Is Spray Paint Waterproof? (By Type + Options For Sealing)

Spray paint can be a great way to get creative, bring new life to your belongings, and brighten up your home with the flick of a wrist. However, finding the right spray paint can be a challenge - especially if you need it to be able to withstand water.

If you have been wondering, "is spray paint waterproof?" then you are in the right place - read on for all that you need to know! 

Of all the painting options available, spray paints tend to be amongst the most popular - and for good reason. Compared to other paints, spray paints tend to be easy to apply - you just need to point and spray - and often dry more quickly than other types of paint

This makes them popular with all sorts of artists, especially those working under time constraints or who need to ensure that one layer is dry before moving on to the next. 

There are a number of different spray paints available, and each is suitable for a different task. Some of the most popular types of spray paint include: 

Is Spray Paint Waterproof

General Purpose Spray Paint 

As the name suggests, this type of paint is perfect for a wide range of tasks and can usually be used on a variety of materials, including wicker, metal, masonry, stone, glass, plastic, and wood

In addition, general-purpose spray paint can be used indoors or outdoors, depending on your needs, and comes in a wide range of colors and shades. 

All-Surface Spray Paint 

All-surface spray paints are similar to general-purpose paints in that you can use them on a range of surfaces. The main difference is that all-surface spray paints will typically come with the primer already included, and this is key in helping the paint adhere to the surface, as well as speeding up the painting and drying process. 

Rust-Prevention Spray Paint 

Another popular type of paint is rust-protection spray paint; as the name suggests, this is used on metal surfaces to reduce and prevent oxidation. These paints usually come in a variety of colors and textures, making them great for outdoor projects. 

Enamel Spray Paint 

Enamel spray paints tend to be used mostly outside and are perfect for projects that require high temperatures. This type of paint dries very quickly and can be added to a wide variety of surfaces. 

Special-Use Spray Paint 

As the name suggests, special-use spray paint tends to have a specific, targeted purpose, and may offer a metallic or a chalky finish. They can be used at high temperatures and on many different surfaces. 

Automotive Spray Paint 

Perfect for repainting or touching up the bodywork of your vehicle, automotive spray paint is designed for a primed surface, usually metal, plastic, or fiberglass, and is designed to reduce oxidation, as well as rust. 

Can I Use Spray Paints Outdoors? 

Now that we have taken a look at the types of spray paints available, you may be wondering whether or not these can be used outdoors in the rain. Discovering what spray paint is waterproof doesn’t have to be too challenging - any spray paint that is waterproof will be designed and labeled as being suitable for outdoor use. 

It is essential to understand the difference between waterproof and water-resistant. The former can hold its own against water without breaking down - no matter the conditions. In contrast, the latter will be able to resist some water penetration but will ultimately break down and become flaky and damaged.

The difference is in the design of the paints, so make sure that you understand the difference and choose a paint specifically formulated for outdoor use. 

How To Know That Spray Paint Is Waterproof? 

So, just what features make a spray paint waterproof? The main factor that makes a significant difference is the ingredients that are included - if a spray paint is to be waterproof, then the topcoat will be textured and glossy - this helps to prevent water from penetrating the top coating, leaving your surface protected and smooth. 

Waterproof paints will also include additives in the formula, such as acrylic or latex. This creates a water-resistant finish and a sealant, usually made from lacquer or wax, which helps set the paint.

This upgrades water resistance to waterproof. With a sealant, the particles of the paint are packed together more tightly, making it harder for pesky water droplets to penetrate. 

The first step in checking to see whether your outdoor waterproof spray paint is really waterproof is to check the label - this will tell you whether the paint is waterproof or not. You can also take a look at the finish that remains once the paint has had a chance to dry - a shiny, glossy finish indicates that the paint is at least resistant to water, if not totally waterproof. 

One of the easiest ways to discover whether your paint is waterproof or not is to test it yourself - spray a little on a surface that you can cover up or throw away, and allow it to dry.

Once dry, add droplets of water, and come back in around ten minutes. If the water is still visible and looks clear, but the surface is dry, you will know that the paint is waterproof. If the surface is wet or the water has picked up color pigment, then the paint is not safe for use around water. 

man holding a can of spray paint

Spray Paint Waterproofing 101 (Options For Sealing) 

Sealing your spray paint is an integral part of ensuring that it is waterproof, and the process for this is fairly simple. 

You may be wondering, "do you need to seal spray paint?" and the answer in most cases will be a resounding yes - this is important for ensuring that your paint is totally waterproofed. To seal spray paint, you simply need to add another layer of waterproof paint over the top, and this will usually be a lacquer or varnish.

This can be applied in spray format or using a brush, but the most important thing to remember is that the sealant needs to be waterproof - otherwise, it will have no effect. The best options are those made from clear acrylic, clear lacquer, and clear polyurethane. 

It is important to make sure that the paint below is totally dry and cured before you add a sealant; adding the sealant before the topcoat is totally dry can result in paint starting to chip off or crack in places, which can ruin the whole look of your finished item.

As a rule, expect to wait at least 24 hours after applying your top coat for it to be totally dry. Ideally, you should leave the same amount of time again before allowing your item to get wet, so try and plan your painting according to the weather forecast and pick a time when the rain is expected to hold off for a few days. 

Once applied, you should expect your paint to last for around three to four years before it starts to fade and degrade - at this point, you should be thinking about touching up the item again and, if necessary, stripping everything down to start from scratch.  

Some people have asked is clear coat spray paint is waterproof or is clear spray paint waterproof, and the answer to this depends on the product.

The same criteria apply here: you can use a clear coat or clear spray as a sealant, but you must make sure that this is waterproof before applying it to your spray painted surface. Check the label, check the finish, and do a test - if the paint passes, then it can be used as a sealant. 

Spray Paint Water Resistance FAQs 

Can you spray paint in the rain? 

You may be wondering if you can spray paint in the rain using waterproof paint, and the answer is not really.

While it is technically possible to paint while the rain is coming down, the chances are that this will leave your end results looking sloppy and uneven. For best results, wait for a dry, clear day. 

Is acrylic paint waterproof after it dries? 

Acrylic paint does have some water resistance once it has dried, but it would be a mistake to say that it is totally waterproof unless this is expressly stated on the packaging. 

In most cases, you will have to add a waterproof sealant for total protection. 

What happens if spray paint gets wet? 

What happens if spray paint gets wet depends on whether it is waterproof or not. If it is only water-resistant, it will start to crack and chip, and is likely to become damaged after exposure to water.

Waterproof paint, however, will be able to take sustained exposure without becoming damaged or chipped. 

Can spray paint wash off with water? 

You will be able to wash non-waterproof or water-resistant paint off with water, and this is why waterproof brands are recommended for use outdoors, or in areas that are likely to be exposed to high levels of water and moisture. 


Choosing a waterproof spray paint does not have to be a challenging task. There are three simple steps that you can use to check whether your chosen paint is waterproof, allowing you to enjoy fresh, clean, and waterproof surfaces for longer - even when the heavens open and the rain sets in!