As much as we love the arrival of spring and all that comes with it (hello longer, sunny days!) we’re still not completely in the clear from rainy days. We all know the PNW climate, especially in the Portland Metro area, can be unpredictable. So when you’re antsy to get your house painted, you probably wonder if it’s even possible to paint during the rainy season at all? The simple answer is an emphatic “YES,” but that’s not to say that painting during the rainy season doesn’t come with some challenges.
In theory, the optimal time for exterior painting is during the summer months (May-October-ish). Long stretches of dry days and warm weather calls for a clear and easy schedule for exterior painting. However, exterior painting can still be done during the other half of the year (November-April), as long as homeowners practice a little more patience and follow the right steps, as cooler and wetter weather changes the painting process.
There are two major factors in determining whether you paint outside: temperature and moisture. Whether you’re painting your exterior yourself, or having a professional do the work, keep in mind the following:
Different paint manufacturers state different temperatures, but in average paint should not be applied at below freezing temperatures outdoors. Paint cans will state specifically the temperature range to apply the paint, but it’s best to paint when it is no colder than above 35 °F.
But keeping an eye on temperature is not just as simple as checking your weather app. The amount of sun available through the day can affect dry time. For example, in winter months, the sun comes out later (if it comes out at all!) meaning the air temperature, as well as the temperature of your home’s siding may remain below freezing longer than anticipated. We like to practice beginning painting around 9-10am, and wrapping up around 3-4pm to allow for the siding to receive a few additional hours of sunlight allowing for paint to dry before the next day.
This may seem obvious- but if it is pouring rain you should not go outside to paint your house. Leave about 2-4 hours of dry time before jumping at painting your exterior. If it rained the night before, check your siding. Although the siding surface may not have moisture build-up, areas such as nail holes and cracks and gaps between siding and trim may still have residual water build up. Run your hand along the siding and nails to see if the surface is wet. If your hand comes out dry, you’re safe to paint.
Note that if rain and moisture creates line streaks in your paint job, the only answer for fixing this issue is with another coat of paint.
Painting in PNW Climate
For professional painters working in the Pacific Northwest, we can’t solely rely on bone-dry weather to work on exteriors. Luckily, major paint companies such as Sherwin-Williams or Miller Paint have created specific types of paint that are best used during the rainy season.
Sherwin-Williams Resilience paint is a great option. Resilience was created specifically to reduce the amount of time needed for dry time, it’s moisture resilient, as well as a mildew resistant coating to help create a barrier for unwanted mildew buildup.
Miller Paint is a PNW-based company that specializes in creating paint products for our particular climate. Who knows how to paint in PNW climate better than a company founded here? Both Miller’s Acri-Lite and Evolution paints are moisture resistant and have a quick dry time, such as Resilience, allowing for some freedom with paint application during the rainy season.
Of course, each homeowner should do what’s going to make them feel most comfortable when it comes to their exterior painting. But if the eagerness to paint outweighs wanting to wait until those dry, summer days, then we say “go for it!” Practice patience and adhere to the specifications in regards to moisture resistance and temperature application for your chosen paint product, and you’ll be safe from the rain.
Have a paint or color question you would like answered? Please send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to try and answer it in an upcoming blog post.