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Can Temperature Affect Paint?

calander Apr 8 , 2020 user-icon Nash Painting

Even a relatively small home painting project can end in disaster in the wrong conditions. Not only should you prepare your area and surfaces before getting started -- you must also consider how the environment might impact your results. Most people know that painting a house exterior during heavy rainfall or a wind storm isn’t a great idea. But these aren’t the only conditions to think about when it comes to painting. You might wonder if temperature can affect paint, and, if so, what you can do to ensure that this factor doesn’t interfere with your paint’s application or drying process.

So, can temperature affect paint?

The Short Answer

Yes. Temperature can and does affect paint. However, this answer probably isn’t all that surprising, nor is it particularly useful. What matters more is understanding how temperature affects both interior & exterior painting projects. This knowledge will help you apply and maintain your paint job so it looks its best and lasts as long as possible.

How and Why Temperature Affects Paint

The laws of physics are universal, and paint products aren’t exempt from this reality. Temperature is merely a measurement of the speed, or kinetic energy, of particles. When particles move fast, this results in higher temperatures. Slow-moving particles produce lower temperatures. So, what does this mean for paint?

Like all matter, paint is composed of particles, and so is the air. The temperature of the air affects the temperature of the paint. When the air is warm enough, it can cause wet paint particles to move around more than they should, thinning the coat and speeding up the drying process. This rapid drying can lead to wrinkles and bumps in the finish. Conversely, when the air is beneath a certain temperature, paint particles huddle up, thickening the substance. This can lead to longer dry times, which may result in sagging or running.

In order to achieve the best results, then, you’ll want to paint in the “Goldilocks” temperature zone. Note that this range varies slightly depending on the type of paint you’re working with and the exact product you’re using. Generally speaking, most oil-based paints should be applied in temperatures between 40 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and latex or acrylic paints should be applied between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Paint manufacturers typically label their products with the proper painting temperature range to help painters do the job right.

Exterior Painting Considerations

With all this in mind, professional exterior painting services tend to work seasonally, based on the climate of the region(s) they serve. Nashville painters have it pretty good, as temperatures here are relatively suitable for exterior painting year-round, save for perhaps December through February where lows can dip to 30 degrees and below and highs might not exceed 45 degrees. Some days in the summer months might also be off the menu if temperatures exceed 90 degrees.

Interior Painting Considerations

As for interior painting contractors, they can work year-round regardless of where they are on the map. That said, internal temperatures must still be optimized for a given paint job. When painting an interior during the colder months, then, make sure your heating system runs consistently and isn’t cranked too high. And during the hotter season, only paint if you have functional air conditioning. Otherwise, wait until things cool off outside so your home remains temperature and perfect for painting.

The perfect paint job requires the right conditions. You can’t control the weather or temperature, but you can be strategic about when you paint or hire painting services to coat your interior and/or exterior. If you’re not sure when to tackle your next home painting project, Nash Painting can come up with the right schedule for your needs.

To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!