How Does Temperature Affect Paint?

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Temperature affects paint consistency, drying time, appearance and durability. Recommended temperature ranges vary between brands, and manufacturers list this information on their packaging. Paints, varnishes and sealants work best when applied and left to dry at an acceptable temperature.

Paints, varnishes and sealants applied in cold temperatures require extended drying time. In extreme cases, bitter cold prevents drying altogether. Heat has the opposite effect. Products applied in excessively hot temperatures dry too quickly and often develop bumps, blisters and other imperfections.

Extreme temperatures also cause dried paints, varnishes and sealants to expand and contract. Paints exposed to severe cold often shrink and crack. This loosens the bond with the underlying surface and leads to flaking, chipping and peeling. Coatings applied in very hot weather are particularly vulnerable to cold temperature damage.

Other weather issues, such as wind, precipitation and humidity also affect paints and other coatings. Products left to dry in heavy winds cure rapidly and without forming sturdy surface bonds. Strong winds also disfigure freshly painted surfaces by blowing dust, pollen and insects into the drying paint. Precipitation is a serious threat to proper drying and frequently ruins fresh paint jobs. Humidity is another concern, especially when painting moisture-swollen wooden surfaces. Paints, varnishes and sealants applied to waterlogged wood do not form reliable bonds and are prone to peeling, bubbling and flaking.