So, the weather has turned to cold and bitter conditions but your home projects can’t be put on hold for too long, right? The good news is, you can definitely continue your painting ventures through the colder months even with less opportunity for outside air to flow through the home.
To ensure you are painting safely in your home during the cold, winter months, you’ll want to consider a few factors. Proper ventilation, even strokes, prep and cleanup and more. The funny part? There are BENEFITS to painting in the winter, such as low humidity.
Let’s dive into the process. What should you keep in mind when interior painting in the winter? After you’ve read these tips and tricks, you’ll be ready to tackle your next painting projects without concerns.
Is it Safe to Interior Paint in the Winter?
While it may not be your first choice timeframe, you can paint safely year round no matter what the weather may be outside. There are even benefits to interior painting during frigid weather but you’ll have to take the proper precautions.
Don’t feel pressured by the end of fall to hurry up and complete your projects- you can continue throughout the year and into the new year. Now that there is less moisture and humidity in the air, it makes drying even easier for paint.
You can even book a contractor easier since most home projects are tackled in the spring and summer. Since there is less to do in the winter, you can take your time with your interior projects and enjoy them without feeling pressured to finish.
Now that your paint can dry without humidity, this makes for quicker drying times. Ventilation is a key factor in safely painting inside. You can do this without freezing your butt off by using fans, dehumidifiers and keeping all the doors inside the home open.
Choose a paint with low VOC or zero VOC. These are the volatile organic compounds that possess a strong smell and trigger headaches, allergies and can even be toxic. As long as you’ve chosen a paint without high VOC, you should be good to go!
Important Tips for Painting in the Winter
Now that you’ve gathered your materials such as low VOC paint and have your ventilation options available, you can get ready to interior paint. One thing to remember is that there is no rush and you can go at any pace you need to. It’s the dead of winter and there’s nothing to do so sit back and enjoy it- here are some tips to go by as you start your painting venture:
If you’ve painted before you know that prep is half the process. Make sure your space is prepped and ready to go with everything you need- you won’t want to stop mid-painting to gather more materials.
Protect any surfaces with drop cloths so you don’t end up with damaged or ruined furniture or floors in the process. Make sure you’ve had the time to wash your walls and surfaces from dirt and dust. This could mean simply going over with soap and water and giving ample time to dry before adding paint.
Use painting tape to cover any portions from paint such as moldings and baseboards. Open all doors inside the home and turn on a ceiling or floor fan if you have it handy for good ventilation. Mix your paint well before you start rolling to ensure a clean, smooth finish.
Plan the Timing Carefully
This could simply mean ensuring you know how long each coat takes to dry. If you want to tackle the job during daylight make sure to give yourself at least four hours for 2 coats of painting. Many paints take roughly two hours to dry or more per coat so keep that in mind. During the winter months, it tends to get darker earlier so plan accordingly.
Ceiling, Walls Then Trim
Although everyone has their own paint process, it is best to do the ceiling first. Especially if you are working with a large space, doing the ceiling first means getting the hard part out of the way. It also means any dripping or errors that hit the wall will be covered in the next step.
From there, you’ll want to move onto your walls. Save the trim for last so that everything looks fresh and even in the end, with the ability to cover any paint that might have hit it accidentally in the process.
If you are doing a total room transformation, floors always come last!
Use Even Strokes
Even strokes are an important factor in ensuring the paint looks totally flat and even in the end. You don’t want to finish and find that you have uneven strokes or streaks in the wall. Take these steps to make sure you are satisfied with even strokes at the end of your painting process:
- Cover the roller with paint
- Remove access to avoid drips as you paint
- Apply the paint always going in the same pattern or direction. Use the “W” or “M” method as a guide.
- Continue the same pattern until all areas have been filled.
- Once finished, take the roller and put it back in your paint tray.
- Repeat the process in the next area.
As mentioned, it’s the middle of winter. NO RUSH! Take your time and put the effort into those even strokes. It is better to go slow and steady and not miss any areas so you don’t have to go back and fix later.
Keep Calm and Let the Paint Dry
This goes along with the whole, “Don’t rush,” thing. Once you’ve finished your first coat, you’re probably itching to dive right into the second. Don’t do that. Give extra time for drying even! Once it’s completely dry, then you can apply the second coat but you MUST make sure that it is or it ruins the integrity of the texture.
If you can shut the door and allow outdoor winter air for a bit, that also helps speed up the process. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait patiently.
Make sure to read the directions on the back of the paint can- all paints will differ in drying times so make sure to plan accordingly.
Ensure Adequate Ventilation
If you haven’t already, you may want to grab a floor fan or dehumidifier. These will help keep the air ventilated and fresh, aiding in drying your wet paint. A ceiling fan can also be incredibly helpful as it is an even air flow. Having these handy while painting is also great to prevent headaches or allergy triggers.
So it’s not the fun part but it’s pretty simple, luckily. Paint brushes are great for using multiple times so you’ll want to wash them thoroughly with soap and warm water. Dispose of any unused paint in your tray by washing that as well. If you have disposable paint trays, simply throw them away.
Store leftover paint in a safe place in case you need it later- you’ll never know when you need a quick touch-up!
Advantages of Interior Painting in the Winter
From temps with no humidity to quicker drying times, there are a variety of benefits to painting in the winter. While it isn’t typically the first choice, it may actually be a BETTER choice in the long run. Even supplies tend to be a bit cheaper during the cold months. Here are some of the reasons why interior painting in the winter is actually a great project for households:
Without humidity, your paint is actually better off when it comes to drying. When you control the interior temperature you can be assured that it’s perfect conditions for paint to cure properly.
The dry air is ideal and you don’t have to worry about moisture getting in the way of dry time. Having the ability to control the temperature means the integrity of the paint won’t be compromised by humidity.
Keep Windows Shut
You can, indeed, keep windows shut. Ensure that you have a low or zero-VOC to prevent any unwanted headaches (literally!) or allergy triggers from strong chemical smells. The great news is that nowadays, most paints are low VOC for that exact reason.
This means you can keep windows shut to work in comfortable conditions as you paint during the cold winter. Boost your ventilation by switching on the ceiling fan or adding a dehumidifier if you are worried about any chemical inhalation.
If you don’t mind the cold, cracking open a window isn’t such a bad thing. Sure your heating system might work a little harder for that short period of time, but your paint may dry faster.
Winter Paint Dries Faster
Since the air is cooler than normal even though you’ve personalized it, the paint might dry even quicker! That means once you’ve done all your coats, you may not have to wait as long before putting your room back together. This is a huge plus!
This means running out of daylight isn’t a concern if you start in the daytime. Saving time is always a huge benefit for any household project so this is a welcome perk.
Scheduling is Quicker and Easier to Coordinate
Here’s one of the best parts- if you are looking to get your interior painting professionally done, it is a generally slow time of the year for contractors. Booking at your leisure should be no problem at all. Whereas, if you try to book in the spring or summer, your options are going to be extremely limited!
Overall, painting in the winter is actually a great time. There is zero humidity, it’s easier to book a contractor, supplies are plentiful and you can take your time. Luckily, nowadays paint is low or zero-voc so you don’t have to open all windows in the house to paint safely.
With few precautions to take, what is stopping you from getting the job done? With nothing else to do in the winter, why not make it the time for all your household interior painting?
Our team includes many home improvement professionals such as painters interior decorators and architects. Collectively, we have over 30 years of experience.