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The Truth About Cold-Weather Painting


Many paint manufacturers make bold claims stating that their products can be applied at temperatures as low as 35 °F. The issue with making those kinds of statements is that they are highly misleading. What exactly does that temperature relate to? Air, or ambient temperature — or is it the temperature of the substrate that is being painted? Why is this important?

Ask yourself: If the ambient temperature on a sunny fall day is in the mid-50s, is the surface temperature of a metal substrate in a shaded area of a building going to be 50 °F, as well? The answer is no. In fact, that substrate could be 10 to 20 degrees colder than the air temperature. Is it windy or breezy? If so, the substrate could be even colder due to convection, which is the cooling of a surface through movement of cold air.

Temperature isn't the only concern. What is the humidity level? If there is moisture in the air, the combination of low temperatures, wind and humidity greatly affect how a paint cures or dries. In fact, dew point, moisture, humidity levels are key factors that must be considered before painting during the colder months.

The truth is, Dunn-Edwards latex coatings tolerate cold weather conditions as well as and, in some cases, better than similar competitive products that make claims of low-temperature application. However, due to other important factors that can adversely affect application, Dunn-Edwards chooses to approach cold weather painting recommendations in an informative manner so professionals can make the best decisions when it comes to their painting projects. We do not make statements or claims of low-temperature application on our product information sheets as a blanket statement. Rather, we help inform and educate professionals about proper considerations before painting. For more information about cold weather painting or many other technical issues you may face, please read our Tech Sheets.