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The Best Time to Paint Your Home Exterior

First impressions are essential. When it comes to your home, an exterior with a smooth finish and fresh paint can maximize curb appeal.

Over time, your house is subject to weather – storms, harsh UV rays, and extreme temperatures – which can leave it looking shabby. Using the right exterior paint and applying it correctly can keep your home looking fresh for seven to ten years.

Painting a house is a BIG job, and it is hard to know where or when to start. When is the best time to paint your house?

Chipping, peeling, and fading are tell-tale signs that it is time to repaint your home. But the condition of the current coat is not the only thing to keep in mind when considering a fresh coat.

Getting Started: Important Factors to Consider

When working with paint, many variables can make or break your project, especially when you are working outside.

Paint is composed of three things:

  • Pigment: this gives paint its color
  • Binder: ensures pigments stick together and to the surface you are painting
  • Solvent: thins the paint and makes it easy to apply

The solvent begins to evaporate as soon as you apply paint to a surface. After the solvent has evaporated, the pigment binds to the surface, giving your home a beautiful smooth sheen.

Be careful! Interfering with this drying process will leave your results looking less than perfect. Here are some things to keep in mind to achieve a perfect coat outdoors:

  • Type of Paint
  • Temperature
  • Humidity

Poor conditions can cause cracked or peeling paint and a broken seal that will not protect your home from the elements.

And do not forget to plan ahead. Paint takes several days to fully dry and harden, or cure.

Picking the Best Exterior Paint

A flawless paint job may be the biggest asset to your home’s curb appeal. The weather dramatically impacts the project’s outcome, but picking the best paint for the job can drastically improve your chances of getting it right the first time.

The best exterior paints can withstand weather, resist moisture, and protect wood. When selecting exterior paint, it should:

1. Be Durable

Highly ranked water-based latex paints contain higher-quality pigments. They are also thicker and stickier than a cheaper option. These can give your home a longer-lasting color. However, if you use water-based paint, look for an option with high acrylic content. Acrylic is a binder added to paint that allows it to resist cracking and repel rain.

Oil-based paints tend to be more durable than water-based paints. Oil paints can withstand rain and are easy to clean. However, they yellow more quickly, especially if you are working with shades of white.

2. Have Low VOCs

The fumes you smell when opening a paint can come from the chemicals and solvents in the paint. These are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and they are toxic.

VOCs are added to oil-based paints to quicken drying time and help them cure better.

If you are worried about smell or your health, stick with water-based latex paint. These can often be found in “low” or “zero” VOC options.

3. Give Lasting Color

Higher-quality paints have higher-quality pigments. Cheap pigments in low-budget paints usually fade over time, especially if they receive constant sun exposure.

When painting home exteriors, dark colors are more likely to fade than light ones. If you are dead set on dark pigments, make sure “titanium dioxide” is on the list of ingredients. This pigment resists UV rays and helps the paint retain its color.

4. Be Suited for the Surface

Not all paints are created for every surface, and adjusting the paint to different surfaces is necessary. Some paints adhere to raw wood, while others are meant for plastic siding or cement.

If you are painting wood siding, you want your paint to protect it from moisture. Water-based paints are often formulated to prevent cracking and peeling caused by harsh sun or rain.

For brick or stucco, the best bet is masonry paint. This specialty paint can hide imperfections on the surface of your home.

Best Temperature for Exterior Painting

Summer is considered the best season for exterior painting. Warm weather is usually a guarantee, and rain is infrequent. However, summer is not the same for everyone across the U.S., so we will focus on the specifics.

The best time to paint your house is when temperatures reach at least 50° Fahrenheit. For several days after you have finished painting, temperatures should remain above 32° Fahrenheit, even at night.

When temperatures drop, especially at night, dew forms on the surface of your home. This causes the solvent in the paint to evaporate too slowly, preventing a good film and a smooth coat from forming. This will increase the chances of cracked paint. Cold temperatures and moisture also increase the likelihood of staining or mildew growth.

Cold nights are not the only concern when finding an ideal temperature. Painting in high temperatures can cause paint to dry too quickly. The water in water-based latex paint should evaporate naturally over time for it to cure. If the paint doesn’t fully harden, bumps or “blisters” can form, ruining a smooth finish.

While there is no rule for maximum temperatures, make sure to keep an eye on the surface temperature of your home. It is way too hot for painting if you cannot rest your palm against your exterior walls for longer than a few seconds. When the exterior feels cool to the touch, it will be ready for a fresh coat.

If you are still not sure, be sure to check the paint can for brand-specific recommendations.

Optimum Humidity Levels for Painting

Too much moisture can ruin a paint project, as talked about above. Not enough moisture can also be a recipe for disaster.

In water-based latex paints, the water should dry as fast as or faster than the solvents in the paint. If the water dries more slowly than the solvents, the paint will not harden. The same is true for oil-based paints.

For best results, humidity should be between 40 and 50 percent. Some moisture is essential to maintain an even drying rate. If humidity levels are too low, it can be hard to apply even coats, and brush strokes will dry visible.

Never paint if humidity levels rise above 85 percent. When humidity reaches 70 percent, paint begins to dry too slowly and will not cure. Bugs, dust, or other debris can stick to gummy, tacky paint, leaving your home looking less than ideal.

Before beginning to paint the exterior of your home, make sure the surface is fully dry. If you have wood siding, wet wood can take several sunny or windy days until it is dry enough to paint.

Considering Heat and Humidity Together – When is the Best Time to Paint Your House?

Heat has a direct effect on humidity. As the temperature rises, humidity levels can rise with it. This is why we turn on the AC when the summer air starts to get sticky.

When painting, it is essential to find a balance between heat and humidity so paint can dry evenly and gradually. For best results:

1. Begin in the Morning

Start your painting project a few hours before the predicted peak temperature. By beginning before temperatures reach their highest, you are building in enough time for the paint to dry properly.

Be cautious. Make sure the morning dew has dried before applying any paint.

If humidity is rising with the temperature, the binder in the paint may weaken. This allows moisture to penetrate the surface of the paint and interfere with the evaporation process. Adding too much moisture as the paint dries can cause surface staining or prevent the pigment from properly adhering.

2. Paint in Late Spring or Early Fall

If you are accounting for the relationship between heat and humidity, the best time to paint your house may be late spring (May) or early fall (October).

However, painting uncoated raw wood (e.g., new shutters or decking) during these months can be risky. Uncoated wood is very porous, meaning it retains moisture deep within its core. Raw wood may be too wet to paint, even if it feels dry. Play it safe and wait to paint raw wood in the warmer and drier summer months.

If you live in humid climates, like America’s coastal south, summer may not be the ideal season for exterior painting. The increased rain brought by hurricanes or monsoon-like conditions in late summer can shrink the painting window. Residents in these areas should save painting home exteriors for early summer or the cooler, drier fall months.

Average Painting Cost for Home Exteriors

When it comes to painting your home, there is a lot to consider. You have factored in paint types, temperature, and humidity – now what?

Now it is time to set a budget.

Painting your home’s exterior can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000 – that is 50¢ to $5 per square foot. This estimate takes into account the size of your home, paint cost, and labor.

When painting your house, you have two options: do it yourself or hire a contractor.

1. DIY Exterior Painting

Painting the exterior of your home by yourself may set you up for significant savings. However, are you prepared to take on the time and labor required for a professional finish?

First, you need to calculate the square footage of the paintable exterior. Multiply the length, width, and height of each wall, then add each wall together for your total. Find the square footage of your doors and windows and subtract those sums from the total. This will give you a reasonable estimate of the square footage of your home’s exterior.

A gallon of paint can cost $15 to $80, depending on the quality you choose. One gallon can cover about 400 square feet. You will need to double your numbers if you plan to apply a second coat.

When painting your home’s exterior, you will also need to account for the time it takes to prep the surface. You may need to sand rough surfaces, repair cracks, or remove mildew before painting can begin. Preparing your home’s surface may also require additional materials, like caulk, sanding equipment, or a power washer.

If you live in a multi-story home, a sturdy ladder or scaffold rental is essential.

2. Hiring a Contractor

Hiring a contractor to paint your house can save you a ton of time and labor, but the total cost of the project will increase. Labor is the most expensive part of painting your home.

Before hiring a contractor, make sure you do your research. Knowing the average industry cost and paint types will help you determine if contractors are pricing their work fairly.

Get estimates. Ask the pros for site inspections and get to understand their expectations. Do you need to do any work beforehand? Or will they be power washing your siding? Aim for three to five estimates.

Compare the quotes and check the contractors’ references and portfolios. Do they receive good reviews? Do you like the quality of their work? Pick what you believe to be the best value after considering both price and quality.

Watch for a price drop. Exterior painters are less busy in the fall and may run deals to increase demand.

You may have to make a down payment, which can be up to 50 percent of the total cost. But never pay for the entire job upfront.

Call Us When You Are Ready to Paint Your Home

Painting the exterior of your home is a big project. Whether you are doing it yourself or hiring a contractor, there are a lot of things to consider. The type of paint, temperature, and humidity are the keys to a successful project. Extra research is always good research.

Still uncertain? Do not hesitate to give Groovy Hues a call. Our experts are ready to answer any questions you may have.

Or, if you are ready to get started, call us for a quote or consultation. We are prepared to make your home look its best.