This Is the Best Time of Year to Paint the Exterior and Interior of Your House

Does your house need a paint job? Here's exactly when to do it.

pretty painted Victorian house
Photo: Getty Images

OK, the truth? There's actually no universal time that's prime for adding a new coat of paint to your house. Since so much depends on the weather and humidity, it's truly a unique process for everyone and will depend on the climate and weather where you live. What we can tell you is how to know when the conditions are right. Here are the signs to look for before you pick up that paintbrush.

When to Paint the Outside

Knowing when to paint a house exterior depends on where you live. Places that have consistently sunny weather and temps have it a little easier. "Avoid painting when the temperature dips below 50 F. If it's too cold, the paint can have issues adhering and will roll off," says Noah Winkles, pro painter and owner of New Life Painting. Heat and humidity can also be concerns. Typically, exterior paint can dry in an hour, but humidity can extend that process. Consider the health and safety of the people painting if the temperatures are really high.

"You really want to avoid extremes, so ideal conditions can be 65 to 90 F. I've seen paint crack when it's really hot," says Winkles. Generally, this means that the spring or fall, when the temperatures are more moderate, will be the best time to paint your house exterior.

A new paint project also requires dry weather. "We avoid starting a job when it's going to rain, and as a rule of thumb, I like to make sure the substrates are completely dry after wet weather," says Winkles. "After substantial rainfall, I like to let the surfaces dry out for a few days because you never want to paint a wet surface."

Wind is another big issue; while a little breeze might be refreshing, too much wind can result in overspray and can get paint on everything from your car to your dog. So if you're debating between painting your house exterior in the spring versus fall, let the average monthly rainfall in your area guide your decision. Then wait for a clear, calm forecast.

If you've hired pros to do the painting, an average-size home can take about four to five days to paint. But if you're DIYing the job, plan for that timeframe to potentially double or triple.

When to Paint the Inside

Great news! Painting inside includes a lot fewer variables, so you're good to go year-round. However, paint will take longer to dry, can streak, and will have trouble adhering to the walls if it's humid. Winkles explains that while it's best to wait for drier weather, if you need to paint, a dehumidifier can help dry out the air in your room.

Another factor is what you've got going on when you're about to paint. Avoid painting or bringing in pros around the holidays, or when you're planning to host a big event. Paint takes time to cure, so even when it feels dry to the touch, it may still be drying. Having a bunch of people over or moving furniture around might damage the paint job.

If you're planning to paint your house interior while you and your family are at home, look for no-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint, which won't off-gas, or release as many chemicals into the air. Many big paint brands now offer a low- or no-VOC line.

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