How Soon Can You Paint After Pressure Washing?

Before we ever lay a paintbrush onto your home, we always pressure wash your home. We want a nice, clean surface to lay primer on, and pressure washing takes all the years of dirt, buildup, and residue off in a matter of hours. But how long does it take for your home to dry before we can paint?

It’s important to understand the surface needs to be dry before painting. We use a handy, two pronged tool called a moisture meter to determine the surface’s moisture content. We press it into the cracks of the raw stucco beneath the paint, or into the wood, and it tells us how much moisture is trapped under the surface. The last thing we want is to trap water under the surface of your home because it will begin to bubble, crack, and ruin the beautiful new paint job.

Of course, we’d like to have a moisture content of 0%, but we’re looking for 18% or less. Some of the stains for raw wood require the surface to be 22% or less. Absolutely no primer is applied until the moisture content reaches these numbers. Similarly, no caulking or repair patches are put into any cracks until the moisture content is 18% or less.

In more humid climates, it takes much longer for paint to dry, and you almost never reach 0% moisture content. Why? The moisture is being pulled into the wood or masonry. Whereas in dryer climates like Arizona, the moisture is being pulled away from the surface. About half of the year, we can typically pressure wash a house and about 4 hours later, we’ll get 0% moisture content. In the winter months, your home will dry a little slower due to the cooler temperatures, but we can usually paint the next day.


Once the moisture meter gives us a green light, we’re able to get to work.

Do you have any questions about pressure washing your home or painting the exterior of your home? Give us a call! We’d be happy to give you a free estimate and chat with you about your project.

If you are looking for a Prescott painting contractor then please call 928.778.2902 or complete our online request form.

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