Can You Paint When It Rains? (What You Need To Know)

Painting your house can be an overwhelming experience, and the unpredictable nature of the weather can add to the stress. This uncertainty leads many to wonder whether you can paint when it rains. 

Keep reading to find out what to do if rain is in the forecast while tackling this big project. 

Rain and Painted Cement

In an ideal world, you would simply avoid painting your house if there's any rain in the forecast, but that's not always realistic, and the weather can change in the blink of an eye.

It's possible to continue working, but there are a few things you have to consider to make sure your project doesn’t get ruined. 

Is The Surface Still Wet? 

Paint won’t stick properly to a wet surface, so it’s important to make sure that the house has fully dried before you start to paint. Luckily, rain doesn’t typically soak too deep into the house's exterior, so even if it rains in the morning, you should be able to start painting a few hours later. 

If you’re unsure, try the sidewalk test. If your sidewalks are completely dry, the siding of your house likely is as well. 

Will Paint Dry When It Rains? 

The short answer: Probably. Even if it rains pretty soon after you’ve painted the house's exterior siding, it should be alright. 

Modern paint dries pretty quickly – in about two hours – and the eaves and awnings on the house should also provide some protection from the rain. 

If the rain does cause any streaks in your paint, you should be able to spot-treat it once it’s dry again. 

Can You Paint Wood In The Rain? 

You definitely can’t paint wet wood. But you can tackle a wood spray painting project within a few hours of the rain. 

If it’s in direct sunlight, the wood should be dry enough to paint in about four hours if you need to paint it that soon. But if you can, it’s best to try and wait a whole day to be sure that all the moisture is gone. 

So When Can You Paint Outside In The Rain? 

You can’t paint the exterior of your home while it’s actively raining, and there’s no way around that. But you don’t necessarily have to cancel your entire project when you see rain in the forecast. 


  • Make sure the surface you’re painting has sufficiently dried before you start painting. 
  • Plan to finish painting at least four hours (but ideally a full day) before it’s supposed to start raining again. 


  • Paint a wet surface – the paint won’t stick! 
  • Let it rain on fresh paint if you can avoid it. You don’t want to repaint the whole thing because it’s gotten streaky! 

Can You Paint Inside When It's Raining Outside? 

Yes, rain shouldn’t make it impossible to paint the walls inside of your house. But there are a few things to take into consideration. 

Proper ventilation is essential when painting indoors, and open windows are a common solution. But if it’s raining outside, you need to be careful. 

You may be able to open windows for ventilation to paint while it's raining inside; just make sure that the water doesn't splatter through the window or screen and onto the surface you're painting. Another option is to use fans to circulate the air while keeping the windows closed. 

You’ll also need to consider the increased humidity when it rains. 

How Does Humidity Affect Indoor Painting? 

The humidity caused by a rainy day can make paint take longer to dry, even inside the house. In addition, humidity increases the moisture in the air and on the painted surfaces, which will ultimately affect the paint job. 

Too much humidity can damage the paint, so you should avoid painting when it’s higher than 85% humidity, but some humidity is necessary for the drying process. The optimal painting humidity is somewhere between 40% and 50%.  

What Type Of Paint Should You Use Inside When It’s Raining? 

For indoor and outdoor painting on a rainy day, avoid using oil paints. Water can ruin an oil paint job quickly. Try using latex paint instead, as it’s safe to use on wet surfaces. 

How Long Will Paint Take To Dry Inside The House When It’s Raining Outside? 

Expect longer drying times if you’re going to paint inside on a rainy day. The moisture has to evaporate for the paint to dry, and humidity makes that process more difficult. So the more humid it is, the longer your paint will take to dry. 

Can You Paint Outdoors After The Rain? 

Yes, you can paint the outside of your house after it rains – possibly even later that day, depending on the weather! Direct sunlight will help dry the house's siding more quickly, and you should be able to paint the house after a few hours of direct sunlight. 

Remember the sidewalk trick – if your sidewalks are completely dry, the exterior of your house should be too. 

But be careful not to paint a damp exterior wall. Too much moisture will prevent the paint from adhering properly, and you could end up with a streaky or bubbly finish. 

It’s essential to ensure that whatever surface you’re painting – whether siding or wood – is sufficiently dry before you begin painting to provide a high-quality paint job. 

Make sure you keep an eye on the forecast because if it rains too soon after you paint the house, your entire effort could be for nothing. While paint dries relatively quickly and the eaves and awnings of the house should provide some protection, you could end up with streaks. 

Try to plan around the rain as best you can – it’s best to let the paint dry for at least a day, but it may be able to withstand the rain after about four hours. 

Red Paint with Brush

Painting When It Rains FAQs 

What is the best weather to paint outside? 

It’s best to paint outside in warm weather, and the key is making sure that it doesn’t get too cold at night.

According to Rico de Paz, who oversees paint tests for Consumer Reports, it’s best to paint when it’s over 50 degrees during the day and over 32 degrees at night. 

How do you fix A rained-upon recently painted surface? 

It will likely be streaky if you encounter rain on a recently painted surface.

Depending on the severity, you may be able just to spot treat and paint over any streaks. But if the rain does too much damage, you may have to repaint the entire surface.  

Can you spray paint when it’s raining? 

No, it would be best if you did not spray paint when it's raining. The moisture will prevent the paint from adhering to the surface you're painting.

If it rains before you begin painting, make sure the surface is thoroughly dried before you start spray painting. 

Can you paint in the cold? 

As de Paz from Consumer Reports said, it’s best to paint when temperatures are above 50 degrees during the day and above 32 degrees at night.

Warmer temperatures help the paint set and prevent overnight dew from introducing too much moisture. 


Good news! The rain doesn’t have to put a damper on your painting project, so long as you take the proper precautions. Start with a dry surface and make sure you let the paint dry long enough before it rains again, and you should be good to go.