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When Is It Too Cold To Paint The Exterior Of My Home

by Krista York

Winter is almost here, which means it is time to wrap up as many projects as possible before we are snowed in for the year. 

With the winter seasoning looming, you may be wondering if you should paint the exterior of your home this year or wait until next year. Paint does react differently in cold weather compared to the warmer months. However painting in the fall can still be a great time to finish your exterior painting project, but when is it too cold? Below are a few guidelines to follow.

These points are important to know whether you plan on painting the house yourself or hiring a professional to do it for you because it helps you anticipate some of the complications of exterior painting in cold weather.  

If it's below thirty-five degrees, it is too cold to paint.
Photo by Nathan Walker on Unsplash.

Read the Label

Unless you live somewhere where it is always warm, there is usually a “season” for exterior paint work. A big reason for that (beyond actually working in the cold), is that paint products usually do not work properly if applied in cold weather. The best way to find out whether or not your paint is appropriate for cold conditions is to read the label.

Most paint manufactures have labels that warn users not to paint in temperatures below 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures must be at or above the minimum temperatures for the entire process. 

So if you live in the Midwest, once it drops to around freezing temperatures it may be best to put off the exterior project for a few more months until temperatures rise again.

Watch the Weather

Weather is always an important factor for exterior painting, and that’s doubly true as winter approaches. Before beginning your project, check the weather forecast for the upcoming week so you can plan accordingly. 

Aside from the temperature, dry times will depend on factors like humidity and sunlight. Direct sunlight increases the surface temperature, which helps the paint dry quicker. That makes painting more feasible in the colder months. 

Quality paints will also serve as a protective coating against harsh weather in the winter months.

Stop Working Earlier In The Day

Did you know that paint dries faster in the colder months? This happens because colder weather is less humid. 

However, colder months usually means it gets dark quicker, and therefore the temperature could drop below the recommended temperature for application. The best way to deal with this is to simply stop painting earlier in the day. This gives the paint time to cure properly. Once the paint is dry to the touch, it will continue to cure, even under freezing temperatures. 

More Time Between Coats

Adding onto the above point, make sure you add more time between applications in low temperatures. That’s because, even though paint technically dries quicker in colder weather, it needs more time to properly set.

Most paints can have a second coat applied after 4 hours, but that bumps up to 12-14 hours in low temperature. That’s why it is usually better to stop painting early in the day so it has time to properly cure. 

Select Paints That Can Be Used in Colder Temperatures

High-quality paints are specifically formulated for colder temperatures. This happens because of additives. Additives contain chemicals that help increase the freeze resistance of paints, which helps them to dry in colder weather.

There are several top brands out there, including Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore. For Sherwin Williams products, we recommend both Resilience and Latitude for low temperatures.


In the end, painting your house in cold weather can be possible with a good plan, the right painting supplies, and trusted, knowledgeable professionals. You can learn more about how to find the right contractor here.

A true professional will let you know when they can no longer paint for the season. Unfortunately, this time changes each year depending on the weather. If you would like us to take a look at your home exterior, fill out the form below for a free estimate.

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