Humidity, Temperature, & Your Paint Project 

June 2, 2021

Spring, summer, and fall in Massachusetts are peak exterior painting seasons. The longer, sun-filled days, and the warm weather lends itself to being the perfect time to transform a home or business with a fresh coat of quality exterior paint. Unfortunately, temperature and humidity play a big role in when professional painters can do their work.

The good news for experienced painters is that with a little planning and research, these weather and climate obstacles can be overcome, resulting in a beautiful paint job. Here are a few of the warnings about painting when temperatures can be high and humidity is off-the-charts. 


How Temperature Impacts Painting 

New Englanders are known for saying, “If you don’t like the temperature, wait five minutes and it will change!” 

While this is generally true in our region, it is also true that our summers can have extremely high daytime temperatures followed by relatively low nighttime temperatures. What do these scorching temps do to paint? 

One of the major challenges of painting in high temperatures, as well as direct sunlight, is that the paint can dry very quickly. This can make it tough to see where the wet edge of the paint is thus causing overlaps and potential lines when the surface dries. 

High temps can also cause inexperienced painters to believe that, since the surface of the paint feels dry, that they can apply a second coat before the paint has truly cured. Don’t be tempted to paint a second coat too soon. Always refer to the drying times given by the manufacturer. 

In regards to painting in direct sunlight, be sure to use a fade resistant paint and consider studying the sun’s path for the location you are painting. It may be possible to paint sections of the exterior that are not in direct sun at certain times of the day, thus saving you from scorching temps and uneven drying times. 

dew drops and humidity

How Humidity Impacts Paint 

Just like temperature, humidity levels can impact the adhesion and drying time of exterior paint. The higher the humidity, the slower the paint drying time. In fact, if there is a lot of moisture in the air, the paint may not only have trouble drying but properly adhering to the surface. The ideal levels of humidity for painting will occur between 40 and 70 percent humidity.

It’s nearly impossible to paint when there is little to no water vapor in the air, especially along the coast of New England, but painting in the early mornings and allowing for longer dry times can help counteract humidity levels. 

It’s also a good idea to monitor temperature and humidity levels so that you can pick the best days to get your paint project done without these two factors ruining your hard work. Knowing when to paint and when not to paint is an important part of the paint process, especially here in the northeast. 


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