Best to put off that paint­ing job for a while

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - MIKE HOLMES

THE first long week­end of sum­mer is the busiest time of the year for ex­te­rior paint­ing. Build­ing-sup­ply stores sell more paint than at any other time, be­cause home­own­ers have been trained to think the “safe time” to paint out­side is af­ter the last frost date. That might be a good rule of thumb for plant­ing veg­eta­bles, but it isn’t a guar­an­tee when it comes to paint­ing.

Ev­ery­one wants to get out­side and start paint­ing trim and sid­ing, or stain­ing decks and fences. And ex­te­rior paint­ing def­i­nitely has to be done when weather con­di­tions are good. That means the tem­per­a­ture should be around 20 C, con­sis­tently. That does not mean it reaches a brief high of 20 C at mid­day, and goes back down to near­freez­ing overnight. It also means that, if the weather is too hot or too hu­mid, you’re ask­ing for trou­ble.

When the tem­per­a­ture falls at night, dew forms on the newly painted sur­faces. That will stop the paint from cur­ing prop­erly and mois­ture can get into it. If you know the night will be cool, paint early in the day. That al­lows the long­est cur­ing time. If you paint too late in the day the paint might not be dry be­fore the dew falls in the evening. But be care­ful: If you paint too early, be­fore the dew has dried, your sur­face won’t be dry enough for the paint to ad­here prop­erly.

Pay at­ten­tion to your home’s ex­po­sure. The north side of a fence or your home gets the least amount of sun, so those sur­faces might get even colder than the air tem­per­a­ture, and they’ll be the slow­est to warm up. An ex­pe­ri­enced painter knows how to fol­low the sun around the house to get the best re­sults, given the sea­son and the air tem­per­a­ture. In the cooler times, you need the sun to warm and dry your sur­face be­fore you paint. On the hottest days, you need to stay ahead of the sun.

The in­tense heat of sum­mer is as bad for paint­ing out­doors as the cold is in win­ter. Too much hu­mid­ity makes it im­pos­si­ble for your paint to cure prop­erly: The amount of mois­ture in the air won’t let the mois­ture in your paint evap­o­rate.

Too much heat will make your paint dry too fast, or dry un­evenly, as the mois­ture will evap­o­rate out too quickly.

Di­rect sun on paint will raise the sur­face tem­per­a­ture even higher than the am­bi­ent air tem­per­a­ture. That will make the paint blis­ter or crack. If you have to paint in the hot weather, plan it so you’re work­ing in the shade; again, fol­low the sun. Paint the west side in the morn­ing be­fore the sun gets to it, and the east and south in the late af­ter­noon, af­ter the sun has moved on.

Ide­ally, you need dry, warm days with lit­tle hu­mid­ity. Re­gard­less of the size of the job, you may need a good week: sev­eral days of good weather to dry out the project sur­face, then good weather af­ter it’s done so the paint can prop­erly cure.

If the tem­per­a­ture isn’t right or the hu­mid­ity is too high, wait.

Paint­ing is the sort of job too many peo­ple think they can do them­selves. How hard can it be? You buy paint, a brush, and you go to work. But most peo­ple find out the hard way that, when it comes to ex­te­rior paint­ing, you re­ally do get what you pay for.

Pro­fes­sional paint contractors have the equip­ment and ex­pe­ri­ence you don’t. They’ll have lad­ders and scaf­fold­ing, tarps and sprayers that you would nor­mally have to rent. They’ll have the knowl­edge that comes from ex­pe­ri­ence. And they’ll be able to ex­plain the process of paint­ing your house, in­clud­ing what ma­te­ri­als they’ll use and why, and why you might need to wait for bet­ter weather.

— Canwest News Ser­vice

Pro­fes­sional paint contractors have the equip­ment and ex­pe­ri­ence you don’t. They’ll have lad­ders and scaf­fold­ing, tarps and

sprayers that you would nor­mally have to rent. They’ll have the knowl­edge that comes from ex­pe­ri­ence.

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