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When is the Best Time to Paint Your Exterior

It is time to paint the house. You have known this project has been coming for years and now the peeling paint is staring you in the face. The supplies have been purchased and you nearly trip over the cans of paint while walkingpeeling paint through the garage. It’s at the top of your to-do list and you have used all of the excuses in the book to avoid this project, but one excuse remains--”I can’t paint if it’s too cold, I can’t paint if it’s too hot,” so when is the best time of the year to paint your home exterior?

The best time to paint your exterior is early summer and early fall as those times offer the preferred weather conditions. With low amounts of rain and minimal fluctuations in temperatures from day to night you can find a great time to paint. This will ensure the paint goes on smoothly and has a chance to dry properly.

 

Basics

Let’s start with the basics. A general rule of thumb is that oil-based paint can be applied when temperatures are between 40°-90° F and latex paint between 50°-85° F. The best drying will occur when the relative humidity is between 40-70%.

 

Moisture

water on wood

Like many outdoor projects, you need the weather to cooperate for your paint job to turn out well. Ideally, you want to choose a time that gives you warm, dry days. But if it rains a few days before application, your siding may need a few days to fully dry out. The same goes for after application. While the paint is curing, you want to make sure that it is not going to pour rain and ruin your paint job. Check the surface to be painted. If it feels wet, you should wait. Even if it does not feel wet to the touch, it may be wet within, especially on a porous surface like bare wood. And remember, moisture can come from dew forming over night which could affect exterior paint.

 

Temperature Fluctuations

thermometer showing changes

It will also be good to avoid large temperature fluctuations--not only from day-to-day fluctuations but also from day to night. If you have ideal painting conditions during the day, but then there is a sudden drop in temperature at night, the paint will react and may not cure properly. Although the house will be painted, there may be cracking and peeling that you’ll have to address.

 

Ideal Conditions

four houses nicely painted

After studying the weather report, you want to aim for moderately warm conditions with little to no wind. Partly cloudy weather is better than sunny weather because the sun can heat the surface and cause cracking. But you can combat this by working your way around the house so that you are not painting in the sun. The temperature should stay above the dew point at night. And the forecast should be stable for one or two days thereafter to give the paint time to cure.