If you’re planning for an upcoming interior painting project in Amador County, California, it’s essential to understand that temperature and humidity will affect paint and painting applications.

Temperature and humidity are two of the most important factors affecting how paint dries. Knowing how to avoid adverse environmental extremes can help you avoid painting problems. 


In extreme cases, very cold temperature prevents drying altogether, while heat has the opposite effect.

When the temperature is high, the surface of the paint can dry before the lower layers have a chance to dry.

When paint applied in excessively hot temperatures dries too quickly, it can often develop bumps, blisters, and other imperfections, such as lifting, cracking, or discoloration.

The rule of thumb is that if you are painting with oil-based paint, the ambient temperature should be above 45°F for at least 48 hours.

Latex and acrylic paints typically require higher temperatures above 50°F. Some paints, however, are formulated to dry at lower temperatures, even as low as 35°F.

Lower temperatures can also cause issues. It’s crucial that air temperatures don’t drop below freezing the first night after the paint has been applied since curing paint can still contain moisture that will crystallize in sub-freezing temperatures.

Not only should temperatures be above 45°F when the paint is applied, but they should remain that way for at least two or three hours for the paint to dry properly.


In high-humidity situations, you could see what is called surfactant leaching: brown or white discoloration on the surface of the paint.

If the paint is exposed to excessively high humidity, the desired protective qualities of the paint may be compromised.

High humidity also works against a fresh coat of paint by reintroducing water into the incompletely dried paint film.

Humidity also needs to be considered when painting a wood surface.

The wood can absorb the moisture in the air, which can compromise the adhesion of the paint to the surface, resulting in peeling or bubbling paint.

How Temperature Affects Drying

As the temperature lowers, the paint thickens. The thicker the coating, the longer it takes for the paint to oxidize in the case of oil-based paints.

Besides, when a coat is thicker, it extends the time it takes for the solvent to evaporate.

How Humidity Affects Drying

When humidity is high, the paint is exposed to a greater amount of water vapor, which affects the drying of acrylic and latex paints.

How so? With more moisture in the air, it takes longer for the water in an acrylic or latex paint to evaporate.

When you combine low temperatures and high humidity during painting, condensation on the surface of the paint often occurs.

This condensation can result in damage to the paint finish, like lifting, peeling, and other paint failures. 

Coating thickness is only one factor that affects the drying time of acrylic and latex paints. Beyond humidity and temperature, other weather issues such as wind and precipitation also affect paints and other coatings. 

Get the conversation started and make sure your paint job is done right by calling Michael Hines Painting at 209-256-4587 for a FREE estimate.

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