How-To Videos

Painting Outside in Cold Weather

By: Danny Lipford

Exterior latex paint and caulking doesn’t dry or cure as well in temperatures below 50° F, particularly if the humidity is high. That means that a paint job done in colder weather may not last as long and could have to be redone more often.

If you do paint during cooler temperatures, make sure to stop several hours before sunset, so the paint will have time to dry before night falls and the dew sets in.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Video Transcript

Danny Lipford: If you’re like me, some of those chores you said you’d get done back in the spring slipped over into the summer, then the fall. And now the winter is here, and you still haven’t touched them.

Well, I’ve never be one to encourage procrastination; but if there’s a paint job on that list, you may need to keep putting it off for a few more months. The reason is this—paint simply doesn’t cure as well at lower temperatures, especially if the humidity is high.

The fact that the paint dries slower may not seem like a problem, but over the long haul it can mean a shorter life for that paint job. Below 50 degrees Fahrenheit the chemical reactions in latex paints slow down, and it becomes difficult for it to form a film or stick to the surface where you’ve applied it.

Now, that means that the paint will likely fail far sooner than it should. In other words, you’ll have that paint job back on your list of chores before you really want it.

Now, if you’re fortunate enough to have temperatures above 50 degrees this time of the year, think about this. You still have less daylight, and that’s a real important factor in drying paint. So you’ll want to wrap up all of your paint work at least a couple of hours before the sun sets, so that it has some time to dry before temperatures drop and dew starts to form.

So if you’re thinking about painting, make sure that you keep an eye on the thermometer, so that you don’t have to do the job over again too soon.


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2 Comments on “Painting Outside in Cold Weather”

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  • Gary Davis Says:
    March 31st, 2019 at 10:39 am

    Hi Johanna, it sounds like you have a issue that might go a little further then the weather. Several things can cause paint not to adhere to sheetrock, like oil, mildew, grease,certain dust, etc. To add further latex, bonds, and oil seals, have you tried using a oil based primer like kills?

  • Johannah Brookwell Says:
    December 5th, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Just watched the video on painting when under 50 degrees and with high humidity… and it’s effect on adhering to the surface. However what would make INSIDE paint not adhere … we have this issue throughout our house. The paint scrapes off easily and goes right back down the the actual SHEETROCK and the sheetrock looks as if it were never painted at all. It adheres to the spackling – just not to the sheetrock. No matter what primer we have used, in comes down from 3-5 years after we repaint.
    ANY help appreciated. We can’t afford to replace the whole house’s sheetrock so we just scrape it off and repaint!

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Painting Outside in Cold Weather