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Old 11-14-2012, 03:29 PM   #1
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How cold is too cold to paint?


I'm hoping to at least prime a couple rooms tonight, but it's about 45 here (outside) and we haven't turned the heat on in the new-to-us house yet. My husband turned on the electrical baseboard heaters for about 30 min. when he was over there last night and said they did okay, so I can turn them on while I paint, but then do I have to leave them on when I leave? We won't be back to the house until Friday afternoon and no one has used those heaters (and they look awful) in over 2 years. I'll be priming with Zinsser 1-2-3 and eventually painting with SW Harmony. Thanks!

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Old 11-14-2012, 03:50 PM   #2
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How cold is too cold to paint?


Read the can. It says stuff like this.

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Old 11-14-2012, 04:43 PM   #3
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How cold is too cold to paint?


I have done a few houses in winter temps over the years and was never happy with the results. This was back when new homes were going up by the dozens in subdivisions all over the country. We were knocking out houses left and right. Some had heat, some did not. With little or no heat, I found that the paint never dried or cured properly. Satin sheens ended up streaky. Ceilings had dead spots in them no matter how many coats were applied. The builder we worked for finally realized he had to have heat in these homes or the finishes just didn't look right. He finally bought a furnace that he could hardwire in the basement and left it running while the painting took place. In your case, leaving the heat on could prove to be hazardous..........I say don't do any painting if the temps inside are going to be below 50 degrees. You won't be happy with the results.
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:32 PM   #4
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How cold is too cold to paint?


As gym said 50 minimum
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:33 PM   #5
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How cold is too cold to paint?


I would say 50 should be your very bottom threshold as well---even if the can promises lower possibiliities. The other issue you face at lower temperatures is dew point just like outside. The paint will evaporate a lot of moisture that will just cling to the surface if it is too cold in the room. Streaking and blotchiness could be the result. Make sure you provide adequate ventilation and dehumidification if working at lower temps.

Fact of the matter is you will not be comfortable working all bundled up and with temps at 40 either?

So long as the baseboard heaters are protected and not right up against the floor or walls I should think they would be alright to leave on. That said, I don't want my advice to be the cause of your home burning down so error on the side of caution if your instincts say not to trust them.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:49 AM   #6
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How cold is too cold to paint?


Many product rate down to 35 now, but that is surface temperature, not ambient. Also it has to stay at that temp for several hours before and after application. So 50 is still a lot safer number to shoot for.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:36 AM   #7
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How cold is too cold to paint?


Many EXTERIOR products cure down to 35 degrees F, but not interior paints.
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:26 PM   #8
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How cold is too cold to paint?


Thanks, everyone! I went ahead then and primed and left the heater on in that room...but I didn't think about surface temp vs. ambient...will that matter? I left the room set at 65, but I know the walls were pretty cold. Should I be setting the thermostat a lot warmer than 70 to warm the walls up, too? I'm hoping to start with the actual paint tomorrow...
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:27 PM   #9
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How cold is too cold to paint?


Another dumb question...how long after the paint dries to the touch does it need to be kept warm? I hate to be paying for electrical heat constantly when no one is living there!
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:47 AM   #10
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How cold is too cold to paint?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Will22 View Post
Many EXTERIOR products cure down to 35 degrees F, but not interior paints.
Correct. I didn't pay as much attention as I should have to the initial post.

I'd leave the heat up at least four hours to get a good enough cure on it. 65 should be fine. My house is always at 64 and no problems with paint drying.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:43 PM   #11
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How cold is too cold to paint?


It depends on Paints quality and Environment of course.
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:52 PM   #12
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How cold is too cold to paint?


Many quality paints are now made with 100% Acrylic resins. If your paint is labeled as such, they will tell you to apply at >50 degrees. They will continue to form a film as low as 35-40 degrees. If you are using a 100% Acrylic with a room temp of 65 degrees, you will be fine.

If you are using a vinyl-acrylic, economy paint, be sure to keep the room warm. If your outside walls are uninsulated, heat them as long as possible before painting them.

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