Winter Painting:  Pros & Cons

The leaves are falling, and the temperatures are dropping as another winter season approaches. Most people associate the winter months with holidays, cozy sweaters, and steaming mugs of goodness. In fact, changing weather and colder temps may push building maintenance, like painting, to the back burner – but should it? Can you paint in the winter – and is it better?

As commercial painting contractors, we are asked about winter painting quite a bit. People want to know, can you paint in winter? Or, can you paint indoors in the winter? And finally, when is it too cold to paint inside? So, we’ve decided to share some pros and cons of winter painting to help business owners and landlords in colder climates make an informed decision about whether or not to plan commercial painting projects in the winter.

Pros of Painting in the Winter

We’ll begin with the pros of painting in cold weather, interior or exterior, because they outweigh the cons. Although winter months, especially in Chicago and Cincinnati, usher in cold and wet weather, that doesn’t prohibit professional commercial painters as much as you might think. Following are the benefits of winter painting:

Lower Humidity

Paint dries faster in dryer air that’s lower in humidity. Also, high humidity levels can cause paint to peel off or crack shortly after the paint is applied. In most areas of our country, humidity levels drop in the winter, which improves paint conditions. So, lower humidity is the first pro for winter painting.

Higher Availability of Painters

The winter months are typically slower for commercial painting companies, which can work in your favor. Fewer projects translate to more time and labor for your paint project if you schedule it during the winter, as well as more flexible scheduling options. Plus, higher availability of painters can also benefit (i.e., speed up) your project turn-around.  

Lower Cost of Painting

Another benefit of winter painting is lower costs. We go into more detail in another blog post, The Cost Benefits of Painting Commercial Properties in the Winter, and here’s a recap. Demand for painting in the winter is slower than in the spring and summer, so planning your paint project while the painters are slow can save money. Think of it as buying winter coats on sale during the summer. Less demand for the product tends to drive costs down. Many commercial paint companies will offer great incentives for scheduling your project during the winter.

Winter Is Usually a Slow Season for Most Businesses

Like commercial painters, many businesses slow down during the winter months thanks to holidays or weather-related shutdowns. This makes planning building maintenance, like painting, a lot easier for business owners and landlords because fewer people are around to disrupt – or be disrupted by – a painting crew.

Cons of Painting in the Winter

Unfortunately, there are some cons to painting in cold weather, and here is what we tell customers who ask about winter painting, or more specifically, “Can you paint inside during winter?” There are a few factors to consider, and although they are not deal breakers, they are worth weighing when deciding whether or not to schedule winter painting projects for your business.

Cold Weather Can Affect Paint Quality

Outside temperatures can definitely affect paint quality, given its liquid-to-solid properties. For example, when the weather is too cold, the paint can thicken and make application harder. Also, the paint will dry slower in cold weather because the atmosphere can’t absorb as much moisture, which can result in cracking. However, a thermostat adjustment can address indoor temperatures to create a more conducive environment for winter interior painting.

Ventilation Could Be Problematic

This con applies more to interior painting vs. exterior winter painting. Often paints contain fumes from the chemicals within, which is why ventilation is critical. Also, the paint fumes will be more intense for longer without proper ventilation, so it’s best when windows and doors can be left open to air out the space. However, many high-quality, low VOC paints are available today, which are much safer for indoor painting, even during winter.

Paint Dries Slower at Lower Temperatures

Like anything else exposed to the effects of heat, paint tends to dry faster in higher temps and slower in lower temperatures. Although lower humidity during colder weather is a benefit of winter painting, the lower temperatures aren’t always beneficial because paint tends to dry slower when cold. Basically, when the temperature gets too cold or wet, the color will not apply or cure correctly.

As we head into another winter season, is it time to plan that commercial building refresh with a fresh coat of interior or exterior paint? If you don’t mind some temperature-related hassles, then commercial painting in the winter may be the best bang for your buck – or simply the most convenient time to plan. Also, it’s important to remember that although professional paint contractors may experience a slower season during the winter, it does not mean they aren’t ready, willing, and capable of winter painting.

In fact, if budget is a concern, then winter painting may be the ideal solution for your commercial property refresh. Professional commercial painting contractors, like PPD Painting, are accustomed to winter painting projects and know exactly how to plan and execute around Midwest winters. Our crews and highly skilled painters can manage your project with professionalism and efficiency, no matter the weather.

Serving the Chicago and Cincinnati metro areas, PPD Painting can handle everything on your painting checklist, from exterior touch-ups to interior color transformations, with unmatched service and professionalism.

Project Estimates are FREE of Charge


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