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Painting in cold weather can be quite difficult since most exterior paints are supposed to be applied when they’re around room temperature. However, many companies have developed low-temperature, moisture-resistant paint to apply during the winter months. Choosing the right type of paint can help out quite a bit.
The best exterior paint for cold weather is the Heirloom Traditions All-in-One Paint because it’s made of a mixture of water-based acrylic and oil paints. This formula doesn’t require sanding or topcoats, helping it dry within a couple of hours. It also naturally expands with the temperature.
You might also try these cold-weather exterior paints:
- For high humidity, get the Rust-Oleum PermaWhite Paint
- To save a bit of money, opt for the Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch
- The best eco-friendly paint is the Montage Signature Paint
- For a paint-primer combo, grab the Prestige Paints Paint & Primer
- To prevent rust, try the Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel Paint
- If you prefer chalk paint, get THE ONE Paint & Primer
In this post, we’ll cover all of the best exterior paints for cold weather, as well as what you should look for when shopping for one. Enjoy!
Best Overall: Heirloom Traditions All-in-One Paint
The Heirloom Traditions All-in-One Paint is the best overall exterior paint for cold weather because it can be applied on almost any surface. You can use it on wood, metal, vinyl, leather, and more. It quickly expands and contracts with the painted material, making it ideal for climates that rapidly fluctuate between cold and warm temperatures.
This paint comes in numerous sizes ranging from 8 ounces to 128 ounces (237 ml to 3.79 liters). It’s available in a vast array of colors, such as Capri, peony, and oyster. The matte finish looks great under any light, including overcast winter days. Clean the surface, apply the paint, and you’re all set. There’s no need for sanding, texturing, or priming.
|Oil and water-based acrylic
|35 to 500 square feet (3.25-46 square meters)
- There’s no need to sand or prime with this paint.
- It comes in plenty of sizes and colors to match any exterior paint color.
- This paint expands with ever-changing temperatures.
- You can use it indoors or outdoors.
- The curing time is slightly longer than other exterior paints.
Best for High Humidity: Rust-Oleum PermaWhite Paint
Is there always a lot of humidity where you live? This can often strain and degrade the paint. However, the Rust-Oleum PermaWhite Paint is specifically designed to withstand high levels of humidity and rain. One coat is enough to keep your home in good condition, even if you’re using it on wood or metal.
This acrylic paint has a five-year mold and mildew warranty. The company offers replacements for homes that develop either contaminant within that timespan. However, it typically prevents mold and mildew much longer than the warranty period. The self-priming formula doesn’t require a pre-coat, either.
|150 square feet (14 square meters)
- This paint prevents rust, mold, and mildew.
- You can apply it in humid environments without application issues.
- It can be used down to 35 degrees Fahrenheit (1.67 degrees Celsius).
- It’s much more affordable than most exterior paints.
- The long curing time can be difficult for those who want to add a topcoat (though they’re rarely necessary).
Best Budget-Friendly Exterior Paint: Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Paint
The Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Paint proves you don’t need to spend a lot of money for a successful cold-weather paint job. It comes in two sizes: one quart (946 ml) and eight ounces (237 ml). There are more than enough colors to choose from, so you shouldn’t have any issues matching your exterior paint code.
Much like all other Rust-Oleum sprays and paints, this paint is quite resistant to rust and corrosion. It’s also non-toxic, which means it doesn’t release a lot of volatile organic compounds. Furthermore, it dries within 30 minutes, making it perfect for homes that need multiple coats. It also doesn’t chip or degrade from hot or cold temperatures.
|Enamel and acrylic
|24 hours (30-minute dry time)
|120 square feet (11 square meters)
- It applies and dries much quicker than most exterior paints.
- It’s the most budget-friendly option available without risking its quality.
- Each tub of paint treats up to 120 square feet (11 square meters).
- This exterior paint requires a primer.
- You have to sand and wash the surface beforehand.
Best Eco-Friendly Paint: Montage Signature Interior/Exterior Paint
Paint is often criticized for being bad for the environment. Most paints release VOCs and other contaminants that are harmful to breathe. Try the Montage Signature Exterior Paint if you want water-based, eco-friendly paint. It also doesn’t release those strong paint odors that smell toxic and make your skin itch.
This high-end paint comes in one-gallon and five-gallon sizes. You can also choose between various colors that come in low-sheen and semi-gloss variants. It’s mixed with latex to make it one of the most durable exterior paints on the market. Rain, humidity, snow, and dew won’t be able to damage or chip this paint.
|72 hours (30 minutes dry time)
|100 to 500 square feet (9 to 46 square meters)
- This paint comes with a 10-year manufacturer warranty.
- It’s available in five-gallon (19 liters)tubs, which is much more than most exterior paint.
- The latex in this paint makes it wick away moisture very quickly.
- It won’t crack or tear in cold weather.
- It’s one of the most expensive cold-weather outdoor paints.
- The complete curing time is about three times longer than some acrylic paints.
Best Paint & Primer Combo: Prestige Paints Paint & Primer
Adding primer before painting can take a long time, especially if it’s cold outside. Most primers take several hours to cure. However, you can use the Prestige Paints Paint & Primer to skip the priming process. It’s one of the most diverse exterior paints because it comes in several colors and gloss varieties.
This low-VOC paint doesn’t add toxins to the surrounding area, nor doesn’t it take a long time to clean up. You can use warm water and soap to scrub away excess paint before it cures. Once the curing process finishes, this paint withstands humidity, rust, cold temperatures, mold, and mildew.
|250 square feet (23 square meters)
- There’s no need for primer when using this paint.
- It’s designed for most climates, including colder temperatures.
- It flexes and expands with shifting wood or metal.
- You can use this paint indoors or outdoors.
- It’s only available in one size (one gallon).
Best for Rust Prevention: Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel Paint
While all Rust-Oleum paints are designed to resist rust, the Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel Paint is the top choice for people living near a lot of rain. If you’re painting anything metal outside, this paint should be near the top of your list. Almost all types of metal used on houses, decks, and exterior fixtures can rust.
You can choose between eight ounces to one quart of paint. They also offer various colors and shades, including burgundy, dark hunter green, and more. You can use any variety of wood, metal, concrete, and many other surfaces. It’s made out of a mixture of oil and enamel, which is extremely resistant to changing weather conditions.
|90 square feet (8 square meters)
- This paint is resistant to cold weather and rain.
- You don’t need to use a primer or multiple coats for most exterior applications.
- It dries in as little as two hours after painting.
- You’ll likely need multiple buckets since one only covers 90 square feet (8 square meters).
Best Chalk-Based Paint: THE ONE Paint & Primer
Chalk-based paint is good for colder temperatures because it doesn’t get brittle or crack. THE ONE Paint & Primer is a combination of paint that dries quickly. It can be used inside or outside, and it comes in an 8.5-ounce (251 ml) container and a 33.8-ounce (999 ml) container. Furthermore, you only need one coat (no topcoat necessary!).
This low-VOC paint is eco-friendly and toxin-free. You can use it to paint fences, houses, barns, decks, furniture, and more. The chalk in this paint & primer combo prevents moisture from stripping the paint.
|500 square feet (46 square meters)
- There’s no need for multiple coats or a primer.
- One liter covers much more square footage than any other exterior paint on the list.
- It doesn’t release VOCs or toxins into the air.
- This thick paint can get quite messy since the chalk makes it heavier than most alternatives.
What To Look for When Buying Cold-Weather Exterior Paint
While almost all paint thrives in moderate temperatures, some types of paint can withstand colder weather conditions. If you’re determined to paint your house, barn, deck, or anything else outside, it’s important to know what to look for.
Here’s a quick list of the three most important traits of cold-weather paint:
- Type of Paint: This is determined by the materials used to make the paint. Some paints last a lot longer than others in various weather conditions (including temperature, humidity, wind, etc.).
- Water Resistance: A paint’s water resistance typically refers to how well it handles rain and snow, but it also impacts its ability to withstand high levels of humidity, spills, etc.).
- Curing Time: How long does it take for the paint to cure? Some paints cure a lot slower when it’s cold outside, especially oil-based paints.
Once you’ve thoroughly reviewed all of these details in our buyer’s guide below, you can determine which paint is best for your exterior projects.
Type of Paint
There are many different types of paint designed for your home’s exterior. However, only a handful of them works in cold weather. Here’s a brief list:
- Acrylic exterior paint works well down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius), sometimes less. It’s best to paint with acrylic formulas when the day is at its hottest.
- Chalk-based exterior paint takes a long time to dry in cold weather. However, it’s extremely resistant to cracking from lower temperatures, moisture, and so on.
- Water-based paint dries faster than most exterior paints. It also prevents rust, and it’s much better for the surrounding environment. It doesn’t put off nearly as many VOCs (volatile organic compounds) as other types of paint.
- Enamel paint is quite durable and moisture-resistant. It also dries quicker in cold temperatures compared to chalk paint and acrylic paint.
- Oil-based paints aren’t the best for cold outdoor painting projects. That being said, mixing them with other types of paints can improve durability.
If you want to paint anything outside, it needs to be weather-resistant. According to Robinson Painting, you shouldn’t paint exterior projects unless it’s above 35 degrees Fahrenheit (1.67 Celsius) during the coldest part of the night.
Almost all modern exterior paints do fine in cold weather. The application process is the greatest challenge. Regardless of which paint you choose, there’s a very slim chance that you’ll be able to apply it if it’s below freezing outside.
One of the best ways to get high-end exterior paint for cold weather is to choose one that resists moisture. Condensation, dew, and rain can freeze and make it impossible to paint your home’s exterior. On the bright side, all of the paints mentioned above work well in humid climates.
Exterior paint typically dries quicker than interior paint because it can’t get too hot or wet. Franklin Painting suggests getting an exterior paint that can cure within a three-hour timeframe and within the aforementioned 35-degree (or more) temperature range.
Water-based paint is often an excellent choice for exterior painting projects in cold weather because it can dry in as little as 30 minutes (though they take just as long as other paints to cure completely). Some water-based paints can dry in two hours, all of which need to be above-freezing temperatures.