Is Painting In High Humidity OK? (What You Need To Know)

Painting in high humidity can be incredibly difficult as it affects the quality of the finish and the expected drying process time. 

You want to get your painting project done but don’t want to waste time and money. Follow our tips and tricks below to ensure you get it right no matter the weather. 

Does humidity affects paint? What is the maximum humidity that is acceptable before you risk paint failure? The level of moisture in the air can have a major effect on how paint dries and the time it takes. 

Humidity levels refer to the amount of moisture in the air; if there is high level of humid weather, the paint will have a harder time for drying process properly. 

As a rule, the water or oil in the oil based paints and water based paints should evaporate before the solvents, but paint in high humidity makes that difficult.  

If you are begin painting with an oil-based paint, the ambient temperature should be above 45°F for at least 48 hours. 

Latex and acrylic paints typically require higher temperatures above 50°F. Some paints, however, are formulated to dry at lower temperatures, even as low as 35°F.

There are a variety of effects that high humidity affect paint when painting using water based or oil based paint, including: 

  • Surfactant leaching 
  • Molding 
  • Bubbling 
  • Condensation 
  • A gunky, gel-like finish 
  • Lifted or non-adhesive patches 
  • Dried wavy texture 

With the right know-how, you can avoid these issues; check out our methods and get it right every time. 

Painting Window Frame with Brush

Ideal Temperature When Painting Indoors

Most experts will suggest that the ideal humidity level for interior painting is between 40 and 60 percent, with 70-80 percent being the absolute maximum. 

Similarly, the ideal interior walls or interior painting temperature is between 40- and 90-degrees Fahrenheit; any higher or lower, and you should wait until another day. 

Interior painting with high humidity inside means that you do have some control of the environment.

Painting Indoors with Paint Roller

Using a dehumidifier, high-volume fan, or other similar equipment can help remove the moisture from the air if you run it a day or two before you paint. 

Your heating system can help get the right temperature if it is cold.  

Overall, high humidity level affect how long the wet paint takes to dry and how well it adheres to the painting surfaces. 

Too slow, and the paint can dry with a gummy texture or a wavy pattern as it dries without setting properly. In terrible cases, you could see surfactant leaching occurs, which is when brown or white spots appear on the drying paint.  

Ideal Temperature When Painting Outdoors 

Humidity and painting outdoors are often at odds as there is less you can control. While the ideal and maximum temperatures and humidity still apply, most who exterior paint regularly accept high level of humidity as a common issue.

The perfect humidity level for painting, particularly outdoors, is between 40 and 50 percent relative humidity. For optimal results, the painting should be completed when relative humidity is between 40-50%.

Latex and acrylic paints typically require higher temperatures above 50°F. Outdoor paint is harder than indoor paint and can have properties that help, but it can still be a difficult task when working in the summer season.  

Working with the sun and avoiding morning dew is incredibly important. If your paint dries in the sun too fast, you can cause paint flashing – it cures too fast, leaving brush marks and an uneven glossy finish. Get your timing right, however, and you could find a way to finish the paint job without too much hassle. 

Newly Painted House Exterior

Optimum and Maximum Humidity Levels For Painting 

Will paint dry in high humidity? There is no such thing as zero humidity regardless of where you are; however, some humidity does not spell the end of your painting project.

As we briefly mentioned, most experts would put the ideal humidity levels for painting between 40 and 60 percent, with any higher than 80 percent spelling potential disaster. Lower than this could see the paint set strangely.  

In terms of temperature, the ideal range is 40-to-90-degrees Fahrenheit. Low temperatures could see bubbles on condensation lifting your paint off the walls or freezing on its surface.

High temperatures could make it almost impossible for the paint to dry properly, forcing it to flash dry or gain a patchy, gummy texture. While you can’t remove all moisture, trying to get your environment to these levels should help your paint job go smoothly. 

Tips For Painting In High Humidity 

Alongside trying to find the balance between temperature and humidity, there are a few ways to help things along while painting. 

  • Thoroughly Dry A Just Cleaned Surface Before Painting 
    Painting in humidity on a damp surface could increase the chance of mold growing between your paint and the surface. Clean it with a dry cloth or magic eraser to save you trouble down the road.  Wood surfaces are particularly problematic when the humidity is high.
  • Get The Timing Right 
    This particularly applies to painting outdoors. Starting a project too early in the morning could leave you battling morning dew. Depending on your area and the time of year, start painting a few hours before peak temperatures – this is often around mid to late afternoon.  
  • Follow The Sun 
    If you can, set up your painting spot at mid-morning where the sun first hits your property. Once you’re ready, follow it as it moves across the sky. This sunlight could help you dry your paint at a steady rate. 
  • Use Thin Layers 
    It may seem like throwing on thick layers will save you time, but trust us when we say that taking the time to create light, thin layers will look much better in the long run.  
  • Use Tools To Manage Your Environment 
    As we mentioned earlier, using a fan, dehumidifier, HVAC, or air conditioning unit could help you create the best environment possible for your paint to dry. 

Frequently Asked Painting and Humidity Questions 

Does paint absorb moisture from air? 

No, paint does not absorb moisture from the air as it evaporates water and solvents to dry. However, the surface on which the paint is applied can impact its ability to absorb moisture. If the surface is porous and dry, it can quickly absorb paint and water. 

What paint type is good for high humidity? 

Outdoor paint is good for high humidity as it is formulated to withstand a lot of wear, including from the sun and humidity throughout the year. Some indoor paints can have other anti-humidity properties. 


Can you paint in high level of humidity? Yes, it can sometimes be difficult but not impossible. Follow our tips above and try to ensure you have the best possible humidity and temperatures to avoid wasting cash and time.