As the weather begins to change around Pierce and Thurston Counties, many homeowners are busy updating their homes and completing their maintenance to-do lists. Commercial building owners and tenants may be making the same lists too. While indoor spring cleaning may be well underway, you may be wondering when to begin your outdoor updates.
When it comes to exterior painting, there are some important factors to consider. Depending on what material your building is made out of, you may need to consider repainting more often than you think. All paints are used as a protective barrier between the elements and your surfaces so it is important to keep your paint updated. Not to mention your building will look that much more taken care of with a beautiful coat of paint. Here are a few tips from the professionals when it comes to planning to paint your building’s exterior.
Weather patterns are one of the hardest factors to consider when planning exterior painting. Before paint application, your exterior surfaces will need to be prepped. This can include sanding, resurfacing, making repairs, and priming. All of these prep steps will require dry days in order to avoid water seeping into your surfaces, causing potential damage to your structure.
In Thurston and Pierce County, April through September historically show the least amount of precipitation. This is why so many professional painters plan to do interior work in the winter and shift to exterior work during the summer months.
Once your surfaces are prepped and primed, you will want your paint to dry as smoothly and evenly as possible. Outdoor temperature is one factor that influences how rapidly your paint surface dries (or cures as the professionals say). If paint is exposed to temperatures outside of the manufacturer’s recommendation it will not dry properly. Temperatures too high can lead to bumps, cracks, and discoloration of your paint. Cold temperatures cause the topmost layer of paint to develop a skin prematurely preventing the lower layers to dry properly.
Every paint product has a recommended temperature range for optimal drying time. This is dependent on what base your paint is made of—typically latex or oil-based—and usually falls in the range of 50℉ and 85℉. For Thurston and Pierce Counties, June through September typically demonstrate these ranges consistently throughout the day and into the night.
One additional factor in considering temperature is what portions of your building are exposed to direct sunlight. Since the sun can heat up surfaces considerably higher than the surrounding air temperature, it is important to ensure that your fresh coat of paint isn’t exposed to the sun. If applied paint is exposed to direct sunlight for too long, the heat can cause issues in adhesion, causing blistering and cracking in the paint. Professionals know how to avoid this issue by planning out what time of the day to paint certain areas of your building.
One of the major players in how quickly paint dries is humidity. Every paint contains solvents which help in paint application to produce a smooth, even finish with lasting color. Once paint is applied to a surface these solvents begin to evaporate. For a quality finish, these solvents must evaporate within the time frame that is conducive to the paint manufacturer’s instructions. Humidity can slow this drying process down greatly if it is greater than 80% because water vapor will delay the curing process. For both oil-based and latex paints, excessive humidity can also lead to condensation on your painted surfaces, potentially weakening your paint and exposing your surfaces to damage.
April through November generally have low humidity in Thurston and Pierce Counties which aligns well with the other factors that are considered when professionals plan exterior painting projects. This humidity is unique to our area, as the rest of the state generally sees a higher humidity rate through these months.
As a recap: the best months to paint your building’s exterior with these factors in mind are between June and September, but you could have a new layer of beautiful, protective paint as early as April.
A professional crew can move exterior projects along at a pace that is both safe and effective. In order to keep as many protective layers as possible while avoiding exposure to the elements, schedule your exterior painting project with professionals that you can trust to get the job done with precision and accuracy.
To schedule a Flying Colors exterior assessment and estimate to see how much it would cost for us to paint your commercial or residential building, please email us, give us a call, or schedule on our website.