A Reason to Cheer: Low Temperature House Paint is Here

Exterior Paint


Until recent developments in house paints, it was best to avoid painting exteriors in cold weather for several reasons. One hindrance was painters’ long-time preference for using oil-based paint.


There are now some exterior paints that will adhere to the wood despite 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 the paint becoming stiff and brittle over time; and cracks and chalks at the joints, usually within two years.  Once the paint cracks, moisture can 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 used by professionals anymore because of its 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 unavoidable.  It’s essential to remove any extremely shiny surfaces, 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 that 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

One of the biggest challenges when using low-temp acrylics 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 designed for use in low temperatures, including SuperPaint, Duration, A-100 Exterior, and Resilience. Benjamin Moore offers MoorLife, Super Spec, and MoorGuard. The paints should be used in weather no colder than 40 degrees.

A few additional tips for painting in winter follow:

• While the unique new paint products are acceptable for cold temperatures, other materials may not be.  For example, effectively using fillers, primers, and caulking usually requires warmer temperatures.
• Begin the work as the sun rises 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.

Cold Weather Painting Solutions

Thankfully, advancements in paint technology have led to the development of products specifically formulated for cold-weather applications. Among these, Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore stand out with their offerings designed to combat the challenges of painting in lower temperatures. Sherwin Williams’ cold-weather paints, such as SuperPaint, Duration, A-100 Exterior, and Resilience, alongside Benjamin Moore’s MoorLife, Super Spec, and MoorGuard, are engineered to adhere and cure properly in temperatures as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit. This marks a significant improvement over traditional paints, which often require a minimum temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit for practical application.

Thanks to these innovations, the question of “Can you paint outside in cold weather?” has shifted from a hard no to a cautious yes. Homeowners searching for “exterior house painting near me” can now schedule their projects during cooler months without concern, provided they choose the right product and follow the specific guidelines for cold weather painting. This flexibility is particularly beneficial in climates where the window for warm weather is short, allowing for exterior maintenance and aesthetic upgrades without waiting for perfect conditions.

Best Practices for Cold Weather Painting

Several best practices should be followed to ensure success when painting outdoors in cold weather. First, it is crucial to monitor the temperature closely before, during, and after applying paint. The temperature should not only be within the suitable range for the paint product being used but should also remain so for at least 2-3 hours after application to allow for proper curing. Products like Sherwin Williams low-temperature paint are formulated to tolerate colder conditions but still require time to set correctly without being compromised by dropping temperatures.

Preparing the surface properly cannot be overstated. Even the best paint for cold weather won’t adhere well to a poorly prepared surface. As mentioned earlier, ensure that the area is clean, dry, and free from mildew or chalk. Utilizing a bonding primer is essential when transitioning from oil-based to acrylic paints; this ensures better adhesion and longevity of the paint job.

Lastly, it’s worth considering the humidity levels, which can significantly affect drying times and the project’s overall success. Painting outside in 40-degree weather is now possible, but always check the humidity forecast and the temperature. Lower temperatures and high humidity can extend drying times and potentially affect the finish and durability of the paint.

By adhering to these guidelines and selecting the appropriate products, homeowners and professionals alike can extend their painting season into the cooler months, ensuring their exteriors remain vibrant and protected year-round.

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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