What Temperature Can I Paint In ( Avoid it when it’s this cold)

For most of my professional painting career, the outside temperature was completely irrelevant. One of the great perks of being based in South Florida. 


Unless it’s raining, it’s always a great time to paint a house in Miami. However, that is most definitely not the case in many other states across the U.S.


If you’re here for the bottom line, here it is: 


If you’re painting your house with water base paint, you’re going to want to make sure it’s at least 45° F outside. That’s going to make sure that the surfaces, and all the chemicals on them, are porous enough to accept the paint, and the paint isn’t frozen before it can dry. 


If you paint your house in weather that’s colder than this, there’s a good chance that it’ll still work out just fine. However, the colder it gets below 50 degrees, the higher risk of not having the paint apply properly. For sure, avoid painting any outside surface in freezing weather- it’s just not going to be worth it. 


If whatever you’re painting requires oil-based paint, you’re going to have a little bit of a wider range, but plan to look for at least 40° F outside to avoid issues. Again, you can likely go a little lower than this, but once temperatures get closer and closer to freezing points, you’re going to be risking more by painting outside. 


What Happens If I paint in weather that’s too cold, too hot, or too humid. 


As with most things, there are ideal circumstances that make for the best possible experience. 


For painting, that means painting while the weather is somewhere between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. 


If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where the weather is constantly around this point, then you have nothing to worry about. Just paint whenever you want to paint. 


Thankfully, most modern paints, especially acrylic latex paints, come with special additives that allow for the paint to be effective as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit. 


With that being said, if you decide to paint your house in weather that’s any colder than that, you’re going to run into some problems. 


Here are the most common issues you’ll run into if you paint your house in weather that’s too cold: 


  1. The paint won’t form a good film as it dries. This reduces the protective qualities of the paint and also reduces the durability of the coating. Ultimately, it means that you could suffer from cracking much more quickly than you would have otherwise dealt with. 
  2. If it’s too hot, the paint could basically boil while it’s trying to dry. This could cause blisters and bubbles in the paint that lead it to peel away from the surface. 
  3. In the cold, oil-based paint gets much rougher and harder to apply. This means that you’re going to get much less out of every gallon of paint, and you’re going to work harder to apply than paint. 
  4. If the humidity is too high, this can cause the paint to take much longer to dry and could lead to a poor finish. 
  5. In extreme cases, if the humidity is too high, this will either cause mildew to grow on the paint, or it will completely strip the paint of its protective qualities that prevent the growth of mildew.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *