Spring is late. If you have a wedding or graduation event coming up and NEED to complete some outdoor painting despite the cold, here are some key facts to consider.
Get high-quality paint.
First off, doing anything outdoors with water-based paint in Minnesota during April is risky. The paint WILL freeze on a cold night. If you bought water-based paint on sale last month and left it in your garage during our cold snap, you should probably go back to the store for fresh paint.
On the bright side, some premium paints can be applied in temperatures as low as 35°F. Even then drying times may be inconsistent and there may be problems with uniformity if temps rise or fall quickly while applying coats of paint. Which leads to our next item of consideration:
Check the weather.
Paint can take up to a month to cure. A MONTH. While it’s hard to predict weather beyond a week out, meteorologists can usually tell you if a cold snap is imminent. Wait it out, or waste your paint.
The best time to paint is on the nicest day of the warmest week. Keep in mind, the temp to watch is the daily low, not the daily high. If the overnight temps dip below the recommended temperature on your can of paint then even if it went on smoothly during the day, you will have problems later.
Temps need to stay above the minimum temperature for which your paint is rated, at least for a few days after application.
Lay out a plan of action before you start.
Once you’ve got your paint day selected, assemble a set of work deadlines for the day. The warmest time of the day will usually be 11am-3pm. Make sure all prep work is complete before it gets warm, and you are busy applying coats of paint during peak hours. Determine what areas get the most sunlight in the morning, and paint those regions first, working your way around the home following the sun.
Add extra heat if necessary.
You need to be mindful of more than air temps. The surface to be painted needs to be warm enough to accept paint – usually above 50 degrees. Just because the thermometer hits that temp doesn’t necessarily mean the surface you are going to paint has kept up. If the surface is still cold, you can use a hair dryer or heat gun to warm the surface up a bit. Don’t overdo it – paint goes on best between 70 and 80 degrees, so the amount of heat you need to apply is usually minimal.
Another way to get extra heat is to assemble a mini greenhouse. Build a frame using zip poles, and wrap 4 or 6 mil plastic around your frame. Put a space heater in the area and let it run for a few hours until the surface to be painted is warm to the touch. Again, the ideal temperature is around 75 degrees, so you don't need to re-create the tropics. You can paint inside your greenhouse and then leave the plastic wrap in place as long as possible to ensure the paint dries at the proper temperature. It’s okay to leave your greenhouse up overnight, but don’t leave the space heater running unattended for fear of fire.
Obviously, the best plan is…
To call Cityscape Painting. We’ve got loads of experience painting in cold weather. We have the right tools, paints, and additives to ensure your paint job will look great even when working under the challenging conditions of spring in Minnesota. Give us a call today at (952) 469-5901.
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