You can paint the inside of your house during every season and under nearly every condition—after all, interiors are typically controlled environments, meaning the temperature and humidity can be adjusted to work best for painting. But when it comes to painting house exteriors, it's an entirely different matter. Unfortunately, the success of your project is often at the mercy of the weather elements you encounter. Rather than adjusting the conditions around your project, you'll need to adjust the project around the weather conditions. So when is the best time to give your home's exterior a little refresh? We break it down.
The Best Season to Paint a House Exterior
The optimal painting season for house exteriors is typically regarded as summer. By that point in the year, the weather is warm and rain is at a minimum. However, "summer" doesn't mean the same thing (or include the same months) in all parts of the country, so it's more important to focus on days that boast the proper weather conditions, rather than how you refer to the season. For areas that experience hurricanes or monsoon-like conditions toward the end of summer, start painting earlier on in the season instead. Extreme heat should be avoided too, as it can prematurely cure paint, causing it to dry almost instantly as it's applied. To avoid this, skip painting when the sun is shining directly on your surface.
Painting During Autumn
Temperature fluctuations are also an important factor to consider when deciding when to paint your home's exterior. Paint doesn't dry well when temperatures vary drastically, like on a day that reaches 105 degrees Fahrenheit but drops down to 43 degrees in the evening. For that reason, early fall may also be a good time of year to paint, as daytime and nighttime temperatures are often closer than during other times of the year.
Painting During Winter
Many paint manufacturers recommend a minimum outside temperature for painting, making it difficult to successfully coat a house's exterior during winter in some parts of the country. However, as paint quality improves, minimum temperature requirements increase. It used to be recommended that you never paint a house in temps below 50 degrees, but modern formulas now allow you to paint in temperatures as low as 35 degrees. Translation: Northern states should call it quits around November, while southern states can continue painting through December.
Painting in Moist Conditions
As a rule of thumb, paint should only be applied to a dry surface. When painting outdoors, you run the risk of your exterior surface becoming moist, either from rain and snow or from humidity in the air.
If you're unsure if moisture is present on your exterior, do a detailed check of the surface you'll be painting—if it feels wet, even in the slightest, do not paint. This holds especially true if you've recently experienced inclement weather—even if your exterior doesn't feel damp to the touch, it may be wet within, especially if it's made of a porous material like untreated wood or masonry. It's best to wait at least a full day from the wet weather before you resume painting.
Keep in mind that moisture doesn't always take the form of a massive thunderstorm—it can occur indirectly, too. Dew forming overnight or in early evenings can just as easily ruin exterior paint, even if it was a dry 70 degrees just six hours earlier.
When it comes to the exterior of your home, the paint you choose will have to be a workhorse. Not only should your chosen shade to stand up to any weather condition, but you want it to last years, if not decades. When it comes to choosing the right paint type and application for your area, we recommend tapping the professionals. There are plenty of DIY home projects you can tackle, but a large-scale paint job on the exterior of your house probably isn't one.