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Three Tips for Painting Outside in Winter

‘Working on an exterior painting job in Winter? Mike Cupit, of the Decorators Forum UK , has provided three top tips on staying safe in order to ‘crack on and get the job completed’ in the UK’s colder months.’


Work around the weather

We know the weather in the UK can be iffy at any time of the year, but especially so during the winter. No one can paint in the rain, nor can you paint a surface that is already wet. If you try and paint in wet conditions then you may have adhesion issues, or worse, trap moisture in a surface and cause rot. 

Equally, cold conditions can cause issues with your paint, and although you can overcome this to a certain degree by choosing appropriate materials, it is still best to avoid painting in conditions close to freezing. 

This may sound obvious, but if you are going to paint outside in winter, then choose days when you know it isn’t going to rain and the temperature is relatively mild.

Work short days

Even when the weather is good for outside painting, remember the surfaces you intend to work on take a while to warm up, so you can’t start painting too early in the day. Nor can you carry on painting too late. Drying times are prolonged in cold conditions, and if your painted surface is still wet come nightfall, then your paint might discolour and go cloudy. We call this “blooming”, and the only fix is to sand down and re-paint, which can be soul destroying.

Choose the right paint for the job

Some of the paint products you might use in summer simply won’t work during winter, so you need to ensure you choose something that’s up to the task. 

Zinsser AllWeather is an exterior masonry paint designed to perform in adverse weather conditions. You can use it on any outside masonry surface in temperatures as low as -5 degrees! You’ll find it easy to use, quick drying and tintable to most off-white and pastel colours.

Zinsser AllCoat is another product you can use when painting outside in winter, but you must use the solvent-based (or oil-based) version. This is a multi-surface paint which can be used on external woodwork such as doors and windows, as well as uPVC, masonry and more.

Another tip is to keep your paint warm before painting. I keep mine inside the house until I need it. Cold paint has a high viscosity and can feel gloopy to apply. Do not put paint tins next to a radiator or you might have a problem with lids flying off, but room temperature is perfect.

The above tips will help you successfully complete your exterior painting in winter. The only other thing to mention is safety, particularly if you’re working at a height. Ladders set on wet grass can slip. Equally, cold, wet ladder treads can be difficult to grip with cold hands. Safety is important at any time of the year, but especially in winter, so take extra care.

Mike Cupit, Decorators Forum UK. For more decorating tips please head to

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