Exterior Painting How Long to Wait After Rain

Exterior Painting How Long to Wait After Rain? (You’ll Be Surprised!)

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By Jason The Painter

Are you planning to paint the exterior of your house? One important factor to consider is the weather, especially rain. Waiting for the right conditions after rain is crucial to ensure a successful and long-lasting paint job. In this article, we will discuss the optimal time frame to wait after rain before starting your exterior painting project. By following these guidelines, you can achieve a beautiful and durable paint finish that will enhance the appearance and protection of your home.

The Impact of Rain on Exterior Paint

When it comes to exterior painting, rain can have a significant impact on the final outcome and durability of the paint job. Rainfall can damage freshly painted surfaces and affect the adhesion and drying process of the paint. It’s crucial to understand how rain can affect your exterior paint job to ensure a long-lasting and high-quality finish.

1. Washout Effect: Rainwater can wash away the wet paint, causing streaks and uneven coverage. This can result in a patchy appearance and require touch-ups or even complete repainting if the damage is severe.

2. Moisture Trapped Underneath: If it rains shortly after you’ve painted, the water can get trapped underneath the paint film. This trapped moisture can lead to blistering, bubbling, or peeling of the paint over time. It’s important to allow the paint to dry completely before any rain exposure to prevent moisture-related issues.

3. Extended Drying Time: Rainy weather can increase the drying time of exterior paint. The presence of moisture in the air slows down the evaporation process, which means the paint will take longer to dry. This prolonged drying time can delay subsequent coats, prolong the overall painting project, and increase the risk of accidental damage to the fresh paint.

4. Reduced Adhesion: Rain can interfere with the proper adhesion of paint to the surface. Water on the surface can prevent the paint from effectively bonding, leading to a weaker adhesion and decreased durability. This can make the paint more prone to chipping, cracking, or peeling in the future.

Considering these potential issues, it’s recommended to avoid painting exteriors shortly before or during rainy periods. Ideally, you should wait for at least 24 to 48 hours of dry weather after rain before starting or resuming an exterior painting project. This waiting period allows the surface to dry thoroughly and ensures optimal adhesion and drying of the paint.

Factors Affecting Drying Time after Rain

Several factors can influence the drying time of exterior paint after rain. It is essential to consider these factors to ensure the paint has fully dried before proceeding with any additional work or exposing it to potential damage.

1. Type of Paint

The type of paint used can significantly impact the drying time after rain. Different paint formulations and compositions have varying drying characteristics. Some paints are specifically designed to dry faster, while others may take longer. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific type of paint being used.

2. Paint Thickness

The thickness of the paint layer can also affect the drying time. Thicker layers of paint will take longer to dry compared to thinner coats. It is crucial to apply paint in thin, even layers to expedite the drying process and minimize the risk of prolonged drying times.

3. Temperature and Humidity

Weather conditions, especially temperature and humidity levels, play a vital role in the drying time after rain. Higher temperatures and lower humidity levels generally promote faster drying, while cooler temperatures and higher humidity can delay the drying process. It is advisable to paint during optimal weather conditions to ensure the paint dries efficiently.

4. Ventilation

Proper ventilation is essential for drying the paint quickly after rain. Good airflow helps evaporate the moisture from the paint surface, expediting the drying process. Adequate ventilation can be achieved by opening windows, using fans, or positioning dehumidifiers near the painted area.

5. Surface Porosity

The porosity of the surface being painted can also impact the drying time. Porous surfaces, such as untreated wood or masonry, may absorb more moisture from rain, leading to longer drying times. It is crucial to evaluate the porosity of the surface and take appropriate measures, such as applying a primer or sealing the surface, to facilitate faster drying.

By considering these factors, homeowners and painters can make informed decisions about the appropriate waiting time after rain before proceeding with exterior painting, ensuring the paint is fully dried and ready to withstand future weather conditions.

When it comes to exterior painting projects, it’s crucial to consider the weather conditions, particularly after rain. Waiting for the right amount of time after rain ensures that the surface is properly dried and ready for painting. While the exact wait time can vary depending on various factors, such as humidity levels, temperature, and the type of paint being used, there are some general guidelines to follow. By adhering to these recommendations, you can achieve the best results for your exterior painting project.

The wait time after rain for exterior painting can be influenced by several factors:

  • Humidity Levels: High humidity can slow down the drying process. If the air is too humid, it’s advisable to wait longer before painting.
  • Temperature: Cooler temperatures can prolong the drying time. It’s important to remember that the surface needs to be completely dry before applying paint.
  • Type of Paint: Different types of paint have varying drying times. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the specific wait time for the paint you are using.
  • Surface Material: The type of surface being painted can also affect the drying time. Porous surfaces might require more time to dry compared to non-porous ones.

General Recommendations

While the exact wait time after rain may vary, it is generally recommended to wait at least 24 to 48 hours before painting exterior surfaces. This allows sufficient time for the moisture to evaporate and the surface to dry completely. However, in areas with high humidity or cooler temperatures, it might be necessary to wait longer.

It’s crucial to assess the surface before proceeding with painting. You can perform a simple “splash test” to determine if the surface is ready. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the surface and observe how it behaves. If the water droplets are absorbed or darken the surface, it is not yet dry enough for painting. However, if the water beads up or rolls off, it’s a good indication that the surface is adequately dried and ready for painting.

By following these recommendations and taking into account the specific conditions of your location, you can ensure a successful exterior painting project with long-lasting results.

Remember, proper preparation and patience are key when it comes to exterior painting after rain. Rushing into painting too soon can lead to paint failure, uneven finishes, and wasted time and effort.

Techniques to Speed Up Drying Time after Rain

While waiting for the exterior paint to dry after rain can be frustrating, there are several techniques you can utilize to speed up the drying process. These methods can help ensure that your paint job is not delayed for an extended period:

1. Use Fans or Air Blowers

One effective way to speed up the drying time after rain is by using fans or air blowers. Positioning these devices strategically can help circulate air and remove moisture from the painted surface. Make sure to set up the fans or blowers in a way that directs airflow towards the wet areas.

2. Increase Ventilation

Improving ventilation in the painted area can also aid in drying the paint faster. Open windows and doors to allow fresh air to enter the space. If possible, use exhaust fans or create cross-ventilation by opening windows on opposite sides of the room. This increased airflow will help evaporate the moisture and speed up the drying process.

3. Utilize Dehumidifiers

Dehumidifiers are useful devices that can extract excess moisture from the air, aiding in the drying process. Place a dehumidifier near the painted surface to reduce humidity levels in the area. This will help expedite the evaporation of water from the paint, allowing it to dry more quickly.

4. Apply Heat

Applying heat to the painted surface can help accelerate the drying time. However, exercise caution when using heat sources such as hairdryers or heat guns, as excessive heat can cause paint bubbles or other damage. Use a low heat setting and keep the heat source moving to avoid overheating specific areas.

By employing these techniques, you can minimize the waiting time after rain and ensure that your exterior paint dries efficiently. Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consult a professional if you have any concerns.

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Painting after Rain

While it’s important to know how long to wait after rain before starting your exterior painting project, it’s equally crucial to be aware of common mistakes that can compromise the quality of your paint job. By avoiding these errors, you can ensure a smooth and long-lasting finish.

  1. Not checking the weather forecast: Even if it hasn’t rained recently, it’s essential to check the weather forecast before you begin painting. Sudden rain showers can ruin your freshly painted surface and force you to start all over again.
  2. Painting on wet surfaces: Never paint on a wet surface, whether it’s from rain or high humidity. Moisture can prevent the paint from adhering properly and lead to peeling or bubbling in the future. Make sure the surface is completely dry before you start painting.
  3. Ignoring water stains: If there are visible water stains or damage on the surface you plan to paint, it’s crucial to address them first. Simply painting over them will not solve the underlying issue and may result in further damage down the line.
  4. Skipping surface preparation: Proper surface preparation is key to achieving a professional-looking paint job. Don’t skip steps like cleaning, sanding, or priming the surface, as they play a vital role in paint adhesion and durability. Rushing through this process can lead to unsatisfactory results.
  5. Over-applying paint: Applying too much paint in one coat can lead to drips, runs, and an uneven finish. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the recommended coverage and apply multiple thin coats if necessary. This approach will ensure a smoother and more uniform appearance.
  6. Not allowing sufficient drying time: Patience is key when it comes to allowing paint to dry. Rushing to apply a second coat or removing protective coverings too soon can damage the fresh paint. Always follow the recommended drying times provided by the paint manufacturer.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can enhance the longevity and overall quality of your exterior paint job, even after rain.


In conclusion, the appropriate waiting time after rain before starting or resuming exterior painting can vary depending on several factors. As discussed throughout the article, factors such as humidity, temperature, and the type of paint being used all play a role in the drying time. It is generally recommended to wait for at least 24-48 hours after rain, ensuring that the surface is completely dry and moisture-free. However, it is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consider local weather conditions for the most accurate guidance. Taking the necessary precautions and allowing sufficient drying time will help ensure a successful and long-lasting exterior paint job.


Deciding when to paint your house’s exterior can be tricky when battling unpredictable weather forecasts. If you’re wondering “How soon can you paint after it rains?” or “Can I paint right after it rains?”, we’ve got the answer for you. This guide assists in navigating post-rain painting, when to hold off on painting outside, and the best time to pull out the paintbrush.

Can I paint right after it rains?

The answer, according to Behr, is no. Painting right after rain might prevent the paint from adhering properly to the surface. Moisture is an enemy to fresh paint, making it essential to wait until your external walls are bone dry.

When should you not paint outside?

Sunny days are ideal for a paint job, but when should you absolutely not paint outside? Glidden advises avoiding a fresh paint job when it’s raining, snowing, foggy, or when humidity levels are high. Temperature matters too—extremely hot or cold conditions can interfere with proper paint drying.

What is the best time to paint house exterior?

Determining the best time to paint your house exterior largely depends on your local climate. Benjamin Moore suggests late spring or early fall as the safest bet for most regions, when temperatures are moderate and humidity is low.

What happens if you paint over wet?

According to Real Homes, painting over a wet surface or wet paint can lead to streaks, pits, or peeling in the final finish—a look no homeowner wants. Always allow sufficient dry time before repainting to ensure a smooth and long-lasting finish.

How long does Sherwin Williams paint take to dry before rain?

Each paint brand and type has a different drying time. Sherwin-Williams recommends allowing its premium exterior paint products at least an hour to dry before rain hits, but suggests that 4 hours is the ideal window for optimal results.

Seeking shelter from the rain for your outdoor painting project is as much about great timing as it is about color selection. Whether the forecast is post-shower sunshine or sudden storms, make sure to be prepared. By following these tips, you’ll ensure your fresh coat of paint stands the test of time, come rain or shine.

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