When should you start exterior painting project?

We get asked all the time when is the best time to paint the exterior of your house. Customers want to know if it should be in the spring, summer or fall? With this changing climate there is never a perfect season, you never know what the season will bring these days, it could be 15 degrees in July or 35 degrees, or it could be -2 in May or +20. So, the answer is, there is no good time of year, but their are ideal conditions to paint outside. In our experience, there are 3 major factors that cause paint to fail:

  1. Moisture in the wood
  2. Painting in direct sunlight
  3. Temperature
There is a lot of advice to wait 3 days after rain or washing before applying a paint or stain. However, wood could be ready to paint in 24hrs or need 5 days, it all depends on the weather at the time. If the weather is 30+ for 24hrs and very dry, it could be ready. Or if the weather is 10 degrees and humid, it could take more than 3 days. The best way to decide whether to paint or not is to measure the moisture content of the wood. The moisture content needs to be less than 15% for the paint to adhere to the wood. We measure this on every job before we start to ensure the paint will adhere and we can warranty our work. Painting in direct sunlight on a hot day can also create blisters that appear the same day you paint them. This is because the top layer of paint dries before the bottom layer creating a bubble. It is best to plan out the job so you are working around the house where the sun his not hitting. This especially an issue when painting with dark colours that absorb the heat. Temperature plays a role in painting adhering too. Painting above 30 degrees is not recommended, the paint does not dry properly and bubbles. Painting at the end of the season is tricky too. Most paints will allow you to paint as low as 2 degrees, however, it takes 30 days for paint to cure, so you can not paint exterior if the forecast has the temperature going below freezing 30 days from the time you paint. These are the top 3 reasons paint can fail, other failures can occur due to poor preparation, lack of primer, wrong product for the application.

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