We’ve been long time proponents of starting exterior paint projects in the fall. Of course, you can successfully paint a house during many times of the year, but fall weather and exterior paint go together really well. If you’re ready to make a big change and pick up a brush, here’s what to know before painting your home in the fall.
Changing your home’s color is a big decision. At brick&batten, we help homes live up to their full potential with our virtual home exterior design services. You send us a picture of your home, communicate your preferences and goals, and we’ll provide you with a realistic rendering and a shopping list.
What to Know Before Painting Your Home in the Fall
#1 Know Your Paint’s Temperature Limits
If your home hasn’t been painted for decades, you might be happy to find out that paint technology has come a long way since then. However, even modern paint has its temperature limits. Although the weather doesn’t get too cold in most climates in early fall, you’ll want to check your area’s extended forecast. Many paints can dry at temperatures as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit, so if it is above that, you’re in the clear. Ideally, you’ll also choose a span of days with minimal temperature fluctuations, which can impede the paint’s drying process.
#2 Know the Chance of Rain
Luckily, exterior paint can dry in a matter of hours, but the exact amount of hours depends on your paint brand and the upcoming forecast. For example, Sherwin Williams paint needs four hours of dry time before it can be exposed to moisture. However, we highly suggest avoiding painting if there is precipitation in the forecast during the next 24 hours.
#3 Know How the Color Will Look With Other Elements (Not Just the Changing Leaves)
It’s super hard to visualize exactly how the finished product will look, especially if your home is currently surrounded by orange and red leaves. After all, switching paint colors is perhaps one of the most dramatic curb appeal changes you can make. The hues of your blooming landscaping flowers, your home’s brick accents, and the stain on your front door can all impact how a paint color will look. While we highly suggest swatch tests, these can only reveal so much. The best way to avoid a costly mistake is to work with a virtual exterior designer who will provide you with a realistic rendering, like brick&batten.
#4 Know When to Repair or Replace Siding or Shingles
If painting your home in the fall is ideal thanks to the nearly perfect weather, you can bet that it’s also a good time to update your home’s siding too. With the right primer and paint, you can pretty much change the look of stone, brick, cedar, stucco, and fiber cement. However, rotting or chipping materials certainly don’t provide a clean canvas for painting projects. We often suggest that our clients update wood siding with complete and thorough repairs and if repairs don’t cut it, even replace with paintable fiber cement. Your paint job will last much longer if your surface is clean, prepped, and ready.
#5 Know How to Do a Swatch Test
Doing a swatch test for your home’s exterior is an art. For starters, you’ll need to milk your tester can for all its worth. The bigger the swatch you are able to paint, the better. Once it is dry, observe how it looks during different times of the day. It is amazing how two white paints with different light reflectance values (LRVs) can look on a sunny day! You might find that one appears too harsh during the afternoon, but great during the evening. Weigh the pros and cons of each color before landing on the right one. Read here for more tips on testing exterior paint colors.
#6 Know the Humidity Level
If it’s humid enough to make your hair frizz, it is probably too humid to paint your home’s exterior. But in all seriousness, don’t just trust that rule of thumb…. but if the humidity level is higher than 70%, pick a different fall day to paint. Unfortunately, humidity can cause bubbles to form under your paint. Once that happens, it’s only a matter of time before the paint starts to chip. Luckily, painting your home’s exterior in the fall is usually a safe bet, because it’s notoriously a less humid time of year.
#7 Know LRV if Choosing White Paint
We mentioned this briefly in #5, but LRV makes a big difference when it comes to white paint. For as simple as a color that white is, finding the right one can be a complex process. Aside from cool vs. warm undertones, LRV makes the biggest impact on what your home will look like once the paint dries. LRV refers to how much light a color reflects, which impacts how dark or light it looks.
The brightest white paint has an LRV of 100, and don’t even think about choosing paint with this LRV unless you want to blind your neighbors. An ideal white exterior paint will have an LRV between 73 and 85. Some of our favorite white paints include Seapearl, White Dove, and Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore. And if you’re looking for white trim, try one of our new favorites, Pure White by Sherwin Williams
#8 Know How the Season Impacts Labor and Material Costs
Luckily, some paint companies charge less for projects done in the fall, because even though it’s an ideal time to paint, it’s often not this industry’s busy season. And you’ve gotta love those Labor Day sales or end of season markdowns on materials!
If you’re beginning a virtual redesign project, think of yourself as a project manager. Any experienced project manager knows that part of the job is getting multiple bids. Even if you’re completing the project as a DIY, you can still compare costs between paint brands and types. If you’re contracting the job out, compare quotes and customer reviews. Note that if one company seems to be charging significantly less than other companies, there could be a good reason for this (like a lack of contractor’s insurance or other cut corners). Read these tips for hiring the best home exterior painter.
Overall, the fall season is a great time to start the projects you’ve put off all summer. Not only is fall an excellent time to bust out the cozy sweaters and boots, but also a great time to paint your home’s exterior. So, grab your paint brush and let’s get to work.