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Painting When It’s Humid

What is humidity?

Have you ever hung clothes out on a particularly humid day, only to come back hours later to discover they’re still damp? Just as clothes take longer to dry in humid conditions, so does paint. The more water vapor in the air (AKA humidity), the longer it will take to dry. For your paint to perform correctly and dry to a beautiful, smooth finish, water in the paint needs to evaporate quicker than the solvents; therefore, it’s best to paint on a not-so-humid day.

Why is Humidity a Problem?

Painting in a highly humid environment can cause problems with the integrity of the coating you are using. For example, if paint is applied at a lower temperature in high humidity, it can produce condensation on the paint, causing it to lift or not adhere properly to the surface. Paint professionals will tell you that optimal humidity levels are in the 40- to 50-percent humidity range. When you live near the ocean, days with those perfect conditions can be few and far between.

Our Paint Shop experts strongly discourage anyone from painting when a home’s relative humidity level is above 85 percent. In those conditions, the paint will remain tacky until the humidity lowers enough for the paint to cure. This could lead to discoloured patches on your walls.

Some Solutions

Here are some ways to create the perfect painting conditions inside your home, regardless of the humidity outside.

  1. Get a dehumidifier and run it for a day or two before you plan to paint. This will remove a great deal of moisture from the house’s atmosphere. If you have a mini split heat pump, it may already come equipped with a dehumidifier.
  2. Open windows to create a draft or run a fan.
  3. Raise the temperature with a space heater.
  4. Purchase a humidity gauge (approx. $7.99). This will provide you with the most accurate humidity measurement inside your home and produce optimum painting results.

Listen for more advice from Ian Callaghan, our Benjamin Moore Territory Rep had to say:


We’re here to help! As always, for the best advice and the right products to make sure your paint project is a success, head to your nearest Paint Shop, we’re here to help!