What do professional painters and a small, cheeky, bear-harassing girl from a children’s tale have in common? They like it when conditions are just right: not too hot, not too cold. Painters, in some sense, are even fussier (though they won’t enter into your home uninvited); they want to make sure things aren’t too dry or too wet, too windy, too sunny; the weather has to be pretty perfect to make sure paint adheres well. Weather has a dramatic effect on painting, so it’s important to know what conditions your painters are looking for.
The temperature outside can affect paint pretty dramatically, given it’s liquid-to-solid properties. When the weather is too cold, paint will thicken, making it harder to apply; it will also dry more slowly, because the atmosphere can’t absorb as much moisture, and this can result in cracking. Heat, conversely, can cause a host of different problems with your paint job. Wood or other surfaces that are too hot can cause paint to blister when applied. Hot paint also has a tendency to dry too fast, the opposite problem we had with our cold paint; it becomes hard to spread, and can dry on the roller if conditions are particularly warm. Temperature fluctuations on the day you’re painting can also be problematic; if conditions are perfect at 15 degrees, but the overnight low is -5, the lower nighttime temperatures may sabotage your efforts.
Humidity has a pretty dramatic effect on paint as well; just imagine painting in the rain, and you’ll be able to appreciate how futile it is to paint when not even your sweat will evaporate because of the humidity. For the same reason paint takes a long time to dry when it’s cold, it will dry slowly when it’s humid; the air can’t absorb the water that wants to evaporate. Readers with excellent predictive abilities will know what’s coming next in our narrative: conditions that are too dry will lead to the paint drying very quickly, and the paint won’t adhere properly to the surface.
The sun and the wind will also lead to problems with your paint. The sun’s UV rays can discolour paint, even on colder days; it’s the intensity of the sunlight, and not the heat, that creates this effect. The wind, on the other hand, works the same way as a dry or hot day; it helps the water in your paint evaporate quickly, which might make paint stick to rollers or adhere poorly to your home.
The optimal conditions for painting, then, are quite specific: a day that’s overcast, but with no chance of rain, very little wind, a daytime high of around 20 degrees and a nighttime low of around 15 degrees. Obviously, it’s impossible to find these conditions for most of the year, so the best exterior painting services have adapted their techniques and tools to work under most circumstances; just don’t expect anyone to paint your home’s exterior in the rain!