When it comes to painting outside, there is one major factor that you need to take into consideration: the weather.
Without a roof over your head to protect the paint job, you have to make sure you have a good window of time in which the weather will provide the optimal conditions for you to paint the desired surface, and then allow it to dry.
There are some obvious weather conditions to look out for, such as rain. Because you can’t exactly paint if the rain is simultaneously washing the paint away. But another vital thing to look out for, that is easier to forget, is the temperature.
There is such a thing as it being too cold to paint, as the temperature can significantly affect the way in which the paint works and adheres to surfaces. So, for example, if it’s too cold, the paint might not properly adhere, and will instead begin to crack or peel off!
With that being said, what is the best temperature to paint outside? What are the optimal conditions?
If you’re going to paint outside, the best possible temperature is anywhere between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Although most paints can be used from temperatures at 50 degrees Fahrenheit and above.
The ideal humidity range would be between 40% and 70%, and if we’re getting picky, there should also not be any wind, or else the paint will dry too fast and unevenly.
So basically, you want a nice sunny and dry day, with a temperature that averages out at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
What is the lowest temperature you can paint the exterior?
The extremes in temperature are bad, especially for painting. But sometimes you’re in urgent need to complete a paint job, and you can’t exactly control the weather… So what is the limit? As in, what is the lowest temperature you can paint the exterior in?
The lowest temperature for viable painting in the exterior can often vary from paint to paint, as different makes of paint will have different levels of resistance to certain temperatures, and some might have been designed and formulated to be used in colder locations, due to necessity. So you should always double-check the label of your paint, and follow the limitations in temperature stated there.
But if we’re talking about the lowest temperature for exterior painting, on average and as a general rule…then the lowest temperature would be around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, 45 degrees if you’re pushing it. So if it’s colder than that, it might be worth waiting until the warmer season, or else you might risk your paint job not being successful, which would then be a waste of time, energy, and resources.
But as we mentioned, it can also depend on the brand of paint and the way it has been formulated. If you can’t afford to wait until the warmer seasons to get done with the painting, then you can look out for special paints that have been designed for use in cold weather. For example, some of the lowest temperatures for specific paints are as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
But even with the paints that can be used in lower temperatures, it is important to be aware that the temperature stated is the absolute limit, and any lower than that might lead to the paint not working properly. And the thing is, you can’t just look at the temperature in the air around you. You have to check the temperature of the surface that you are painting, as that is what will majorly come in contact with the paint and affect it!
This is important to remember because sometimes surfaces can get colder than the air around them! Plus, it is important that the temperature does not go lower throughout the entire painting process, and during the time that it takes for the paint to dry and settle into place.
So if you start painting and the temperature is above the indicated limit, but then after a few hours it becomes colder, there’s a big risk the paint will not fully adhere to the surface or become cracked.
What happens if you paint outside when it’s too cold?
If it’s too cold outside, then the painting has a bigger risk of going wrong, with many different problems arising, due to how the paint will react to the lower temperatures.
Here are a few of the main issues caused by it being too cold when you paint outside:
- The paint will take way longer to dry, dragging the whole process to take way more than necessary. It will also risk more weather conditions disrupting the drying process!
- Lower temperatures will often lead to moisture in the air. If the surface becomes damp, then the paint will be prone to cracking and eventually peeling off, making the job unsuccessful.
- The moisture from colder temperatures can also cause the paint to become stained, with an uneven and unprofessional end result.
Is it OK to paint in the sun?
Sunny days are often regarded as the ideal days for painting in the exterior, as they will likely provide you with a warm and dry day, ideal for helping the paint dry evenly and fast.
However, there is a downside to painting in the sun, or rather, painting in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will provide a lot more warmth, and it might cause the paint to dry a little too fast (yes, there is such a thing as paint drying too fast). This will then cause the paint to not have the chance to fully adhere before it has dried, meaning it might be prone to falling off, chipping, and peeling.
So aim for sunny dry days, but try to avoid direct sunlight, and maybe start painting in the shaded areas!
When should you paint outside?
Ideally, you should paint outside when the weather and temperature conditions are optimal. It is important to have a warm and dry day, with viable temperatures for the paint to properly adhere onto the surface, and to then dry evenly.