. Never forget that surface preparation is still the key to better waterproofing and making vibrant colors last.  

Different Spray Paint Types

Automotive/Acrylic Paint

Since acrylic substances can yield glossy and water-resistant surfaces, some DIYers refer to them as automotive paint products. Besides water resistance, they can stand against rust and oxidation. 

Since it’s a water-resistant spray paint product, there’s no question that it isn’t waterproof. However, you can still rely on it for protecting plastic, glass, and metal surfaces. 


Besides waterproofing, outdoor spray paint should help protect materials from peeling and cracking. Fortunately, enamel paint can preserve outdoor objects despite exposure to extreme conditions. 

enamel spray paint

This waterproof spray paint also dries faster than others, so your painting projects can finish more quickly than you’d expect. 


True to their name, rust-prevention spray paints are great options to protect materials made of metals from potential rusting. These products yield waterproof coats, so our experts encourage their use on outdoor surfaces. 

Like other outdoor spray paints, their paint particles block oxidations. You can buy them in a wide range of color and texture variations. 


These are the types of spray paint products you can use in commercial and residential settings. Whether you’re working on an indoor or outdoor paint job, we don’t doubt that all-surface options can work well with different surfaces. 

spray painting chair with purple lacquer paint

Most spray paint products under this category are mixed with primer. Thanks to this, the application doesn’t take too long to dry. 

General Purpose

It’s not so much of a secret, but General Purpose spray paints are versatile products that can adhere to different applications and materials. These options can handle various spray paint projects that involve metal, wood, and plastic surfaces. 

It’s a popular home improvement product, so expect its wide availability in local hardware stores. Besides its wide color selection, you can also buy it in its indoor and outdoor spray paint variations.

Epoxy Paints

Among the different types of spray paint products, epoxy paint tops our recommendation for basement and garage floorings. It has a mix of polymer [1] substances and adhesives, making its application water-resistant and hard-wearing. 

epoxy spray paint

It’s not a product we’ll recommend when purchasing outdoor spray paint, but it forms a hard shell to withstand physical impact. On top of wood and metal, it also works well with stone and concrete surfaces.

Acrolein Elasticized Paint

You may not know, but acrolein elasticized paint is an exclusive product specifically designed for concrete applications. It’s a paint formulated to prevent mold inhibition and fungal development. 

These are oil-based paints that carry toxic chemicals. So if it’s your chosen paint, we discourage you from using them without protective gear.  

Masonry Paint

Latex and ceramic are substances that make masonry spray paint waterproof. Although it doesn’t yield a moisture-absorbent surface, you can apply this spray paint outdoors because it can resist mildew and molds. 

Chalkboard Paint

Most people apply this product through spray painting, but you’d be surprised that it isn’t water-resistant paint. If you want to make this spray paint waterproof, you can try to finish the painted area with thin coats of polyurethane, clear wax, or polycrylic. 

chalk spray paint

Krylon Spray Paint

These types of spray paint products are not simply water-resistant. They can hold up against extreme wet conditions without the risk of water damage. It also doesn’t take more than an hour to dry this paint job.

Special Uses

You can use chalk and metal finishes to make the spray paint waterproof. Although these options only cater to specific surfaces, they have no issues bearing low and high temperatures. 

What Makes Your Spraying Paint Waterproof? How to Tell?

Checking the product labels is the best way to tell if spray paint is waterproof. Don’t forget that being labeled as water-resistant doesn’t imply that the formula can seal water or moisture out of the surface. 

However, does a label automatically makes spray paint waterproof? If you have reservations about this, you can test the product by adding drops on the surface and letting it dry. After around 15 minutes, try to add water to the painted spots. 

wood painted with Minwax Helmsman Indoor-Outdoor Spar Urethane

If the paint doesn’t absorb the water, it’s a good indication that your spray paint can resist water. If not, you’ll notice that the paint particles will dissolve and add color to the water. 

Read Next: Best Waterproof Paint for Wood

Preparing the Wood Surface for a Waterproof Spray Paint

It doesn’t matter if your paint is water-resistant or waterproof. If you don’t prepare the surface with proper cleaning, sanding, and priming, chances are it won’t yield a durable outcome. Undergoing this process answers the question of how long does spray paint last.

Tools You’ll Need

Step #1: Tidy Up the Surface

Before you sand rough surfaces, you must ensure that it’s clean. You can do this by making a cleaning solution with a mix of water and dish soap. If it’s not available in your household, we recommend laundry detergents. 

cleaning wood surface

Mix these ingredients well in a container and soak a cleaning sponge into the solution. It would help to use some pressure when running the sponge across the surface because you may encounter hard-to-remove stains. 

Alternatively, rubbing alcohol and paint thinners are effective solutions for stubborn stains. Once the surface is clear and clean, rinse the cleaning solution away with water and let it dry. 

Step #2: Sanding

As you begin sanding, don’t forget that digging the surface with sandpaper should be executed lightly. You must also ensure that the material is smooth enough for the paint application.

Step #3: Wipe Away Dust

We all know the sanding process will produce dust particles, so grab a tack cloth or rag to wipe them away.  

person holding cloth

Step #4: Apply the Primer

Applying a clear coat of primer before painting a surface isn’t always necessary. However, it’s a step you shouldn’t skip when working on furniture pieces or outdoor projects. 

Besides enhancing the paint’s water-resistant properties, it improves the adhesion of the coloring formula to the surface. This process is especially needed if you’re not using an oil-based formula.  

How to Apply a Waterproof Spray Paint

After the steps above, it’s time to add paint over the prepped surface. All you need to do is wait for the primer application to dry, and you’re ready to go. 

Tools You’ll Need

Step #1: Prep Your Work Surface

Any paint job can result in a mess if you don’t clear the workstation. Remove anything that may get in your way and cover nearby items with a cloth or plastic sheets. You must also do this process on the floors.  

preparing work area for painting

Step #2: Wear Protective Gear

It’s no secret that paint products carry strong scents and produce volatile organic compounds or VOCs. Given these circumstances, we urge you to wear face masks or respirators during this process to avoid toxic inhalation. 

Step #3: Apply the Painter’s Tape, If Needed

If you don’t intend to paint the entire surface, you can cover the sections with painter’s tape. It should give you a cleaner painting result. 

Step #4: Start Spraying the Paint

Finally, spray the paint over the surface. Run it through every inch of the intended area to avoid missing spots. You can also refer to the product’s manual to determine how long the paint will dry and how many coats you’ll need to form even and durable paint films. 

Typically, these products require two to three coats. However, our resident woodworkers suggest keeping the coats thin for even application and faster drying times. 

Interesting Read: Is it Okay to Spray Polycrylic?

Non-Waterproof vs. Waterproof Spray Paints

Dry Paint vs. Wet Paint

Both paint variations often contain similar substances like resins and pigments. However, wet paint carries solvent in its formula, while dry ones don’t. 

epoxy paint

These options also differ in form. You’ll find dry paints sold in powder variations that require water dissolution, while wet ones come in “ready-to-use” liquid form. 

Although the waterproofing level depends on what paint type you’re using, some dry painting solutions, like acrylic, are only water-resistant. To ensure total water protection, varnishing the surface should solve your dilemma. 

Do you Need to Seal Spray Paint?

If the spray paint is waterproof, you don’t need to seal the surface. However, you must do the sealing process if you’re applying non-waterproof or water-resistant spray paint. If not, the painted area will face a high risk of moisture and water damage in the long run.  

How Long Does it Take for a Spray Paint to Dry?

The initial drying of spray paint applications takes around 30 minutes. After that, it should be okay to touch the painted surface. However, you may need to wait a whole day for it to be ready for regular usage. 

dresser painted with acrylic paint

If you want the paint to dry faster, you can try other methods, like turning a space heater on or using a dehumidifier.  

Read Next

How Long Will it Last Outdoors?

If spray paint is applied correctly, you won’t need to repaint the surface until three to four years later. Like it or not, the material can last longer in outdoor environments if it undergoes proper sanding and priming. 

Is It Okay to Do Spray Painting In the Rain?

Even if you’re using a waterproof paint brand, painting under the pouring rain is nowhere near possible. The painting formula needs enough time and a dry surface to settle in, and running water will only wash it away. 

Spray Paint Waterproofing: Is it Toxic?

One of the factors that makes spray paint toxic is its high VOC production. Some of these products carry a strong odor that can cause health hazards when inhaled excessively. More often than not, paint options for exterior surfaces have higher toxicity. 

Bonus Tips for Additional Waterproofing

12-Hour Drying Time

As we mentioned, paint applications need sufficient time to solidify and form a hard layer. Give it at least 12 hours to dry, or it will not yield an aesthetically pleasing and durable finish.

white cabinet drawer

It May Leave a Residue

Some Rustoleum spray paint products that help with waterproofing, like NeverWet, can leave white stains. If you can’t avoid this option, we suggest learning how to apply it properly to avoid the hassle. 

Our Top Picks for Best Waterproof Spray Paints

1. Rust-Oleum 316292 Painter's Touch 2X Ultra Cover Spray Paint

Despite being an oil-based paint, Rust-Oleum Spray Paint proves its value with its 20-minute drying time. Not only does this product makes painting jobs faster to accomplish, but it also suits surfaces like wood, unglazed ceramic, plastic, and many more. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

2. Krylon Décor Spray Paint

The wide color variations are one of the features woodworkers love about Krylon Spray Paint. Although it’s not as popular as the other option, this outdoor paint can withstand peeling, cracking, and fading under extreme weather conditions. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like


Does spray paint come off in the water?

Yes, spray paint does come off in the water, especially if the application is still wet. Although it can be difficult to remove on porous surfaces, the good news is you can use a heavy-duty cleaning solution or power washer for the removal process. 

Does rain wash away spray paint?

No, the rain does not wash away spray paint if the applied area is already dry. The painted surface should cure for at least three days to ensure that it can withstand rain. However, frequent exposure to rain can affect areas painted with typical indoor paints. 

Does spray paint hold up to the weather?

Yes, spray paint can hold up to the weather if it’s a product made for exterior use. This specification implies that the spray paint is durable enough to protect the surface from external elements like moisture and heat.

Is spray paint permanent?

Even if the spray paint is considered waterproof, it doesn’t mean it can stay on the surface forever. Typically, it takes around ten years. If you applied the product correctly and prepped the surface, you can expect a few additional years before repainting. 

What’s the best waterproof spray paint for application in plastics?

You need a versatile product like Krylon Paint to waterproof plastic materials. It should stick well with the surface and prevent potential damage from water and chemical exposure. 


After reading this guide, we’re sure you now know that not all spray paint is waterproof. 

Although you can always buy exterior-grade products to ensure complete waterproofing, it wouldn’t matter if you don’t know the proper application and surface preparation. After all, your project’s success depends on how well you know the craft. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
Related Articles
Get 3 Free Woodworking Plans

We’ll send you free plans and more cool stuff. No spam.

Get 3 woodworking plans for free

Instant Access. Free. Beginner-Friendly.