Want to make your house the coolest property in the neighborhood? It’s time to bust out your roller and get painting. While painting your home’s exterior is a great way to show off your style, it does require some planning. (And, no, we don’t just mean finding the perfect hue and gathering all your materials.) Since Mother Nature can’t be controlled with a thermostat, it’s crucial you’re painting under the right conditions. Believe it or not, less-than-ideal conditions can jeopardize your paint job (Yikes!) Perhaps the most crucial factor to consider is the temperature.
So, what’s the deal? What are the best exterior paint temperatures for your project? Read on to learn everything you need to know.
Avoid Extreme Exterior Paint Temperatures
The perfect time of year might depend on where you live, but you always want to paint your home’s exterior in mild temperatures. Why? Well, fresh paint doesn’t play nice with extreme conditions. If the temperature suddenly drops too low, the paint will not be able to produce a good film or cure properly. In case you’re unfamiliar, curing is the process where the paint molecules get into formation and harden for long-term use. (Your paint might be dry to the touch, but it will take longer to fully cure.) Lower temperatures can also create dew—a.k.a. moisture—which will likely prevent your paint from drying properly. We recommend you avoid painting when the air (or surface you’re painting) is below 35° or if temperatures below 35° are expected within 48 hours.
Painting in a heat wave? Your fresh coat will dry too quickly and not have enough time to cure. While that may seem like no big deal now, high temperatures can make your job peel easier and not last as long. As far as we’re concerned, you shouldn’t paint hot surfaces in general—and hot metal is a definite no. Metal has a way of retaining heat more than other materials, so your paint job is destined to fizzle.
In a perfect world, 50-75 degrees Fahrenheit, with little humidity, wind and definitely no rain would be the ideal temperature for exterior paint; however, we recommend going with what is mild in your neck of the woods. Keep in mind that most exterior paint jobs take a few days, so you’ll want to schedule this DIY task when there are a few consecutively mild days ahead.
Speaking of warm temperatures, you don’t want too much sun when you’re painting your home’s exterior (don’t forget that SPF!). Not only can those direct UV rays mimic a warmer temperature, but it’s also not very comfortable for the painter a.k.a. you. Instead, consider which direction the sun is facing and start with the shadier side first, and avoid the sun by working your way around the house in the opposite direction the sun is facing.
Watch Out for Wind and Rain
While you’re checking the forecast, keep an eye on those humidity and wind levels. Remember when we said that paint won’t dry as well in dewy conditions? Well, that rule holds true for all types of moisture like humidity and rain. Since you’re applying wet paint to an already damp environment, it’ll take a lot longer to dry— and your paint finish may end up drying unevenly. It can also cause surfactant leaching—a chemical reaction that causes brown spots to appear on your painted finish. Avoid painting if rain is expected within 48 hours. Like painting in warmer weather, too much wind can make your paint dry faster than it should—leaving unsightly lap marks in its wake.
Finding those best exterior paint temperatures can feel a little overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. When planning your painting schedule, think of the climate that makes you want to spend all day outside. Not too hot, not too cold, dry, and free of wind? Paint has those preferences, too.