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Exterior Painting in the Winter: A Challenge Mastered

November 30, 2023


With Cochran & Mann's expert project management and advanced exterior paint products, your exterior painting project doesn't need to wait for Spring.

As temperatures drop in the Mid-Atlantic region, exterior painting projects often come to a halt. However, at Cochran & Mann, we leverage over 30 years of expertise in commercial painting to give our clients the best results - no matter the season.

Leveraging the top products, techniques, and planning, the Cochran & Mann team delivers exceptional painting and wall-covering services for commercial properties. These include shopping centers, multifamily residential properties, industrial buildings, and retail spaces.

This blog post discusses the winter season's challenges for exterior commercial painting. We then showcase the best products from our trusted vendors, Sherwin Williams, PPG Paints, McCormick Paints, and Benjamin Moore, for late-season exterior painting.

Challenge #1: Low Temperatures

The winter in the Mid-Atlantic region presents two significant challenges: moisture and temperature. Temperature is a crucial factor affecting paint thickness and the curing process. Cold temperatures slow down paint curing, leading to uneven results.

Acrylic latex paint, in particular, struggles in the cold as its particles harden, resulting in wasted efforts. Thickening paint and even spray paint can also pose application problems and might freeze and delaminate in cold conditions.

More troublesome than cold weather is abrupt temperature shifts. While exterior painters leverage the noon-day sun, the fluctuations in temperature once the sun sets are our biggest concern.

Paint doesn't fare well with rapid cooling. As the day turns to night, the fresh coating dries unevenly, causing issues with its curing process. Inconsistent curing results in paint blistering and peeling, preventing the paint from properly adhering to the intended surface.

Challenge #2: Moisture

Moisture presents the second significant challenge for painting in winter. Rain and frost consistently pose issues in this region. Exterior painters must take extra precautions to minimize moisture and allow the paint to cure throughout the year naturally. Controlling the exposure to moisture during winter is even more difficult.

The winter months in Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia often bring light rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow. This moisture exposure interacts with exterior paint application, resulting in unsightly outcomes. Dampness and condensation contribute to discoloration and a blotchy appearance, potentially ruining the outdoor paintwork. 

Combine near 32° F temperatures with condensation, and we have a recipe for disaster. The water expands and contracts the interaction with paint, leading to discoloration and improper drying.


Trust the Experts for Exterior Painting in the Winter

At Cochran & Mann, we work with your production schedule to complete your exterior painting project - no matter the season. While there are benefits to coordinating exterior paint applications for warmer, more consistent weather, our product partners at Sherwin Williams, PPG, McCormick Paints, and Benjamin Moore, have used the latest technology to combat the elements. 

Sherwin Williams 

Sherwin Williams has invested time and research into the late-season exterior painting product market. Rick Watson, Director of Product Information & Technical Services at Sherwin-Williams, stated in PPC magazine, “A common mistake is to paint when daytime temperatures rise above 50° F and nighttime temperatures drop below 35° F. Even though the temperature may be acceptable at the time of application, the paint can stop coalescing, or melting together, when the temperature drops.”

Sherwin-Williams’ advice? Use a paint made for painting at 35° F that’s resistant to moisture and dries 50 percent faster. That product line is called Resilience®.

Sherwin-Williams has also extended their low-temperature application formula to their other exterior paint lines to still perform at temperatures down to 35° F, including Emerald®, Duration®, SuperPaint®, and A-100®.


If we were to name a city that is familiar with the type of winters we experience in the Mid-Atlantic, Pittsburgh is high on the list. Headquartered in the "City of Bridges," PPG's low-temperature exterior paint solution line is Permanizer. This product helps to extend the painting season with application at temperatures as low as 35°F and also provides excellent early moisture resistance.

Another PPG exterior commercial paint product standout id their Weather King Exterior Latex paint.  This line is favorable due to its low-temperature application capability, allowing work to proceed in colder conditions.

McCormick Paints

A great tip from McCormick Paint product experts is to check your substrate temperature before painting with the use of an infrared temperature sensor. Just because the air outside is compatible with exterior commercial paint application, doesn't mean your surface is warm enough. 

For low-temperature commercial painting, McCormick Paints recommends their Generation LX line. Their product is formulated to be applied in temperatures as low as 35°F (1.7°C) and is engineered to resist cracking and peeling, providing long-lasting protection to exterior surfaces.

Benjamin Moore

“Extend your workday and the painting season” is music to a commercial exterior painter’s ears, and it’s also the tagline for Benjamin Moore’s Element Guard® line of exterior paints. This product performs in weather conditions and is specially engineered to combat high moisture. 

Benjamin Moore’s Element Guard® can withstand the elements with a quick dry time if applied 60 minutes before rainfall. While other competitor paints may blister in the same conditions, Benjamin Moore’s product maintains its finish quality.   

The Cochran & Mann Advantage:

The mastery of low-temperature and high-moisture challenges is a testament to the quality of the products and processes used by Cochran & Mann. Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore have proven their worth in providing paints beyond aesthetics, offering durability and resilience even in adverse conditions. 

Cochran & Mann takes pride in utilizing these high-quality products and working with your production team to ensure your projects achieve the best outcome regardless of weather.

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