The Brad Stoner Painting Blog

The Brad Stoner Painting Blog

The Brad Stoner Painting blog is your San Diego Painting information destination for everything to do with painting; house painting, commercial painting, interior, exterior, picking the right contractor, the latest painting trends and much, much more.

What's the Best Time to Paint?

Brad Stoner

Just because the can of paint says the painting application temperature is 50-90 degrees doesn’t mean you should paint your trim on a day that is 52 degrees.  We’re not saying you can’t, but after you read this you will see we are just looking out for your best interests. Here's why.

Paint is a stew of chemicals, including binders, solvents and pigments, which all harden into a protective film. It is not, as some homeowners are wont to believe, affected by willpower. There are those who have the Romans 8:38 mentality of painting, that "neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers" can stop them, brush in hand. However, the unassailable laws of science demand certain conditions for the paint to form properly. 


Ambient Air Temperature
Most manufacturers suggest painting between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Some new paints, like Sherwin-Williams Duration, can be applied in temperatures down to 35 degrees. This, however, is only half the story.

Paint takes longer to cure the colder it gets. If you apply an oil-based exterior paint at 50-55 degrees, for instance, you may have to wait 48 hours before recoating! Also, whereas water-based paint will freeze at lower temperatures, oil- and alkyd-based paints will increase in viscosity –they become goopy, like syrup – which hampers application and tampers with texture.

Fluctuations in diurnal temperatures are just as critical. When the thermostat yo-yos, it bungles evaporation rates, causes surface shrinkage, and may produce cracks.

Surface Temperature
On a heavy summer day, outdoor furniture or home siding may sizzle at 10-30 degrees hotter than the surrounding air temperature. How does this happen?

Most opaque objects absorb radiant solar heat that passes, unchecked, through air. Paint will bubble, peel or crack if slathered on a surface hotter than 90 degrees, so check the conditions with a non-contact infrared thermometer, or paint out of direct sunlight. In a pinch, you can heat a small surface using a catalytic propane heater and a box fan. For handiwork projects, you can use a hair blow dryer.

Air Humidity
Paint, like humans, prefers a relative humidity level around 40-70 percent and a slight breeze. You can run a dehumidifier or air conditioner in the summer to decrease indoor humidity.
Under no circumstances should you paint when the air temperature is expected to fall below the dew point temperature within the drying time. You'll stain your paint. Always wait 24 hours following rain to paint outside, longer if you're covering a hydrophilic surface like brick or stucco.

At Brad Stoner Painting, we don't enjoy being outside in 95+ or less than 35 degree weather, anyway. We serve the San Diego area and we like to work when the weather is wonderful – because great weather makes great paint.  The weather is wonderful right now.  Call now!

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