As warnings from the Met Office suggest that ‘Storm Brendan’ is around the corner, temperatures around the UK are plummeting. So far we’ve not had a particularly bad winter season, but this may be about to change as forecasts are predicting gales of 90 mph as well as severe flooding. Unfortunately for painters and decorators, cold weather can wreak havoc on painting supplies. Water-based paints will freeze if they hit 0°c, which will be detrimental to any painting project.
So with that in mind, we’ve put together 7 professional tips for painting during the colder months, including how to deal with frozen paint.
1. Increase Drying and Recoating Times
As a general rule of thumb, if the weather is below 5°c your paint will be affected. It will take longer for your paint to dry, which means you’ll have to wait longer before you recoat. For instance, at 20°c our Acrylic Eggshell paint is touch dry in 30 minutes and recoatable in 16 hours. But at 10°c we recommend waiting at least 18 hours before recoating. This can be frustrating, but patience is a lot cheaper than doing something twice. Below 5°c you’ll also have to keep a close eye on your paint. If it begins to freeze you may experience cracking, sagging, wrinkling and blooming.
2. Paint in the Middle of the Day
During winter our days are both colder and shorter. Although this can’t be prevented, painting between 10am and 2pm will help to ensure your project is smooth sailing. This is because the sun is at its highest, which means these are the warmest parts of the day.
3. Heat up Paint Before Using
Try not to let your paint freeze. Sheds, garages, vans and outhouses are the go-to places to store paint. However, they’re often unheated, which means paint stored in these areas is susceptible to the cold weather. Store your paint in temperatures between 5° and 30°. If you take the lid off your paint and find that it has frozen, do not panic. Frozen paint doesn’t necessarily need to be thrown away; most can handle a few freeze/thaw cycles. Take the paint inside to a warm room and allow it to slowly warm up to room temperature. Allow it to completely defrost before using.
4. Stir Thoroughly Before Using
On the back of tip number three, it’s important to stir your paint thoroughly before starting. Although most water-based paints can handle being frozen, if it happens too often your paint may reach the point of no return. Stir your paint thoroughly, paying particular attention to its colour, thickness and texture. Once fully thawed, if the paint seems clumpy, blotchy or stringy do not use it!
5. Check Your Surface
Before starting to paint on an exterior surface, you need to make sure you’re not painting over ice. Some ice can be difficult to detect, but if you paint over it you’ll have trouble getting paint to adhere. We recommend using a dry towel to rub over any exterior surfaces before you begin painting.
6. Heat up the Surface Temperature Before Starting
As well as the air temperature, you need to pay attention to the temperature of the surface you’re working with. If the air is 15°c but the surface is 5°c, it’s equivalent to painting in 5°c weather. In other words, it’s not warm enough. A lot of painters use infrared thermometers to check surface temperatures, you can pick them up on Amazon for around £30-50. Plus, it’s important to remember that surface temperature can differ at different parts of the wall based on things like sunlight, shade, the position of radiators.
7. Use Brushes Designed for Thicker Paint
At lower temperatures, paints are typically thicker than usual. For the most consistent application, you should therefore use brushes designed for thicker paints. This includes nylon and polyester bristled brushes.
In an ideal world, nobody would have to paint when the weather is cold. However, we understand that this isn’t realistic. We hope you’ve found these tips and tricks useful. Do you have any other tips for painting during the colder months?