Like countless other materials, paint reacts to changes in the air’s temperature. When painting an interior wall in the winter time, it’s important to be mindful of the effects cold water can have on your paint in terms of how it is applied, how it dries, and how the final product looks. Even if your home is temperature controlled, cold weather can still have an impact on your interior paintjob.
What are the risks?
Painting interior walls in the wintertime when the temperatures drop poses a few risks. For one, the paint might not be able to properly cure seeing as it will take longer to dry in colder temperatures. This will result in your freshly applied paint being vulnerable to dirt, insects, and other kinds of debris. Paint that has not properly cured is also susceptible to peeling, cracking, chipping, and bubbling. Again, just because the room you are painting feels warm to you does not mean the walls themselves are warm, and improper curing can occur as a result of this.
Along with improper curing, cold temperatures can also reduce the life expectancy of paint, causing it to break down much earlier. The increased amount of water that is absorbed will also make it easier for mildew to grow on your walls. Cold temperatures also increase the time required before a second coat of paint can be applied, meaning your interior painting project can be slowed down significantly in colder weather.
How can I tell if paint is usable?
In the case of latex paint, there are times that it can freeze in cold temperatures. If this occurs, it’s not impossible to thaw it out and still be able to use it. However if it goes through several freeze and thaw cycles, say over the course of a big painting project, you may start to see the paint take on a lumpy consistency. If you see this, then the paint is definitely not fit to be used and must be thrown away. Latex-based paint will freeze and thaw at the same temperature as water, while oil-based paints will require lower temperatures to freeze.
Cold weather painting tips
If you can, avoid painting in the colder months, but of course sometimes painting in the cold is unavoidable. If you find yourself painting in the cold, there are a few things you can do to make it easier on yourself:
- Check and see if the paint’s manufacturer recommends the paint for colder temperatures. If it does not have this recommendation, you could choose to play it safe and look for another paint that does.
- Check the walls’ temperatures using a non-contact infrared thermometer (if you can get your hands on one) to ensure they are not too cold.
- Choose appropriate rollers and brushes depending on temperature and paint consistency.
- Use a good quality bonding primer before applying paint.
- Paint between 10 am and 2 pm if you can, as these are usually the warmest hours of the day.
- Consistently keep the heat turned up as this will both keep the indoor air warm and dry and help keep the temperature of the walls from getting too low.
Painting in colder weather could be a daunting challenge. Trust the professionals at Lince’s Painting to get the job done no matter the season!