April showers bring May flowers, but what time of year is the best time to paint the exterior of your home? Spring in Missouri is rainy, summers are often hot and muggy, winters can be frigid—and snowy. These aren’t ideal conditions, but the best time to paint house exterior surfaces might surprise you.
Table of Contents
- Showers, Not Flowers
- Curing Time
- What Kind of Paint Should I Use?
- New Choices in Exterior House Paint
- Clear Advantage
- Best Options?
- Avoid Extremes
- Exterior House Painting FAQs
- The Best Time to Paint House Exterior Surfaces
Showers, Not Flowers
Late spring and summer typically see many people taking advantage of the milder weather to tackle outdoor tasks. The problem here is that these are the wettest months of the year in O’Fallon—one out of every four days sees rain.
With apologies to the children’s rhyme, May—not April—is our rainiest month, with precipitation on average of just over four inches.
The best time to paint house exteriors isn’t during the rainy season. Moisture on exterior surfaces can ruin a paint job. Any rain which is strong enough—or falls over a long enough time—can wash away paint that isn’t dry.
Paint is partially made up of solvents, necessary to keep it flowing and easily applied. These solvents need to evaporate for the paint to stick permanently.
This drying process is what painters call curing, and it’s different for different kinds of paint.
So, how long does it take for exterior paint to dry? That depends. Oil-based paints dry fastest, within about six to ten days, while latex paints can take around thirty days to cure completely. Before then, any contact with uncured painted surfaces can be enough to dent, scratch, or mar the upper layers.
What Kind of Paint Should I Use?
Paint choice is essential. Repainting your home’s exterior is a big project and not one that anyone wants to tackle more often than necessary.
An exterior paint job can last around ten years with quality paint and good craftsmanship.
Skimp on the quality of either, and you’re faced with a much shorter period between exterior painting projects—about five years, on average, for houses painted with poor quality paint or without the proper preparation and technique.
But what kind of paint is best for a home’s exterior? Ask a handful of exterior house painters near O’Fallon, and you might get a handful of answers, depending on how long they’ve been in the business.
New Choices in Exterior House Paint
A big part of the answer is in the question: how long does it take for exterior paint to dry?
Oil-based paints used to be favored for exterior paint jobs because of their quick drying time.
But there are suitable paints of various types now, highly resistant to dirt, mildew, and mold, which are the most common culprits responsible for paint losing its luster.
The question isn’t strictly oil vs. latex, as there are now water-based formulas that provide significant benefits.
They are now more adhesive and have mold and mildew resistance rivaling traditional paints.
Water-based paints have lower volatile organic compounds (or VOC) emissions than either oil or latex paints. VOCs are harmful chemicals found in different things around the house, from cleaning products to flooring and upholstery. Some of the most potent? Solvents that are traditionally used in paint.
Water-based paint also increases the range of temperatures available to anyone looking for the best time to paint house exterior surfaces.
Anyone who has worked outside in near-freezing temperatures can tell you it’s unpleasant and not conducive to doing your best work. The cold season in O’Fallon is from late November to late February, with an average daily high below 50°F.
Summer may be more comfortable, with an average high around 79°F. The problem here is two-fold. The heat of early summer brings with it humidity, peaking in late June and carrying on through August.
Painting during the winter months is likely to be unpleasant—and requires the right kind of paint. The summer heat may not be much more enjoyable, as hot and humid conditions guarantee everything (including the painter!) is liable to be dripping wet.
Exterior House Painting FAQs
Q: When do I know it’s time to repaint?
A: It depends on the kind and quality of paint used and the skillfulness of its application.
Wood elements may need to be repainted every five years, while other surfaces can go from ten to fifteen years between fresh coats.
It’s a good time to repaint whenever there’s visible staining, fading, or cracking.
Q: What are the steps to painting a house?
A: It’s generally a three-part process:
- Scrape and sand, removing any dirt and chipped or cracked paint. Feather out edges by sanding, and then wash the surfaces to be painted so they’ll be fresh and ready to accept a new coat of paint.
- Apply primer, which protects exterior surfaces and creates better adhesion. Patch and seal gaps with weather-proof caulk after applying primer.
- Finally, apply the color-bearing coats of paint with a brush, roller, or paint sprayer, depending on what’s being painted. Several coats may be required.
Q: What tools will I need?
A: You’ll want heavy plastic sheeting to cover any surfaces you wish to protect and duct tape to secure them. You’ll also need scraper blades, a power sander with plenty of sanding discs, caulk, a caulk gun, and a wide putty knife to apply sealer. Lastly, paintbrushes, rollers, and/or paint spraying hardware.
Q: What’s the best sheen for exterior surfaces?
A: Sheen—the measure of glossiness a paint displays—runs from flat to an almost reflective glossy finish, but for painting the exterior of your house, you’ll generally choose between matte, satin/eggshell, or semigloss.
The kind of sheen you want depends on various factors, like what’s being painted and your confidence in your skill. Flat paint is suitable for surfaces like stucco—and novice painters, as it can hide brush strokes or other errors professionals generally don’t make. There is no one correct answer, and your best bet may be to consult with exterior house painters near O’Fallon.
Q: What is the best temperature to paint the exterior of a house?
A: Generally speaking, you’ll want to paint when daytime temperatures are at least 50°F, and nighttime temperatures don’t drop below freezing for several nights after the paint has been applied. Even if it’s warm enough during the day, overnight temperatures below 32°F can impair the paint’s ability to form a good film.
There are paint options that can make painting in colder weather possible, but these are good general guidelines.
Q: When should you not paint outside of a house?
A: Painting when the temperatures are neither too cold nor too hot—nighttime lows no colder than about 35°F and daytime highs below 90°F—and when you can expect dry weather without strong winds lasting for several days after the final coat of paint goes on.
Q: What is the best time of day to paint outside?
A: Begin painting early in the morning, but late enough so that any overnight dew or condensation has had a chance to dry. When possible, paint exterior surfaces opposite the side of the house the sun is shining on throughout the day. Milder, partly cloudy weather is best, as a hot, cloudless day can cause paint to dry too quickly.
The Best Time to Paint House Exterior Surfaces
Professional exterior house painters near O’Fallon can paint in conditions that may be prohibitive for non-expert painters.
For the rest of us, the best time of year is one that’s not too hot or cold and with dry conditions.
Finally, an answer: the best time to paint house exterior surfaces is in spring or fall when temperatures are moderate and the weather isn’t too hot, nor cold. But depending on mother nature, summer could offer some good weather conditions for an exterior house paint project.
Again, professionals will be able to work with a broader range of weather—it’s a good idea to leave the guesswork and finesse to the experts.
Added to that, you can rest easy knowing the job will be done right and quicker than tackling it yourself. And at HBP, we’d love to help. For the best and guaranteed exterior house painting job, every time – request a free estimate today!