It can be tricky knowing when to schedule projects like exterior painting when you live in an extreme climate. Most how-to advice seems to focus on regions where summers are mild and winters are frigid. Phoenix, of course, has the opposite weather: Scorching summers and mild the rest of the year. So, when is the best time to paint in Phoenix? Keep reading to find out!
Does Temperature Really Matter When You Paint?
In a word: Yes. Paint manufacturers design their products for optimum weather conditions. This includes temperature and moisture levels. Cooler temperatures help ensure your paint dries correctly, which directly impacts how well it adheres to the building surface. When it’s too hot, your paint dries too quickly, making it much more likely to bubble and peel.
No matter where you live, the ideal weather conditions for exterior painting include temperatures between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, with low wind and humidity. Even if the label on your paint can indicates a broader temperature window, try to shoot for the 50- to 85-degree range. That’s because the paint surface averages 10 to 20 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature.
What Happens to Paint When It’s Cold?
One of the reasons we don’t recommend painting during the few weeks the Valley freezes overnight is the way cold affects the drying process. When the temperature drops, humidity levels tend to rise. This causes dew drops to form on your freshly-painted surface. When that happens, the water in your paint evaporates more slowly. The combination of cold and moisture increase the risk of cracking, mold, and mildew.
Luckily, the Phoenix area only has a few weeks each year when temperatures dip below freezing at night.
When Is the Best Time to Paint in Phoenix?
Clearly, you want to avoid painting during the height of summer as much as possible. Not only are temperatures blistering hot, we also have to deal with the monsoons. That means high winds, rain, and increased humidity – a trifecta of negative paint conditions. While moisture results in paint taking too long to dry, high winds send dirt and debris flying. In both scenarios, the result is a damaged paint finish.
Luckily, although Phoenix is famous for brutal summers, we have relatively mild weather eight months out of the year (excepting those few hours a day when the sun’s at its peak in late spring and early fall). That’s why October through May are the best months for exterior painting in Phoenix.
Does the Paint Color Make a Difference?
Most homeowners choose paint colors they find aesthetically pleasing or received HOA approval. Commercial paint jobs may incorporate colors from the organization’s logo. And while color plays little role as far as when to apply exterior paint, it does affect how well that paint stands up against the Phoenix sun.
In general, the darker the color, the more UV light it absorbs. This leads to faster degradation of the paint, particularly fading.
You’ll also notice most buildings in the Valley of the Sun feature earth tones. That’s because these shades use inorganic pigments, which are better at resisting UV light. Reds, yellows, blues, and greens, on the other hand, use organic pigments, which are much more vulnerable to ultraviolet rays.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use darker colors, or that you have to stick to earth tones. However, you may wish to use these for accent colors. You can also apply them to walls that get less UV exposure, such as the northern and eastern sides of your building. This reduces UV damage.
Timing Your Exterior Paint Job
October through May is a fairly wide window, which means lots of variability as regards typical weather conditions. That means you want to plan according to the particular month you wish to paint.
If you plan to do your own exterior painting, look at the weather forecast. You want ideal paint conditions to last for around 72 hours. This allows you plenty of time to handle delays, as well as ample curing time between coats. Don’t forget, you also need to pressure wash the painting surface, and repair any cracks or other damage before painting. You need to wait at least 48 to 72 hours after pressure washing before you paint.
A professional paint company, of course, has the tools, expertise, and manpower to complete the entire job more quickly. Five Star Pro Painting offers free estimates. Just fill out our contact form, including the basic details of your project. Or, call us toll-free at 800-PRO-0750.