What I'm Seeing Now


"It's Too Cold To Paint..."

"It's too cold to paint..."

Paint has a particular chemistry - indoor and outdoor paint.  It has temperature and humidity parameters that must be met or it will not adhere or last.

I arrived at a home inspection early, as I am wont to do, to see a work truck in the driveway, the garage doors open, and a painter inside the garage painting the walls.

The temperature outdoors was 40F.  FYI - that's too cold to paint!

Approaching the painter I said, "It's too cold to paint..."

He kind of spoke English, but pretended not to understand me.

So I told the "professional" painter the same thing in his language.

He looked shocked (they always do when I speak to them with very correct grammar and adult phraseology).

Picking up one of the cans I took out my pen and circled the instructions on the label.

Showing him I asked if he knew what that meant.  Of course not.  Had he read the label?  Not likely.

Showing him what the Spanish part of the instructions also showed, I said the temperature was under 50F, and paint should not be applied.

He disagreed.  It was warm enough!

So I got Mighty Mo, turned him on, and showed the painting "professional" what a thermal image with a temperature gage looks like.

He did not know such a tool existed.  Or course not.

So I told him I had just taken a photograph of the temperature on the wall beside the garage door where he was painting and had just proved  to my clients that the wall was too cold to paint.

The look on his face said he knew he was busted.  It made me think he already knew it was too cold.  But he wanted his money and painted anyway.  Certainly he did not know we were showing up.  Like I said, busted.

Paint sticks because it has a surfactant in it.  The surfactant is made for the particular paint that is being applied onto a particular surface.

What does the surfactant do?  It dries along with the paint, and holds the chemistry together.  If it is too cold to paint the surfactant leaches out, and the paint doesn't adhere and will eventually peel.

My recommendation:   home inspectors know things!  I see paint applied when it's too cold all the time.  The Golden Rule seems no longer to exist.  Would a painter paint his own house when it's too cold?  I bet not.  But if paid to paint somebody's house all rules often seem to fly out the window.  Hire a home inspector!  He will be on your side.



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 12 commentsJay Markanich • January 30 2017 10:12AM
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