When it comes to outdoor painting projects, coordinating the paint job with the weather is critically important for the best results to be achieved and to ensure the durability and performance of the paint film.
Before setting out for the day, professional Tampa commercial painters consider three factors that can negatively affect a paint job:
- Relative Humidity – High humidity can prevent coatings from curing and drying within the time frame specified and even cause paint films to bubble.
Although the relative humidity level recommended for exterior painting is below 70%, the differences between water- and oil-based finishes can affect the decision on whether to paint or not.
While water-based paints can be used on slightly damp surfaces, they shouldn’t be applied when the risk of rain is imminent. Conversely, oil-based coatings aren’t appropriate for application to damp surfaces but can be used if rain is expected within a few hours, as long as the surface won’t be exposed directly to rainwater.
In addition to the instruments Tampa commercial painters use to measure and record humidity readings, NBC 6 is a great resource that indicates relative humidity levels in Tampa, Jacksonville and many other locations throughout Florida.
- Ambient Temperature – The second weather factor that can affect exterior commercial painting is temperature. High temperatures and direct exposure to UV radiation can speed up drying times, preventing the binders, additives, pigments and solvents from bonding together. This may cause a variety of serious failures, including paint cracking, peeling, flaking, blistering and wrinkling. The recommended temperature range for painting outside is between 40°F and 85°F.
- Wind – Exterior painting should also be avoided on breezy days. Besides drying the paint too fast, wind may cause dirt, pollen and other debris to lodge in freshly applied paint.
In Tampa and other locations across Florida, late autumn, winter and early spring typically provide the reduction in humidity and air temperature that allows for successful exterior painting. However, professional Tampa commercial painters can paint exteriors at any time of year, including the summer.
Besides being able to work around unpredictable weather, Tampa commercial painters can deliver excellent results when painting in the hot and humid climate of Florida by implementing certain techniques, such as:
- Following the shade around the building – Because painting in direct sunlight can accelerate the evaporation rate of coating systems, professional painters apply paint to shaded areas, as the sun moves from east to west.
- Considering the time of day – Starting to paint as soon as relative humidity reaches the recommended value and stopping painting a couple of hours before sunset can help prevent condensation from affecting the newly applied paint film.
- Thinning the paint – To replenish the solvent that evaporates due to hot weather, Tampa commercial painters typically add water, solvents, thinners or additives specifically formulated to match the paint they use and the ambient conditions. Using the wrong thinner or the right thinner in the wrong proportion can negatively affect color intensity and sheen level as well as coverage, adhesion and film-forming characteristics, which dictate coatings’ resistance to moisture and water intrusion, mold growth, fading, peeling, blistering and cracking.
So, the answer to the question, “When is the best time to paint exterior surfaces in Tampa, FL?”, is: “Whenever you need it.” Although satisfactory painting in Florida’s weather can sometimes be difficult, our Tampa commercial painters have the requisite expertise, experience and qualifications to deliver high-quality and durable paint jobs, regardless of the season.