Rain on House Paint and What to do

Posted on August 12, 2019

Exterior paint jobs can be difficult to plan with unpredictable weather conditions. If rain threatens your painting project, what do you do? Once the storm passes, how long until you can resume? Don’t fret, our experts have been through it all and offer their advice for what to do with rain on house paint.

Can you paint in the rain?

The short answer is no. If you contractor offers options to work in the rain, run. Moisture on the walls and in the paint will ruin a job. Companies have practices where they dry the walls and paint in a downpour. Sound shady? It is. The company probably won’t tell you this will void the warranty on the paint. Others switch from latex to oil-based paints. In theory, the oil-based paints won’t run off the wall, but down the road, you’ll be looking at a cracking and peeling mess.

The rain ended. When can I paint?

This answer is complicated. More than the rain, it’s important to look at the moisture in the air. Wind, dew, temperature and humidity all play factors. More often than not, paint can withstand a light shower 4 hours after it’s applied. It gets more complicated when you are dealing with eaves and gutters, where more rain could rush along the new paint.

Drying time can be affected by dew points, dark colors and cooler temperatures. Warmth and air movement are important during the drying of the paint.

If the temperature in your area is not at least 5 degrees above the dew point, your paint dry time will be slower. Moisture could collect on newly painted surfaces and delay the drying process, or worse, cause flaws in the paint film.

What temperature is best to paint?

Light breeze, sunny and 74 degrees. Since most painters aren’t dealing with perfect conditions, realistically, the temperature should be comfortable enough to work in. In addition, no precipitation and a morning dew that burns off quickly are best.

I checked the weather, and it rained anyway. Now what?

Rest assured, your paint is not ruined. Take a deep breath and go through your options.

First, stop painting. Doing any more work is just wasted effort.

Now, look over your paint job. Are there areas that will be touched by rain. Run off or blowing rain drops can make a mess. If it’s just an area that has been skim coated or primed, you’re probably safe. It’s more concerning if it’s raining on a coat of paint. Do your best to protect it with draped plastic. If the rain does get to the paint, let it fall and do what you can to deal with it later. You cannot win a fight with Mother Nature.

Assess the damage

Once the rain has stopped, go look at your work. If it’s been ruined or run, wash it down with water. Remove drips with a pressure washer. Let it dry completely and start again.

If you have dried drips to deal with, go to the store for Krud Kutter. It will cut through the drips and allow you a fresh, flat surface to work with.


Dealing with weather is inevitable during paint jobs. If you are in the middle of a breakdown over paint and rain, take a deep breath. A company will come back and get your job done in tip-top shape. If you are doing the work yourself, there are experts available to help you.