A. The usual recommended temperature range for latex paints, the type used most often, is 50° F to 90° F, says Rico de Paz, our paint expert. That’s mainly for exterior painting; indoor temperatures are usually well within those limits. Just avoid the high end of the spectrum because the temperature of the surface you’re painting may be higher than the air around it.

For example, on a summer day the air could be 85° F, but the sun beating down on a house all day could raise the wall temperature above 100° F.

When the surface or the air is too hot, paint dries too quickly, so it may not cover well or allow the brush marks to smooth out. And if it’s too cold, the paint may be too thick to spread or even out, or it may not adhere well.


Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the June 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

 Wait for temperate weather. Don’t paint on hot days, in the rain, or during windy or dusty weather. Ideal temperatures for painting are between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot weather causes the paint to dry too quickly, as does direct sun. When possible, follow the shade.