Painting Outside – When is it okay?

 In Exterior, Weather

With the weather outside warming up I wanted to do a quick entry to make those eager DIY homeowners aware of when it is okay to tackle an exterior painting project.

At this time of the year, mid to late April, when we get a few nice days of warmer temperatures stringed together, sometimes DIYers will jump outside first chance they get to quickly spruce up a front porch or paint their doors. This could be because they have had areas of the home that has been bugging them all winter, are anxious to list their home on the market, or they simply like to stay ahead on their to-do list. However, mid to late April is not the time to be doing this, and here are the main reasons why it’s not a good idea.

The two reasons that it’s not okay to paint outside in April is the cure time of the paint and inconsistent overnight temperatures.

Cure time of paint essentially refers to how long it takes the paint to fully hardened and settle into its final state. It takes 2 weeks for paint to fully cure. Cure time is entirely different from dry time and should not be considered one in the same. With the cure time being 2 weeks, this means that the temperature outside must be warm enough throughout that entire 2 weeks for the paint to adequately adhere to the surface of your house. General rule of thumb is that you want the temperature to be 5 degrees Celsius or higher. The factor that is often overlooked is that not only do you need the daytime temperature to be 5 degrees or higher, but you also need the overnight temperature to be 5 degrees or higher, for the entire 2-week time span for the paint to fully cure. Without the 2-week span of consistent warm temperatures day and night, you can bet that the paint job will result in a failure. The true test of a successful paint job is its longevity, so hold off on that outdoor painting project until the weather is not only warm, but consistently warm.

So, if you are thinking of checking a DIY exterior painting project from your to-do list this month, I hope that this entry has convinced you to wait until May!

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*** There are other factors that affect when you can paint outside, such as moisture content and humidity, but those are topics for another day. This entry only addresses the temperature.

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