How to improve winter drying times

By Barrie Freeman

How to improve winter drying times

As the temperatures dip and daylight hours wane, the job of the painter or decorator can become more challenging and time consuming. Lower temperatures affect paint drying time and if paint is wet to the touch for longer there’s an increased risk of attracting dust, dirt, bugs and debris. In this article, we’ll look at the effects the cold can have and suggest ways that can speed up paint drying time.

How can the cold affect paint?

Low temperatures can have a negative impact on paint. Water-based and latex paints are susceptible to freezing while oil-based paint may become more viscous and not cure properly at lower temperatures. The chemicals in paint need certain temperatures to adequately bond and coalesce, without this, paint jobs can appear uneven or patchy and are less robust in the long term.

How long does paint take to dry?

There are a number of factors that affect the speed at which paint will dry – temperature, of course, but also the type of paint being used, the humidity in the room and the type of surface that’s been painted. One big deciding factor is whether your paint is water or oil based. Emulsion paint (typically used to decorate interior walls) is usually water based and will take a few hours to dry, you should be able to apply a second coat after 3 or so hours. Oil-based paint, on the other hand, will take between 6-8 hours to dry and you should wait at least 24 hours before applying a second coat.

How can you make paint dry faster?

The main three elements to consider for ensuring pint dries quickly are

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Airflow

This applies for wood and metal and using water, oil or latex-based paints.

Which paint is best to use in cold weather?

If you know that you’ll be working in particularly cold temperatures, then it’s worth considering a paint that’s formulated for cold weather. Most of these paints are designed for use in temperatures no lower than around 1.5 degrees celsius. This type of paint will perform better than a standard paint with anti-freeze chemicals added. Speak to our sales team for more information.

Which brush is best to use for painting in cold weather?

Paints are thicker in lower temperatures so it’s best to use brushes with stiffer brustles such as nylon, polyster or chinex bristles. Consider the Atomize Synthetic Paint Brush Set from Elmbridge.

How to improve drying times when painting inside

If you’re painting inside this winter then you do have some control. Consider the following tips to give your paint the best chance of drying in the lower temperatures:

  • Apply light/thin coats of paint to give it the best chance to dry naturally
  • Keep the air moving – humidity will affect the speed at which paint dries so use a dehumidifier
  • Consider using a space heater and position it closest to external walls
  • Build a bubble using plastic sheeting to enclose the area you want to paint
  • Please note: If using heaters, ensure adequate ventilation and do not leave unattended.

Will external painting be problematic in winter?

The simple answer is yes, the colder weather and increased chance of rain likely will affect your paint job. Using the right paint and tools can help but if you can’t wait until spring, we’d advise keeping an eye on the weather forecast and looking for a run of drier, warmer days before you start.

Have more questions? Get in touch with a member of the Elmbridge customer service team today.

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