Weekend Warrior – Tips for Painting House Exterior during Winter

Paint can and brush sitting outsidePainting the exterior of a house in the winter comes with a few challenges. If your home desperately needs a new coat of paint and the job has to be done during the winter season, there are a few things you should know. While this task can ideally be done over the weekend, winter weather is unpredictable. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait a few extra days for various coats to dry.

First, oil-based exterior paints, or acrylic paints can be used in cold temperatures – 37 degrees and above. Anything colder and the paint will not adhere properly. There are several exterior acrylic paint options on the market. These paints develop a moisture-resistant film in half the time as regular paint.

Before starting your paint job, check the weather forecast. Keep in mind that if you get a day with a high of 60 degrees, you’ll still have to deal with lower temperatures for the majority of the day. Paint relies on air temperature for proper drying, so start working as soon as the temperature hits 37 degrees. Follow the sun around the house as you work. You should also protect yourself from the cold weather by keeping a heater turned on nearby as you work.

If the paint hasn’t completely dried before dew sets in, chances are it will become patchy as moisture gets trapped under the paint film. To help avoid this problem, allow extra time between coats, since colder weather slows down the drying period.

Here are a few more general painting tips:

  • To make your leftover paint last longer once your house has been painted, place a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the can. Spray cooking oil over the plastic, tightly secure the lid, and turn it upside down.
  • Painting from top to bottom prevents streaks – this applies to both indoor and outdoor paint jobs.
  • Go with quality over price – especially when painting your exteriors in the winter. Low quality paint will not stand up well against everyday weathering.
  • Primer is highly recommended because it allows the paint to adhere to the surface better. Oil primers are best, topped off with latex or acrylic paint for a great seal.