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Choosing Your Next Paint Project by Season

The prospect of painting your home can be intimidating given the planning and expense involved Whether you want to give your house a fresh new look or protect various surfaces from the elements, you want a quality paint job for your money.

How to plan your paint projects by season

Whether you plan to DIY or hire a professional, it’s important to factor in the time of the year and the weather conditions. The perfect outdoor temperature for painting ensures shorter drying times and minimizes paint sagging, cracking, or discoloration. Wind is another thing to think about, especially if you will be using a spray. These are the best paint projects by season:

Home painting projects for summer

The best temperature for painting outside is between 40° and 90° Fahrenheit for oil-based paints and from 50° to 85°F for latex-based paints. Temperatures above 90° will undermine the proper bonding of your paint, potentially leading to peeling, cracking, or uneven texture. Direct sunlight can cause surface temperatures to rise significantly and compromise the quality of the paint job. Too much wind can blow dust and debris onto the paint and cause the solvent to dry too quickly.

It’s also critical to prioritize safety when planning summer home painting projects. Without the proper precautions, physical exertion and high temperatures can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Consider working in the cooler times of the day like early mornings and late evenings, especially for highly exposed areas like the roof. Stay hydrated and take a rest when you feel tired. Handling solvents and flammable materials when it is too hot outside will also present serious safety and health risks.

Save these paint projects for summer:

  • Projects to boost curb appeal — Choose smaller tasks that will not involve exposure to high temperatures for extended periods of time such as repainting the fence, porch floor, porch ceiling, and siding.
  • Exterior trim; focus on the entry door, deck, mailbox, and garage

Home painting projects for the fall

This season presents an excellent chance for preparing home for winter before the weather turns cold and nasty. It is a particularly good time to paint indoors, so you can open the windows to let the paint fumes escape and promote drying. There are several reasons why you should not paint outside in the fall. Low temperatures can affect the drying and bonding processes, causing the paint to crack and peel. However, if the exterior of your house has not been painted for a while, you can consider using a stain or sealer to keep wood from absorbing water before applying a fresh coat of paint on the surface to protect it against the extreme winter weather.

The cooler temperatures make the fall a better time to paint compared to hot summer days. However, you should choose days when the temperature ranges from 50 to 55°F. Anything below 50° is a tricky outdoor temperature for painting; the cooler air makes it hard for the paint to dry and bond to the surface, leading to an unattractive appearance. Painting between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm is best in the fall since temperatures are more or less consistent. Be sure to check wind speeds to avoid it blowing falling leaves onto your freshly applied paint.

Save these paint projects for fall:

  • Interior painting projects like freshening up the bedrooms or giving the living room a new look.

  • Exterior painting projects such as wood trim, wood siding, and wood around the doors and windows to protect against snow and ice. But make sure the temperature is perfect for a proper paint job.
  • Spray painting metal lawn furniture

Home painting projects during winter

Winter’s freezing temperatures can adversely affect paint and paint application. Oil-based paints will thicken when temperatures are low, making it difficult to achieve even and smooth application. On the other hand, the water in latex paint is likely to freeze in cold weather. Extremely cold weather will affect how the chemicals in paint bond together, leading to poor coverage, color inconsistency, peeling, cracking, bubbling, blushing, and low sheen. It’s also unwise to paint outdoors during this season, since the paint will streak when exposed to rain.

You can still do some painting projects during wet weather and cold temperatures. Provided you choose paints formulated for cold weather and it does not get colder than the minimum outdoor temperature for painting, you can work on indoor projects and your paint will dry properly. For the best results, take time to prepare the surface, paint from top-down, and use a roller for broad walls and a brush for corners, edges, and trims. To avoid being stuck with paint fumes in the house, increase air circulation by opening doors and windows, using fans, or even blow heaters.

Tackle these interior paint projects in the winter:

  • Update interior paint, covering the walls and basement ceilings

  • Paint old wood trim and interior doors
  • Paint kitchen cabinets and stairs

Home painting projects to complete in spring

In spring when weather shifts from messy to mild, people will turn to the outdoors. Spring tends to have a better outdoor temperature for painting,  because temperatures are not as extreme and tend to be relatively steady during the day and night. The best temperature for painting outside is above 50°F, but before it gets too hot. However, spring can be a rainy season in some parts of the country, which can lead to delays if your crew has to wait out the rain. After a rainstorm, you should wait a couple of days to make sure the siding is completely dry and there is no moisture captured within.

Save these paint projects for spring:

  • Paint the exterior of your home including the siding, trim and front door
  • Apply fresh coats of paint or stain on fences, gates, curbs, and patios

The bottom line

The best time to tackle your painting project will depend on the climate where you live. You should always plan these projects by the season if you want to achieve a flawless finish and long-lasting results. Choosing days with the most ideal outdoor temperature for painting will ensure a great drying and bonding process.

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