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House Painting – Paint the House During Winter

House Painting – Paint the House During Winter

House Painting – Paint the House During Winter

Much of the state of California has a Mediterranean-like climate consisting of warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters – not the white snow you usually associate with winters. Climate plays a significant role in the efficiency of paint jobs, especially exterior paint jobs. 

House painting in Pleasanton, CA, is definitely doable in the spring and summer. It can also be done during the autumn – many swear that fall is the best time for exterior painting. The question is whether you can do house painting during the winter season.

The answer is yes, you can paint during the winter season! We consider ourselves fortunate to have mild winters in California. While we get hit with rain occasionally, our temperatures stay warm enough to enable us to paint outside all year round. December and January are not exactly bad times to paint the exterior of your home.

That said, you should be aware of the limitations of painting outside during the winter. Doing exterior painting in this climate can present unique challenges. This is why it is important to know and understand how low temperatures can affect several factors of exterior painting in California during the winter – including the paint’s ability to adhere to the surface, its drying time, etc.

Moisture is one of the major problems for house painting. Rain and dew contribute to problems with paint adhesion and drying, so painters should be extra careful to minimize moisture to allow the paint to dry or cure properly on its own year-round. But painting during the winter months is even more challenging.

Cold winter drizzles will react with your paint in ways that can and will end up disastrously. Dampness and condensation can cause discoloring, cracking, bubbling, and blistering, ruining your home’s appearance. With the weather being a lot more unpredictable in the winter, the water can expand, contract, and bond with the paint, too, leading to uneven coloring and improper drying.

All these problems can lead to poor paint performance and results that should be corrected come spring or summer.

How will paints be affected by winter temperatures?

The winter chill will affect latex (water-based) and alkyd (oil-based) paints. Latex paints will freeze in low temperatures since they are water-based. Alkyd paints, on the other hand, won’t freeze like latex does. However, they will become viscous and semi-solid, therefore requiring lots of thinning.

What happens if you paint outside on a rainy or damp day?

That’s an excellent question. Generally speaking, painting outside on a rainy day is not a logical thing to do. Even right after the rain, the surfaces are still damp, which requires drying for several hours or even days. If you try to apply paint on a damp surface, you are doing a total disservice. It will lead to surface issues such as cracking, bubbling, or blistering paint. 

To prevent those issues from happening, you should wait until the weather gets better and the surfaces are dry inside out. Once the surfaces are completely dry, you will now be able to paint outside.

Checking the condition of your used paints under cold temperatures

Imagine that it’s not raining today. The weather is still chilly, but you decide to go out and paint. You also decide to use the remaining paint you once used and then store it for some time. First, you must check the paint to determine whether it is still usable or fit to be discarded.

1) Used latex paint

If the old paint is latex, it may freeze and thaw in these conditions if it is not used and treated correctly. Most paints are manufactured to withstand freezing and thawing but only in a limited capacity. 

Look at its consistency to check if your latex paint is still usable. If the paint has a thick and lumpy consistency, that means it has probably undergone a lot of freezing and thawing cycles. Paints that have been stored in freezing temperatures can cause a chemical reaction that may prevent them from performing well. If your paint has become like that, it means it is no longer usable and thus should be discarded.

2) Used alkyd (oil-based) paints

Compared to latex paints, alkyd paints are more tolerant of freezing temperatures. However, don’t reuse your old alkyd paint if it has clumps or grits.

Remember – when in doubt, throw them out!  

Rainy Autumn day

What happens if you paint outside during the winter?

When you have to paint the exterior surfaces of your home, you should be aware that cool and damp weather can slow down the drying or curing process. This will prompt you to re-coat several times, which normally takes around four to six hours, depending on how low the temperatures drop and the type of paint you’re using.

Compared to latex paints, alkyd paints will require more time to re-coat. In many cases, it takes about 48 hours before applying another coat.

Imagine you have painted successfully under such weather conditions. Even so, you are likely to encounter effects that are typical of painting during the cold weather – cracking of film paint, blistering, bubbling, and uneven color.

Tips for painting outside in the winter

To avoid any issues associated with painting during cold and damp weather conditions, the best is to hold off painting until the weather improves. 

But if you have no choice but to paint during the winter, here are some tips that you must seriously consider:

  • Check and confirm whether the paint manufacturer or your local painter recommends a specific type of paint suitable for low temperatures.
  • Paint between 10 AM and 2 AM. These are generally the warmer hours during winter months.
  • Use an infrared thermometer to check the air temperature in your area. Use that thermometer to check your wall’s temperature as well. If the air and the walls do not feel that cold, then the walls may be ready to be painted.
  • Use tarps and heaters to give you much-needed control in your painting.
  • Heat the areas to be painted by wrapping them. You may need to set up a step ladder or scaffold to be able to reach and wrap the higher areas of your home.

While there’s no way we can control the weather, we can work around it in a few ways.

If it rains, this is where Custom Painting, Inc.’s 40-plus years of experience come into play. Our crew watches the weather closely and plans their paint jobs accordingly. 

Even with that, there are times when the rain can still catch you off-guard; things dry out very quickly. Custom Painting, Inc. also uses products that are formulated to work efficiently during the winter months and dry more quickly if rain occurs. We stand behind our paint jobs with a one-year warranty (but warranty extensions are possible, too). While we love our clients, we do not wish to return to their homes just to fix things. So, we will not do anything to compromise the quality of our paint jobs.

It helps to hire reputable painting contractors, such as Custom Painting, Inc., to help you make sound decisions regarding house painting in Pleasanton during the challenging winter months. For more advice on getting your winter painting projects completed, give us a call at 925-294-8062.


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