Six tips for winter exterior house painting

November 27th, 2015

“Can you paint the exterior of our home in the winter?” is a very common question in Portland this time of the year. The answer is “Yes”, but the following six conditions must be present as well as no precipitation in the air. Some might ask why not wait till spring or summer? We find a majority of requests that come from home owners are those looking to sell their home in the hot (even when cold) Portland real estate market or who have recently had new siding or windows installed. businesses and our commercial customers are wanting to update the exterior of their brick and mortar stores for the busy holiday shopping season.

1. Choosing the right paint for the climate
The paint you decide to use must be a low temperature exterior paint. Sherwin-Williams makes a variety of high quality low temp exterior paints. Duration, Resilience, SuperPaint, and A100 all can be applied at 35 degrees and above.  Benjamin Moore makes low temp paints that can be applied at 40 degrees and above including Aura, Regal Select, Ben, and UltraSpec as well. These two quality paint brands make some amazing products that wont disappoint. At Painting Oregon we typically will use the Sherwin-Williams Resilience exclusively during the colder winter months.

2. The air and surface temperature must be in line with the manufacturers temperature application guidelines.
a. Air temperature is pretty easy to find. You can look at the local weather forecast, or look online to see what the day’s temperatures highs and lows will be.
b. Surface temperature is a little tricky unless you have a laser infrared temperature gun to actually check the wall temp. If you don’t have a laser, a general guideline you can use is to subtract five degrees from the air temperature to come up with a surface temperature.

infared laser temperature gauge
An infared laser measuring the temperature of a wall

3. Choosing to start and finish each day at the right time
As a general guideline we will arrive on the job site at 9am to start getting set-up and complete any paint or material application no later than 2pm. Portland winters are dark early, which means temperatures drop rapidly.

4. Access to kerosene or propane forced air heaters is a must
Because we are at the mercy of mother nature and your project must be completed we must use these large heaters to blow warm air on your homes surfaces. This step must be done with precaution. You must not put the heaters to close to your home. We are not looking to melt paint off or create fires. A steady warm air hitting your siding 10 to 15 feet away is sufficient for a steady warm up. We don’t want to shock your wall surfaces with a rapid warm up or cool down, so gradual is the key. Turn the heaters off while actually painting, then back on after paint application to help start the drying process. Very much like blow drying your hair.

5. Paint temperature
This seems like a very silly condition but is of the most importance. Make sure you paint is stored in an area inside the home at all times. Ideally, the paint will be stored within the home over night and during the day. The reason being that when the paint is cold it will take much longer to cure, as well as some kind of the components in the paints can be compromised in sub freezing temperatures.

6. Less than two story homes (18 feet or less)
We don’t want to discriminate the size of your home, but we have found that painting two story or more homes in the winter is very difficult. The reasoning being that our heaters are placed on the ground (we do not elevate them), and that temperatures drop the taller your home is.

Over the years Painting Oregon has been able to complete numerous exterior paint projects in the winter months. We have seen great success when using the Resilience paint from SW and the heater combination.
Call us today to schedule your exterior painting project.