A Guide To Painting The Floor In Cold Weather

Posted in Firwood Hints and Tips by Firwood on November 20th 2015

How To Get The Best Results From Floor Paint In Winter

As winter arrives, paint users need to be aware of issues that may arise when applying floor paint in cold, damp conditions. Some jobs are best left for the summer months and in particular the external painting of a property. However, with care and this helpful guide, painting can be carried out all year round, but be prepared to invest in some heat to get the best results!

There are many things to consider when looking for paints for floors! Hopefully the below information will enable you to achieve a brilliant finish on your floor, even in colder temperatures!


As the air temperature drops, so does your floor's surface temperature. In fact, floors can be a few degrees colder than the ambient air temperature. This can lead to problems when applying floor paint such as Firwood 2500 Garage Floor Paint.

The effect of temperature on the paint varies dependent on the technology being used. Water borne paints, such as Firwood 2750 Two Pack East Dry Water Borne Epoxy Floor Seal, for example, need to be applied when the ambient temperature exceeds 10°C. Technically, this is known as the minimum film forming temperature for water borne coatings. Using it at a lower temperature not only slows down the evaporation of any water in the paint film, but the emulsion used will not form a film at lower temperatures either. There is no fix for this other than to attempt to raise the ambient temperature above the minimum film forming temperature.

  1. Two Pack Products
Whilst two pack paints like Firwood 740 Two Pack Acrylic Gloss cure through by chemical reaction, unfortunately, cure time is again slowed down at low temperatures. The speed of reaction is exponentially extended as temperature drops. However, on a positive note, the pot life of the paint will be extended relative to usage of the product at higher temperatures.

  1. Solvent Borne Paints
Many solvent borne paints can be applied at lower temperatures without affecting the properties of the paint. However, the drying time of such paints will increase and if the humidity is high then the gloss of the paint will also be affected adversely. Blooming of the paint film can occur for both solvent and water borne products whereby a gloss finish loses the clarity of the gloss. Take a look at Firwood 265 Fast Dry Oil and Petrol Resisting Finishing Gloss if a solvent borne paint is what you're looking for!

  1. How To Store Floor Paints
The protection of paint from frost is critical for water borne paints. If they are allowed to freeze then emulsions for both decorative and industrial coatings can become unstable and fall out of solution. This is not reversible and any water borne paint damaged by frost must be disposed of. Always read the can instructions regarding storage of the paint.

How Does Temperature Change Floor Paint Viscosity?

Temperature significantly affects paint viscosity. All types of paints react slightly differently, but generally, the higher the temperature is, the lower a paints viscosity will drop. On the whole, decreasing temperatures will cause an increase in viscosity.

Customers may feel that paint applied at low temperatures will require thinning prior to application, but what the paint actually needs is gently warming up. This can be done by storing in a warm room, or, for individual tins of paint, they can be placed in a bucket of warm water.

The relationship between temperature and viscosity is inversely proportional for all paints. Do not over-thin the paint when it appears thicker than normal. The results of over thinning will reduce the solids content of the paint together with its film build and where applicable gloss level.

Painting Floors Outdoors

This can be difficult over the winter months as temperatures are often too low to satisfactorily apply floor paint. Some contractors will overcome this by forming tents around the item to be painted and using heating to warm up the atmosphere within the tent. If this is what you plan to do, a risk assessment must be made to ensure that any heating used is safe, taking into consideration solvents used in paints. The temperature of the floor must also be taken into consideration to ensure that its surface temperature is sufficiently warm to be painted.

Be careful to ensure that the relative humidity does not exceed 85% and the surface temperature of the floor being painted is at least 3° higher than the dew point, both during application and curing of the paint. The dew point is where small water droplets will form on the surface being painted, affecting the drying, adhesion and gloss of the paint being applied. With water borne paints the relative humidity will be higher as water within the paint film evaporates as the paint dries. This can be reduced by the use of fans to improve air flow over the surface of the paint film. Try Firwood 2580 Water Borne Gloss Finish for an excellent, protective finish.
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Get Optimal Results With Floor Paint From Firwood

Remember to take care when applying floor paints over the winter months, and be prepared for cold weather when painting. It's true that some jobs are just best left for the summer, but hopefully you feel more prepared with this helpful guide if waiting until the weather warms up just simply isn't possible!

Need more information about painting floors? Get in touch with our expert team on +44 (0)1204 525231, or email websales@firwood.co.uk. We're happy to help!

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