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A Reason to Cheer: Low Temperature House Paint is Here

Exterior Paint


Until somewhat recent developments in house paints, it was best to avoid painting exteriors in cold weather for a number of reasons.  A long-time preference among painters for using oil-based paint was among the hindrances to painting in cold weather.


There are now some exterior paints which will adhere to the wood, in spite of cold temperatures.  For best results, always follow instructions regarding the range of temperatures paint can be used in.

Limitations of Old Technology Exterior Paint

There was a time when the need for painting in cold temperatures created a real dilemma for professional painters.  One of the main struggles was the preference for oil-based exterior paints, which always provide a beautiful, smooth finish but dry slowly.  There are other downsides to the old-school oil-based house paint, such as that the paint becomes hard and brittle over time; and it cracks and chalks at the joints, usually within two years.  Once the paint cracks, moisture is able to get to the wood and gets trapped under the paint, which causes microscopic organisms that create wood decay to thrive.  Once fungus and mildew gets in under the paint film, the paint peels off, as does a thin layer of wood fiber. The failure of oil-based paint due to perpetual hardening can cause major damage on wood joints and window sills within three to five years. In spite of its popularity in the past, this old technology type of paint is rarely ever used by professionals anymore, because of the limitations.

Conventional Acrylic Exterior Paints

The favored paint for exteriors today is acrylic house paint.  The ideal is to use conventional 100% acrylic house paint, which should be applied in the range of 50 to 70 degrees, though it can be used in lower temperatures if absolutely unavoidable.  It’s essential to remove any surfaces that are extremely shiny, such as areas where the paint hasn’t been dulled by the sun.  When switching from oil-based exterior paint to acrylic, there are other steps which are also essential; this is just one of the reasons it’s best to hire a professional for exterior paint jobs.  As an example, any existing chalk or mildew must be removed and cleaned; use TSP to loosen the chalk and mix it with bleach to kill mildew.  Any oil-based paint that is still intact should be covered with a top-quality bonding primer before applying acrylic house paint.

Painting in Cold Weather

When using low-temp acrylics, one of the biggest challenges is being careful about temperature drops.  It’s important that the acrylic paint is cured before being exposed to poor conditions.  Low-temp paint can be used in temperatures from 35 to 50 degrees.

Temperatures need to remain within the manufacturer’s defined range of acceptable temperatures for two to three hours after the exterior house paint has been applied.

Sherman Williams offers several paint product series which are designed for use in low temperatures, including SuperPaint, Duration, A-100 Exterior, and Resilience.  Benjamin Moore offers MoorLife, Super Spec, and MoorGuard, with a recommendation that the paints be used in weather no colder than 40 degrees.

A few additional tips for painting in winter follow:

Cold Weather Paint

No need to wait until summer comes around, hire a professional to use cold weather paint to give the outside of your home a new look.

• While the special new paint products are fine for cold temperatures, other materials may not be.  For example, using fillers, primers, and caulking effectively usually requires warmer temperatures.
• Begin the work as the sun comes up and stay in the path of sunlight throughout the day as you work.  Stop painting when temperatures begin to drop.
• Allow more time for drying between coats of paint, since drying is slowed in cooler weather.
• Be careful not to paint over dew because the moisture can become trapped under the paint film, making the paint job appear blotchy or patchy.

Contact our professionals for help with your exterior painting, any time of the year.

Franklin Painting LLC – Call us Toll Free at 877-646-7774
or at our main office number 860-678-7701
2 Eastview Drive, Farmington, CT 06032

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