Is there a perfect time to year to paint your house? Summer seems like the perfect time but you are battling the heat, and in the winter our up against the cold. Most home owners tend to wait for the warmer seasons, but what happens if you can’t wait until it gets warmer? can you still paint your home in the winter?
So while your warm home might be impervious to cold weather, the exterior paint generally isn’t. The outside cold temperatures can actually hinder the drying process of wet paint. And the cold can not only decrease the lifespan of your paint job, but it can also lead to mildew and staining. Unfortunately, in the painting world, anything below 55 degrees Fahrenheit is considered cold weather. That translates to issues such as poor color uniformity, water spotting (latex paint), extremely slow and inconsistent drying time, and film cracking.
Living in Massachusetts you know a bit too well about the cold temperatures, especially after these past few winters. Even though the winter season is now well under way, there’s still time to prepare your home so that a new paint job will stand up to the elements for many years to come. With a few simple tips and tricks, combined with easy-to-access, up-to-the minute weather reports can get your home to look great.
Simple tips for a great cold-weather exterior paint job
Using the right product:
The first thing you should do is check the temperature ranges of the paint, because different types of paint might vary. Some brands will offer an option that caters to colder temperatures than others. Make sure the product is specifically designed to protect the paint in cold weather.
Clean the surface to be painted:
Painting in colder than recommended temperatures can cause mildew and staining, but depending on how old your house is, there might already be mildew and lead paint below the surface. Before painting, be sure to check for lead , then if needed, have a certified lead-abatement contractor prep the surface. If you’re lead-free, scrub the surface to be painted, either with a wire brush or a pressure washer. Don’t forget to clean the surface of any dust and debris and allow it to dry prior to applying your first coat of paint.
Enclosing the Area:
The use of plastic or a weatherproof structure to enclose the area being painted can help keep the temperature exactly where it needs to be. You also might have to utilize heaters in order to raise the temperature in your little bubble, before being able to paint. Keep in might you will need to leave the protection up while the paint cures to avoid issues. The area to be painted should be at least 50-55 degrees.
Especially in the winter, you may need to add an additional coat of paint. Since cold weather slows drying times, as the temperature drops, you’ll need to wait longer before adding a second coat. The amount of time you wait will depend on the temperature, as well as the type of paint being used. So expect for the turnaround time to be a little longer than usual during this process.
Check the extended weather
Paint generally takes several days to cure, and the temperature and humidity at which it cures is as important as the temperature when you painted. it is important to check the extended weather reports to make sure that the paint continues to cure. Exteriors that receive a lot of sun exposure may end up warmer, and therefore dry more quickly whereas the shady exteriors, may need more attention to ensure they cure correctly without cracking or peeling. Using an exterior thermometer to check for variances in temperature throughout the exterior of the building to be painted can be very important.
Also, beware of any wind. Wind can speed up the drying process, but can also facilitate cracking, particularly in cold weather. Additional coats can help alleviate this concern.
Respect mother nature
Do your best to work at the warmest times of the day, which is generally between 10am and 2pm. If possible, coordinate your painting during a time when the area you’re painting will be in direct sunlight. This will ensure that the surface is as warm as it can be, resulting in a better finished product.
Finally, avoid cold weather snaps. Even if you think your paint will be dry and cured before a cold snap sets in, you may risk ruining the hard work already out in if the paint job is still fresh. If you see a cold snap on the horizon, consider waiting until after it passes if possible.
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