Best Paint And How To Paint In Humidity

Humidity soaks your clothes and makes your hair a disaster, but it can also wreak havoc on the aesthetics of your exterior paint. Humidity is one of the most common problems when applying exterior house paint. Ever walk out of your door and wonder if you’ve taken a wrong turn and ended up in a swamp? The summer humidity in the South has a way of doing that.

The good news is that humidity doesn’t have to prevent you from painting the exterior of your home. It does require a few additional precautions, but it can be done. Here’s what you need to know about exterior painting in high humidity. Take a look!


Why Humidity Can Cause Problems with Painting

Some exterior house painters have tried to paint in high humidity while using the wrong paint, ending with a sticky result. Wonder why? It’s simple science.

Most paints include water alongside a solvent. For the paint to cure and form a hard surface, the water must evaporate before the solvent does. The same applies to oil-based paints: the oil needs to evaporate before the solvent does.

Without getting too technical, higher humidity makes water evaporate more slowly. Slow evaporation causes the solvent to dissipate before the water or oil, so your paint will not fully cure.

How Humid is it When it’s Too Humid to Paint?

You can use exterior paints like Sherwin Williams Latitude at higher humidity levels than most people think, but there’s still a limit.

The ideal humidity level for painting is between 40% and 50%. If you’re indoors, it’s easy to attain that level with a dehumidifier. When you’re outside, though, it’s not as easy. You can paint in up to 80% to 85% humidity when using proper exterior paints.

You want the humidity to be as low as possible for exterior staining. Staining late morning until mid-day is typically when the day’s humidity is most deficient.


Does Humidity Affect Materials in Different Ways?

As we further discuss painting in high humidity, remember we are referring to materials other than uncoated wood. Uncoated wood is far more susceptible to moisture than coated materials.

The humidity levels above and the tips below work well for coated materials. When it comes to uncoated wood, it’s better to wait until a drier time of the year, like the late or early summer.

Tips for Painting in High Humidity

While it’s possible to paint at higher humidity levels than you may have thought, there are tips you should follow to make it successful. If not, you may have paint-curing problems, causing you to strip it and start over.

To keep problems to a minimum, follow these tips.

Paint While the Heat Is Rising

Timing is critical when it comes to painting in humidity. In particular, you want to pay attention to temperatures and not paint when it is too hot.

The best time to paint your house is a few hours before the day reaches its peak temperature. The peak temperature tends to hit mid to late afternoon, but you can check the hourly forecast to ensure.

If you start to paint too early in the morning, the home may still be holding moisture from the overnight dew. Aim to paint in the late morning if the dewpoint is high. Late morning allows the water from condensation to dry. As the heat rises, it will help the paint dry and ultimately cure at a faster pace.

Test the Surface Moisture Beforehand

While we’ve been talking about humidity in the air, moisture in the material you’re painting will also affect the result. There are ways to test a surface before you start to ensure it is dry. If you’re painting uncoated wood, scuff-sand a small area. You want to be able to blow the dust away with ease.

Press a rag to the area for non-wood surfaces and check for moisture absorption. Be sure to use a light color that shows moisture with ease. We certainly do not expect homeowners to have access to one, but a moisture reader provides the most accurate results.

Paint In the Order the Sun Warms

To ensure your painting surfaces are as dry as possible, start in the area where the sun first hits in the morning. Generally, this means you will start on the east side of your house and work towards the west. Remember, the trees and other shade can affect your approach.

How To Paint In Indoor Humidity

Interior painting may take extra thought when it is humid outside. Your HVAC system might take enough humidity out of the air to create excellent painting conditions. Measure your home’s humidity and, if necessary, buy, rent, or borrow a dehumidifier, air mover, or high-volume fan while painting indoors.

Don’t overlook humidity that isn’t related to the weather. Avoid using the shower or tub before or after painting a bathroom. It’s best to apply multiple thin coats when indoor humidity is high. Thin coats of paint will dry quicker, allowing it to cure faster.

Best Bathroom Paint For Humidity

The best bathroom paint for humidity is Benjamin Moore Aura Bath & Spa. Bath and Spa has the best moisture resistance and dries quickly. The paint also resists water vapor and surfactant leaching, which can occur on interior walls. 

Pleasant Painting Conditions

Aside from being one of the most beautiful times of the year, fall is the perfect time to paint the exterior of your home. The temperature is moderate and typically sunny. There are also fewer insects and no pollen to worry about entering your home.

Just keep in mind that the best time to paint does mean a better paint job. Think of the word “best” as being synonymous with perfection. The fall season always makes a perfect time for exterior painting, especially when the clouds seem to loom clear out and take the humidity along.

Getting a Great Paint Job in (Almost) Any Humidity

Conventional sources may say not to paint unless you’re in that ideal humidity range of 40%-50%. Those of us who experience high humidity levels understand that those levels are simply unachievable or, at best, seldom.

You can paint in humid weather. However, you need to know your limits and take extra precautions.

Contact us for your exterior painting project today for more expert advice about painting in high humidity or professional exterior painting service!

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