Technology Tips from the Paint Lab: Chill in the Air Can Drive a Paint to Craze

From D+D Online, December 2010

by V.C. “Bud” Jenkins

The label on most water-borne house paints usually says something like, “Don’t apply when the weather is below 50° F.” So as a rule, the painter will wait until the day reaches 50° F and begin to paint the house or wall....
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Tagged categories: Coating failure; Coatings Technology; Cracking; Performance testing

Comment from larry De Hut, (12/22/2010, 12:02 PM)

Great imformation and just in time I have a client that has been trying to get us to paint there house. Its averaging40 and raining every oyer day. Know they can read this to verafi that I was telling them this for over a month. Thanks.

Comment from Michael EDISON, (12/22/2010, 5:27 PM)

Good information. In addition, the storage temperature of the paint can have a big effect in marginal weather. If the paint is stored at room temperature until just before use, it may be able to coalesce on a marginally cold wall.

Comment from Bill Connor Jr., (12/23/2010, 12:02 AM)

Some Paint manufacturers are producing exterior products utilizing glycols that are rated down to 38 degrees. Kelly Moore is one and I believe Sherwin-Williams also offers such products. However, I don't think that they have a Semi-Gloss that goes that low.

Comment from Kenneth Karpowicz, (12/29/2010, 9:08 AM)

I think BM's Exterior Aura line can be used at the colder temperatures but two questions: why take the chance and do you really want to paint outside at that temperature? Below 55 degrees you're using a good amount of body energy just trying to stay warm.

Comment from George DuPont, (3/8/2012, 10:12 AM)

Can this effect occur with 2 component solvent based urethanes? Recently had a problem on a job that looks just like this.

Comment from Barbara Jacobs, (3/10/2012, 9:12 AM)

Thanks for the timely details and excellent information. On the less serious side, I suppose that one could use the cold-weather paint technique to create an antique 'alligatored' effect. (usually not desired!)

Comment from VCBud Jenkins, (3/12/2012, 8:35 AM)

Answering George: The degree of cracking due to an uncoalesced acrylic emulsion sometimes looks like a wrinkle, depending on how borderline the temperature is to the glass transition temperature (Tg). Probably your solvent based urethane is undergoing a wrinkle due to a mismatch of solvents used in thinning it and the weather conditions. The surface skins over, usually due to too thick of a coating and too hot of a temperature, probably in the direct sunlight, and traps solvents below that don't have a good evaporation rate lineup, causing a moveable base while the surface cures and shrinks, pulling the surface into a wrinkle finish. The cure is to put the coating on thinner and use a tail solvent if you have to paint in direct sunlight.

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