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Painting Through Monsoon Season

Painting Through Monsoon Season

At this time of year, we get plenty of customers that are concerned about painting their homes exterior. Yes, this is generally a wetter time of the year. But, on most days, it is usually not a big concern.

Where I come from, it was going to rain 3-4 days a week. And you could not paint outside from mid-October through usually mid-April. The temperature was going to be too low, the humidity too high or a total lack of sunshine to dry out wet surfaces. So, we had to figure out how to do all of our exterior painting in 6 months around the rain. Some areas of the country are worse with fog and mist.

Here are a few guidelines for when you paint your home during monsoon season. Monsoon season is usually just 75 days. And of those 75 days, it is probably only going to rain on 30 of them. Then it just may not rain in your area on those 30 days. Maybe you get Less. Maybe you get a few more.

Certainly, you don’t want to paint on a visibly wet surface. We use a moisture meter to check all raw wood, raw masonry, or semi-transparent finishes. A moisture meter used to cost a few hundred dollars. Now you can get them at Lowe’s or Home Depot for about $25.00. Just make sure you get the one with probes. You are looking for a moisture content of 18% or less. This is the only way to make sure it is safe to paint. Some surfaces can look dry and still be wet. Painting over a surface with too high of a moisture content will cause a paint failure within a year.

When we pressure wash a home, it will drive the moisture content to 100%. But, it only lasts for a short time. Your surfaces will be back to 0% within 2-4 hours. When it is 18% or less, you are ready to paint. Remember that you are actually wetting the surface with paint. It is formulated to work about 18% or less.

Of course, you have to be careful of when the next rain is coming. Paint manufacturers like it to be dry for 18-24 hours before rain. This is just their liability attorney’s speaking. If I needed 18-24 hours of drying time, I would have never been able to paint exteriors in Ohio. And no painters along the coasts would be able to work outside either. The guidelines on the paint label call for 18-24 hours at 70 degrees and 50% relative humidity. That would be a cloudy wet day here. Our sun and low humidity accelerates the drying process.

You should be safe painting up to 4 hours before rain. And I would allow 8-12 hours before rain on deck tops. If for some reason your home does get hit by rain, it probably won’t do irreparable damage. It won’t affect your prep work. You may just have to put a fresh coat on the affected areas. Rain hitting a freshly coated surface just leaves blemishes that are easily touch-upped or repainted. Of course, this assumes that you didn’t get caught in a downpour and your paint washed off. You would have to be caught in rain in less than 30 minutes of painting for that to happen.