Ideal Temperature for Painting Outdoors

As people ready their homes for spring they often want to know how warm it needs to be to paint outside. The quick answer you often hear is 50 degrees. That’s true for the majority of latex paints, but that answer can be deceiving.

What the thermometer says when you apply the paint matters, but what the temperature does over the next 24 to 48 hours is just as important. In the spring and fall, daytime and nighttime temperatures can vary widely so dew forms on the surface easily in the cool night air. Even though paint may dry to the touch in a few hours, it’s still curing for hours and hours. When this moisture gets into uncured paint film it causes some of the ingredients to come to the surface when the moisture evaporates. That can lead to surface staining and adhesion problems.

Even if the paint looks fine, its life expectancy will likely be shortened. Check the paint label. If the forecast calls for temperature to drop below their minimum temperature with a day or so of painting, wait! Or look for a paint that can applied at lower temperatures.


  1. Since my patio and even driveway next to side of house are full of cracks because of tree roots can the patio be covered with the rubber mat flooring to prevent my tripping? Bought home with this problem but do not believe there is a reasonable fix for concrete on my limited income from social security. Have removed only tree from backyard and had both front and back landscaped for water conservation. Basically rocks, planters and drip irrigation. Is the rubber matting a safe cure?

  2. Yes grace that should work as a temporary fix. And you are correct it is going to be a costly repair in order to properly repair the driveway. The driveway will have to be busted up and the stumps ground out with a stump grinder or a bobcat.

  3. my house is brick, I painted my house the paint wont adhere to the brick. Its flake right off in about a week. i see birds look like the eat or chip on it. help!!!!
    Same two spots around my front door

    • Hi, Valerie! Did you apply primer to the brick before painting it?
      If not, that would be the missing step!
      Just clean the brick, apply primer and let it dry, and then apply paint and it should be fine. 🙂

  4. I have problem with latex top coat sticking to my outside corner trim of my home. I have primed with oil base paint and the applied top coat but in about 2 years it bubbles and peels and I have to scrape and sand again. I have used the 25-year paint guarantee but it doesn’t work. I am not sure that the type of wood material that is used for the corner trim. It looks like it but the wood is soft. I need help, what should I do. Am I doing something wrong?

  5. What about places such as the very humid, high dewpoint deep south where everything is going into get soaked with dew overnight? It’s like being rained on for painted surfaces.

    • Hi, John,
      When the dew point is high, we always like to stop painting early enough in the day to allow it to dry before the dew settles.
      Great question!


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