Finding the perfect sweet spot for painting your home exterior can be a tricky task. The winter is usually too wet and cold for paints to be applied properly. It’s also a chilly task for one’s fingers in the winter months. The climate where you live will determine when in the year it will be effective to paint your home’s exterior, and these are the factors that will determine the right time frame if you want to avoid repainting sooner than you had planned.
How Long Does Paint Take to Dry?
The amount of time paint needs to dry completely is dependent on the kind of paint you’re working with. Manufacturers typically include the drying time on the paint can, but here are some generalities you can work with:
- The first coat of a latex paint will often be dry after the first hour and in four hours should be ready for another coat.
- Oil-based paints take significantly longer to dry, usually 6-8 hours to become dry to the touch and closer to 24 hours before the next coat can be applied.
Additionally temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors play into how long painting your home exterior will take.
Finding the Perfect Time for Painting Your Home Exterior
When painting your home exterior, make sure you take the following hurdles into consideration. Additionally, you’ll need to make sure you thoroughly prepare your surface for painting. Repair any damages, thoroughly clean all the surfaces being painted, and cover other surfaces before you paint.
How hot is too hot for painting your home exterior? Well, there isn’t really a hard and fast rule, but the process can be uncomfortable when the weather is too warm. The sun beating overhead and exterior walls being hot to the touch make summer a less ideal time for the task than spring. However, if you do want to take advantage of the sunshine and warmth of summer months, start on the shady side of the house.
Keep in mind this rule of thumb: If you can’t let your palm rest on a wall of your house for more than a few seconds because of the heat, it’s too hot to paint.
The water content of paint makes painting home exteriors in cold temperatures a non-starter. Ambient temperatures need to be warm enough that the paint is able to cure properly and form a protective film. Low temperatures mean slower drying and longer curing times. This applies through the night as well, as the curing process doesn’t stop when the sun goes down.
Here is a good rule of thumb when it comes to ambient temperatures for painting exteriors: make sure temperatures fall between 40° and 90° F for several days in a row when applying oil paints and between 50°and 85° F when applying latex paint (which generally make for better exterior paint). If the overnight low falls below 32° F on the night after you plan to paint or for several nights after, hold off until the weather warms a bit.
High humidity levels can make painting your home exterior a messy prospect. High atmospheric moisture inhibits the proper formation of paint’s protective film layer, making it less enduring and less protected from cracking. It can also play other tricks with your paint job:
- Water to can bead or pool on new paint
- Paint’s adherence to the wall can be compromised, causing it bubble and eventually peel
- Paint can leach if it is too moist during the curing process, causing white or brown discoloration
Low humidity levels are also problematic when painting because if the air is too dry, the wood being painted shrinks, eventually cracking or splitting. With these considerations in mind, humidity levels between 40% and 70% are perfect if you want to ensure that your exterior paint dries correctly.
The wind must also be taken into consideration. Wind can cause your paint to dry too quickly and blow debris into drying paint. Look into the forecasted breeze for the day before you pull out the paint roller.
Watch out for rain. An area needs to be dry in order for the paint to cure properly and to avoid moisture staining or mildew. Check the forecast before you paint and make sure you’ll have sufficient time for the paint to cure without rainfall interfering.
Pollen season is a dangerous time to paint. Pollen gets everywhere, blown as fine particles on the breeze. When painting your home exterior, you don’t want pollen particles to stick to your wet paint job. If you live in an area with a lot of trees and other plant life, wait to paint until pollen season has passed.
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