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When is the Weather Too Cold to Paint in New Jersey & New York?

Posted Nov 06, 2013 by Dave Scaturro

NJ Transit Bridge Painting and Lead Abatement using full containment and dust collection When is the Weather Too Cold to Paint in New Jersey & New York?

All contractors can agree that the optimal seasons to apply exterior paint are late spring, summer and early fall. However, this does not indicate that the colder months (November, December, January February) are off limits! Exteriors can be painted in cooler temperatures, but, in these cases, more precautionary measures must be taken. When is it too cold to paint? The most favorable temperature for most paints is above 50ºF. Fortunately, most exterior paints can be applied as low as 40ºF, some colder weather paints as low as 35ºF and high performance epoxy/urethane coatings can be applied down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. There are plenty of cold weather products that are available; it is important that your contractor chooses the right one. The temperature must be considered through both day and night. Make sure the temperature is above the paint manufacturer’s recommendations for at least a 48-hour period. It is a great idea to read and understand the product data sheets for the material that you are applying.

The next factor that must be considered is the temperature of the substrate. Although the ambient temperature may be at a suitable 50ºF, this does not signify that the surface being painted is reading 50ºF. If the surface or weather is under 50ºF, effects such as cracking and improper film formation (which can later lead to the touch-up coat looking several shades lighter than the base coat) can occur. If the paint is too cold when applied it may not flow or level smoothly, leading to excessive film build, consequently, slowing the dry and cure time of the paint. Or the sheen can be inconsistent, showing glossy in some areas and flat in others. Make sure the surface as well as the paint is above the manufacturers recommend temp.

Other factors include moisture and humidity. Obviously, rain and snow must be avoided, but relative humidity and dew point must be taken into consideration as well. Humidity can highly affect oil-based paints by turning the paint blotchy or showing color-variations in the film. Condensation can cause bleed or shadowing in the surface which may cause dark streaks, blotches, or glossiness on the paint film. Make sure to wait at least 12 hours after a hard rain to start applying paint and check that the surface is completely dry with a moisture meter.

Last factor, but not the least to consider, is when to paint. The best time to paint an exterior project during cooler temperatures is midday. More easily noted—follow the sun! During cooler periods you may not be able to start and finish when preferred.

All of this information is not to discourage you from painting your exterior during the cooler temperatures, but to inform you how important it is to choose the right contractor, coating system and to evaluate all relevant factors. Readers seeking an exterior painting contractor in the North East, such as Alpine Painting, a commercial and industrial contractor for North Jersey and NY areas, should contact these professionals before winter arrives!

By Dave Scaturro, Sales Director for Alpine Painting

Dave Scaturro
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