What Is The Best Temperature to Paint Outside? 

Posted on: August 16th, 2021

Best Temperature For Exterior Painting

When it comes to exterior painting projects it’s important to know what the best temperature to paint outside is. If you attempt to paint or stain when it’s too cold, you run the risk of ruining the project and wasting your precious time and money invested. Temperature and humidity are both important factors to consider when starting any outdoor painting project.

What Temperature Can You Paint Outside? 

Most people understand that painting outdoors in the winter isn’t the best idea. When the weather turns colder it’s best to put off any outdoor painting projects until the warmer months arrive. On the other hand, you may wonder if painting outside during the hottest months of July and August could be a detriment to drying paint. Truth is that the best time to take on a painting project is when the temperature is moderate and with very little wind. We have found the ideal temperature to be between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit. A little wind might not seem like a big deal but it can cause your paint to dry too quickly. 

Different temperature guidelines apply for different types of paint. For example, the exterior paint temperature should be between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit when using latex paint. For oil-based paint, the ideal temperature should stay between 45-90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Painting in the Heat 

If the outside temperature is too high or too low, your paint might not bind together properly. This can lead to peeling or cracking of the paint once it dries. Certain paints, such as Latex, are harder to work within the heat because they have a tendency to dry out easily which compromises adhesion. Latex paints are usually the best for all exterior projects. Painting when it’s too hot can cause bubbles and blisters to form in the paint. Consequently, we recommend not painting in temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Painting in Cold Weather 

If you are going to brave painting in the cold, be sure to not let the surface or air temperature drop below 35 degrees for at least 36 hours after application. Your paint won’t cure or process correctly and you may end up with unsightly bubbles and bumps in your paint when spring arrives. For the best results, we recommend not painting if the temp drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Cold weather can also compromise the overall life expectancy of your paint. Oil-based paints thicken in cold weather, causing your paintbrush to stiffen. This leads to thicker paint application and less coverage per gallon. Also because paint takes longer to dry in cooler temperatures, the surface you’re painting stays wet, attracting unwanted debris, dirt, and bugs to dry stuck in the paint. 

Because paint dries much slower when it’s cold, be sure to allow plenty of time for your paint to dry in between coats, at least 24 hours. This is especially important to be aware of if you’re painting with a dark shade that contains more colorant. 

How Humidity Affects Paint 

Moisture is always a frustration to exterior painters. Too much humidity in the air will lead to water vapor forming on your freshly painted surface. The ideal humidity level for painting outside is between 40-70%. Here is a list of some potential consequences to painting when humidity is too high: 

  • Excess humidity makes it more difficult for the paint to adhere to any surface and causes the paint to bubble and eventually peel. This is especially important to remember when painting wood as it absorbs moisture from the surrounding air and swells. When the air is too dry, wood shrinks, eventually cracking or splitting. 
  • If you live in a high humidity area, your paint could show signs of leaching. Leaching is brown or white discoloration in your paint. 
  • Moisture in the air hinders the protective film layer of your paint from developing, compromising the paint’s protective qualities. 

What About Rain? 

Obviously, no matter what the temperature is outside, it’s never a good idea to paint when it’s raining. However, take into consideration that you need to allow plenty of time for your exterior surface to dry before applying any paint. This is particularly true if there has been recent precipitation. If rain is in the forecast, hold off. You will need at least 4-8 hours of dry time after it rains for things to completely dry out. It’s most important the area you are

working on is dry before you paint. The surface needs to remain dry for a good period of time after being painted to ensure a better bond. This makes for fewer problems down the road. The last thing you want is to repaint your home because the outside conditions worked against you.

Other Considerations When Painting Outside 

When painting a house, most professionals start the process by following the sun’s shadow around the house. This method helps avoid painting in direct sunlight which can dry the paint too quickly. It’s a good rule of thumb to allow paint to be dry to the touch before the sun goes down for the day. Once the sun sets, cooler temperatures and humidity in the form of dew come along and can cause potential problems. 

The Best Time to Paint Outside 

With the winter months being too cold and humid and the summer months often too hot, consider spring and fall as optimal times to paint your home. You won’t be miserable, working in the extreme heat, and you’ll avoid issues associated with the paint drying too fast. 

How Long Does Paint Take to Dry? 

The answer to this question depends largely on what type of paint you’re working with. The back of each paint can indicate on the label the approximate drying time for that specific paint. Latex paints dry more quickly than their oil-based counterparts. After only an hour the first coat is no longer wet and in roughly 4 hours it’s dry enough for another coat to be applied. Oil-based paints require at least 6-8 hours to become dry to the touch and a full 24 hours before you should apply the next coat. Remember that both temperature and humidity play a part in the actual amount of drying time. 

Best Time to Paint Outside Conclusion

If you have further questions about exterior painting or any other painting questions, don’t hesitate to contact PaintRite Pros. We offer a full range of painting services in Elk Grove and the Sacramento area. Our trained professionals have years of experience and it shows. If you want the best exterior painting service near Sacramento, you can be sure that no one fits that description better than our team! We serve all of the Sacramento area including Roseville, Elk Grove, El Dorado County, and more! If you need a Lincoln painting contractor, we recommend Diamond Star Painting. But if you’re in Yuba City, we recommend Silver Cloud Painting


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