February 14, 2023 4 min read

While painting in cold weather may not be ideal, it's sometimes necessary. Maybe you were far too busy during the rest of the year to get to your exterior paint project, or you just now noticed parts of your home's paint you'd like to touch up.

Fortunately, while there are a few extra considerations and challenges when it comes to painting in colder weather, it's possible to properly and thoroughly paint your home's exterior in the cold. Follow our tips for cold-weather painting, such as planning and having the right tools, and you'll be ready to take on your cold-weather project.

What to Consider When Planning to Paint in Cold Weather

Before you grab a brush and start painting, you may want to take the time to consider some of the unique challenges of painting in cold temperatures.

First, you'll want to check the weather. For exterior painting, cold temperatures are one thing, but snow, rain and ice are another. Even if it's not actively snowing or raining during the time you plan to paint, you'll want to make sure there's no precipitation beforehand. Further, icy surfaces will impact your paint application and pose safety risks for you or whoever is painting.

Next, some paint isn't suited for painting at certain temperatures. Check your chosen paint's can for information on the optimal painting temperature and ensure your paint can handle the weather. If it can't, you'll either need to buy a new type of paint or wait for more ideal temperatures.

Finally, consider how long this paint project will take you. Don't expect a quick painting process, as paint can take longer to dry in colder temperatures. In order to make your paint look good, you should be willing to add extra time to your painting project.

Top 5 Tips on How to Paint in Cold Weather

Are you ready to try your hand at a winter painting project? You can successfully paint outside in cold weather if you keep the following tips in mind.

1. Buy Cold Weather Compatible Paint

Generally, painting is OK within the range of 35 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but some paint works better than others at certain temperatures. It's important to choose the right kind of paint during a cold-weather painting project to ensure your work lasts.

Typically, acrylic latex paints are a great option for painting during the colder months. We also recommend using Benjamin Moore paint for any cold-weather painting. Benjamin Moore has easy-to-use data sheets you can reference to see what paints and primers would work best for your application in cold weather. For other paint brands, look for any temperature specifications on the paint cans label or the brand's website.

2. Use the Right Tools

You can expect paint to thicken in colder weather conditions. Therefore, you'll want to use stiffer paint brushes to give you a better, more even application. Paint brushes made with Chinex, nylon or polyester bristles are ideal. In addition to working well for cold weather paint jobs, stiff bristle paint brushes also give you more control when painting.

You may also want to use a heat tool, like a hairdryer, to help you warm up particularly cold exterior surfaces. Lightly applying heat to an area just before painting it can help the paint apply better. If you do this, make sure the surface is just warm enough to the touch — don't blast it with heat.

3. Check the Weather Forecast

If the temperature outside gets much below 35 degrees Fahrenheit, your paint won't dry properly, and you'll probably have a less than enjoyable experience trying to paint in such low temperatures.

When checking the weather forecast, you need to also take note of the temperature after you plan to finish painting. You'll want to make sure the outdoor temperature will stay above your paint's recommended temperature for 48 hours after painting. This includes throughout the night.

Just because the weather is warm enough during the day doesn't mean it'll stay warm enough through the night. Temperatures dropping throughout the night will disrupt the drying process and can ruin all the hard work you put into properly painting your home.

4. Use an Infrared Thermometer

Air temperature is a crucial factor for painting during cold months, but the temperature of the surface you plan to paint may be even more important. It's possible that the surface you plan to paint is colder than the surrounding air. If the surface is colder than 35 degrees Fahrenheit, the same rules apply for air temperatures below 35 degrees.

In order to make sure your surface is warm enough to paint on, you'll want to invest in an infrared thermometer. Paint professionals commonly use infrared thermometers to verify surface temperature, so it's a good idea for you to do so, too. 

5. Plan for Extra Drying Time

While paint can dry in cold weather, it may take some extra time. For exterior painting projects, sunlight can help paint dry faster, and as sunlight becomes more limited during the winter months, your paint may take longer than usual to dry.

You may even need to allow your paint to dry for a whole day before adding a second coat. So, plan properly and assume your paint will take longer to dry. Also, remember to check the weather for the added time your paint may need to dry. It's best to make sure the following days after painting will stay warm enough in case your drying time takes even longer than anticipated.

Trust Aboff's Paint for Your Painting Needs

At Aboff's Paint, we have all the supplies you need for a successful paint job, even during the colder months. As Long Island's number one Benjamin Moore retailer, our products will help you achieve the highest-quality finish.

Shop our wide selection of Benjamin Moore paint and use this online guide to ensure your paint is optimal for cold weather. You can also visit an Aboff's Paint store near you to have our expert staff help you find the perfect paint.

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