When Is The Best Time To Paint Your House's Exterior?

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

Painting the outside of your home is quite an undertaking, even if you live in a modest single-story dwelling. There is preparation work, setup, and all sorts of supplies necessary. You also need to find time in your schedule since this is often a project that can span many days. As you start looking at your calendar you should also look at the weather calendar as well in order to choose the best time to paint your house.

The best time to paint your house is on a mild temperature day with overcast skies, low humidity, and no chance of rain. Temperatures that are either too hot or cold can make the paint difficult to apply and can affect the quality. Humid temperatures might make it difficult for paint to properly dry. Direct sunlight can also damage paint, but so can rain. This makes overcast conditions ideal.

There are all sorts of variables that affect how paint goes on surfaces and dries. Therefore, there are several weather conditions you need to consider when you plan to paint your home’s exterior. There is temperature to think about, and humidity. There are even certain seasons that are better than others. But there is no need to stress, just keep reading as we will cover all these factors so you know the best possible time to paint the outside of your home.

The Best Times Of Year To Paint You House’s Exterior

Just as there are seasons for baking and seasons for gardening, there are also seasons that are best suited for painting outside. Of course, seasons may look unique where you live, but this guide considers that summer is hot and winter dips below freezing.

Each climate tends to have its own wettest season and months. Therefore make sure your top priority is avoiding these wettest months, and then find the sweet spot that works with the ideal season.

Typically it is best to paint the exterior of your home at the end of spring to the start of summer, or end of summer into the start of fall (whichever is drier where you live). This time of year works for several reasons. For one, the days are usually fairly long (these times fall around the equinox, allowing for a good amount of daylight throughout the globe).

This time of year also offers mild conditions in general. For one, it is rarely extreme in heat or in cold. This means you don’t need to focus so much on the temperature, and you can focus more on the humidity and cloud cover. This time of year also lacks the heavier storms (with exception of a few random tropical storm threats), and generally have ample nice days.

Outdoor Painting In Humid Versus Dry Conditions

Humidity is the enemy of any water-based paint, or any paint that requires moisture to evaporate in order for it to dry properly. This, in fact, is most exterior paints you are likely to use. This means you should never paint when the relative humidity is 100%.

In fact, as a rule, try not to pick up a brush if the humidity is likely to stay above 80% for the day. If you live in an area where it is almost always fairly humid, try to pick a relatively dry day, and start your painting earlier in the day. This will allow ample time for the paint to dry.

Drier conditions are definitely preferable. However, too dry could also cause some issues. Make sure you are not pointing on a day so dry that the paint is likely to dry too quickly. Paint drying too quickly could mean it dries before you can properly spread it thinly, or if your brush begins to dry and harden while you are still painting.

How Temperature Factors Into Exterior Painting

Many think that as long as you avoid rainy or humid weather there is nothing more to worry about when it comes to painting a home’s exterior. While moisture is certainly an important factor, the outdoor temperature can also determine whether or not it is a good day to paint your house.

Ideal Temperatures For Painting The Outside Of Your Home

The best temperatures for outdoor painting are considered more mild temperatures between mid-50s to mid-80s in Fahrenheit. This is when paint is at its ideal temperature. It won’t be too viscous and there is no risk of it being damaged or becoming serrated due to extreme temperatures.

These temperatures are also great for the painter, and in many cases that means you. Painting when it is cold is no fun, as you need tower layers and are likely still a bit chilly. Painting when it is hot can be brutal and incredibly uncomfortable.

When It is Too Cold To Paint Outdoors

It can definitely be too cold to paint. Paint is a liquid. Just like other liquids, paint can freeze. While it is certainly a bad idea to consider painting outside when it is below freezing, there are risks when you paint even at around 50 degrees.

Paint can grow increasingly thick and viscous as the temperature cools. This can make it difficult to spread the paint, making it potentially blotchy and uneven. It can even be difficult to coat your brush when the paint is that thick. This is why it is best to aim for a day between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit if possible.

Can It Be Too Hot To Paint The Outside Of Your Home?

It is possible that paint can steerage or lose some of its qualities in extreme heat. This is why it is not recommended to paint when it is above 85 degrees. If you are uncertain about whether or not you should be painting on a warm day, check the paint label, as there should be a heat warning if heat is a factor.

Heat can also be dangerous to your body. Performing outdoor work or exercise over a prolonged period in heat puts you at risk for dehydration or even heat stroke. It is best to wait a few days for the heat wave to pass.

Sunny Days Versus Cloudy Days: Which Is Better For Painting

Painting Your Home’s Exterior When It’s Sunny

You might think that a bright sunny day is the perfect day for painting. Sure a mild dry day is ideal. Sun, however, may be a bit more problematic than you think. If you paint on the cusp of summer (in fall or spring for example) you are likely to have less direct sunlight. If, however, you decide to paint your home’s exterior in the middle of summer, the sun can be quite harmful.

UV rays from the sun can harm paint while it is drying. This can dull the color and break down the paint’s composition a bit. While this will happen in most cases (and there are UV blockers to protect your paint), too much direct sun is not ideal. It can essentially cause your paint to fade.

Painting Your Home’s Exterior When It’s Cloudy Or Overcast

Painting when it is dry yet overcast is an ideal painting day. Add a nice light breeze and you have the perfect day for painting your home’s exterior. The only trouble is that with overcast days often comes humidity and rain. If, however, you see cloudy yet dry days ahead, you might have found perfect painting days in your near future.

Can You Paint Your Home’s Exterior If It Might Rain?

Rain is, as we have mentioned before, the nemesis to the outdoor painter. You should do your best to avoid any possibility of rain during your paint job. Still, you may live in a climate where it rains nearly every day, or perhaps you have a tight schedule and there is potential for rain no matter what day you plan to paint.

If this is the case, you might want to know if you can paint if it’s going to rain. The answer is, sometimes. While it is certainly not ideal, with proper preparation you can sometimes paint outdoors when it is raining. The key is to cover the area you are painting in order to have good results.

If you need to paint when it is raining, it is critical you don’t let raindrops hit the wet paint. This will leave marks and leave you with a very sloppy finished product. However, using tenting and tarps, you can cover certain areas of the home and protect them from direct rainfall. Just make sure you aren’t overly ambitious. Choose small areas to paint at a time, and move on to the next area once the previous area is fully dry.

Wrapping Up The Best Time To Paint A Home Exterior

Painting the outside of your home is no small task. It takes ample planning and time. Since this is a project you don’t want to repeat, it is best to choose ideal conditions to paint outside. Choose a mild day, between 60 and 80 degrees. Overcast skies are ideal, but sunny weather is better than painting when there is any chance of rain. Paint when there is plenty of light left, and when the humidity won’t go over 80% if possible.

Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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