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 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 affect painting? 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 humidity, the paint will have a harder time drying properly. 

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

There are a variety of effects that high humidity can cause when painting, 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 painting is between 40 and 60 percent, with 70-80 percent being the absolute maximum.

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

Painting with high humidity interiors means that you do have some control of the environment. 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.  

Painting Indoors with Paint Roller

Overall, high humidity levels affect how long the paint takes to dry and how well it adheres to the surface.

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 paint outdoors regularly accept high humidity as a common issue.

Outdoor paint is hardier 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 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 project 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. 
  • 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? 

As the paint evaporates water and solvents to dry, it does not. However, the surface it is painted on can depend on how porous and dry it is. These small holes suck up paint and water quickly – bear this in mind while choosing what to paint. 

What paint type is good for high humidity? 

Outdoor paint is typically 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. Do your research and read customer reviews to discover what type of paint is right for your project. 


Can you paint in high 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.