Northern Indiana has experienced some dramatic swings in temperature and a lot of rain in the past month, making it difficult to determine when the time is right to begin an exterior paint job. If you are considering new exterior paint for your residence or business, you need to know when conditions are suitable for a quality, long-lasting exterior application.
Adding to the confusion are the sometimes confusing product data guidelines provided on paint cans. For example, if your paint instructs you to apply only when temperature is above 50 degrees, is it talking about the ambient temperature or the surface temperature? How do you even measure surface temperature? A Better Business Bureau painting professional like Matthews Painting will not only be aware of the weather conditions but will also know the specifications of the paints being used. Because we will only paint in conditions that assure the longevity of the application, we provide a 3-year warranty on our paint jobs.
Our Northern Indiana climate makes this is a very challenging time to begin your exterior paint job, but after a long winter people want to get started and a few warm, sunny days offer encouragement to begin. The problem is that April in Indiana is characterized by wild fluctuations in temperature and frequent rain. In fact, with all the rain Lake Wawasee is beginning to rebound from record low levels and flooding has occurred in low lying areas of Winona Lake, Leesburg, Syracuse and other Kosciusko County towns. All this moisture and varying temperatures present a risk because painting your exterior in the wrong conditions will be detrimental for its long term viability.
Even if the air temperature and surface temperature are adequate, your paint job is still at risk if it drops below freezing at night before your paint job cures. The availability of paints that allow for application at lower temperature – some as low as 35 degrees – offers more flexibility. Oil paints tolerate lower temperature applications, but will require longer drying times when it’s cooler. The problem with these new options is that they tempt one to push the limits. Painting can be done in late fall or early spring, but the risks to achieving a quality paint job increase in variable conditions. Humidity levels also matter and if you are painting in humid conditions, you need to be aware of the dew point at which applications are acceptable.
While it may now be possible to paint in colder temperatures with paints designed for it, other materials such as caulking, fillers and primers still need warm weather. Also, even if the conditions are right while painting, you need to consider drying time and the weather forecast. If it freezes before your paint dries, this can ruin the application. Since cooler temperatures slow drying time, you may have to wait longer between coats when painting in marginal conditions.
Another characteristic of early Northern Indiana spring is frequent rain – especially this year. There are now paints available that develop a moisture-resistant film in half the time as regular paint. Oil-paints are also less vulnerable to moisture. However, damp conditions and rain simply do not lend themselves to a quality paint job. Even if the temperatures are adequate, exterior house painting during spring in Indiana requires you to keep a close eye on the rain forecast and know whether your paint will cure before the next rainfall.
When it comes to moisture, the moisture content of the surface to which you are applying the paint is very important. In fact, this is such a critical factor in the long-term durability of your exterior paint job, I will address it separately in a future blog. For now the important thing to know is that you can’t simply assume that conditions are acceptable if it is not raining. You’ll need to be sure that your exterior has had time to dry and that it will not be exposed to moisture before the paint has cured.
Matthews Painting takes all these variables into account when determining the best time to apply paint to your exterior. As professional exterior painters, you can be assured that if the conditions are not suitable for a quality, long-lasting coat of paint, we will wait for the right conditions. Despite the erratic weather conditions of the past month, it is not too soon to discuss your exterior painting needs with us. Contact Matthews Painting today for a free estimate and consultation on when conditions will be right for painting your home or business.