Original Post Januray 2011; updated
Temperature is a critical factor in determining when you choose to paint. In our course of work we often paint exteriors in December, January, February, and March. It is paramount to be mindful that the temperature remain within acceptable manufacturer application recommendations for at least two to three hours after paint has been applied. Low temperature paints can coalesce as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit. This house painting video from February 2011 shows a Seattle home in winter painted with low temperature paint. Our in-house guideline; if its cold and dry… paint from 10am to 2pm if the temperature is no lower than 40 degrees F, and no rain is expected for the day.
The majority of waterborne and alkyd paints have a fairly high temperature range for proper curing. Most manufacturers recommend applying their products only if the air temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This can prove to be problematic in the fall and winter months as well as in colder regions. However, with new innovations in paint chemistry, new “low temperature” paints are now being sold on the consumer market.
These new products can be applied at temperatures as low as 35 degrees. Sherwin Williams has come to have a fairly wide range of products all meeting such criteria. These include but are not limited to the Rodda/Cloverdale AC Series, Resilience, SuperPaint and A-100 Exterior series paint products. Benjamin Moore’s MoorGuard, MoorLife, and Super Spec paints can also be applied at lower temperatures, with a minimum recommendation of 40 degrees.
Though we have yet to see the results of long term testing, as long as these paints are used while temperatures at least meet the minimum recommended range, there shouldn’t be any issues with curing. With that being said, if one is to paint in such a climate they must be aware of temperature fluctuations throughout the day. What may start out within the acceptable range during the day can change dramatically towards the evening. Though these products can be used well below the conditions of standard paints, they are still not impervious to adverse weather conditions. If temperatures fall below the recommended range there is a risk of the paint not curing properly, leading to running, bubbling, peeling and limited longevity.
Still, the advent of these new products are giving consumers and contractors alike more freedom to choose when they want to start their painting projects, whether its later in the year, or merely less than desirable weather conditions.