Your Place: Best times to paint home interiors

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

A reader asks: "What is the best month to have interior rooms painted?"

She and her husband are seniors and not in the best of health. They are planning to have the work done professionally, and also plan to remove old carpeting and have their wood floors redone.

Job One: Paint before removing the carpeting, because itís being disposed of anyway.

Prosí painting season: Typically, professionals, especially the really top-of-the-line painters, arenít restricted to any particular time of year, although most donít like painting interiors on hot, humid days when drying can be a problem, especially in homes without air-conditioning.

They do tend to be busier in spring and autumn, however, so arranging for their services then might require you to wait a bit. In summer, many painting contractors hire college students to help ó thatís how I learned the craft ó so their availability could be better then, despite the stickiness.

The really good painters are rarely available and can pick and choose jobs. They are the ones who will, quite rightly, charge you more for the work. You get what you pay for.

DIY season: For do-it-yourselfers in the Middle Atlantic, April and May are the best months to paint interior rooms, experience has taught me. Natural light increases as the days get longer, so the accuracy of wall and ceiling coverage is at its peak. By summer, the light can be blinding. In winter, thereís not enough light.

You may have more time for painting in the winter, but artificial light ó even the best halogen models ó can cast shadows that give false impressions of how well you have covered a wall or ceiling area.

Ventilation is crucial. Even with todayís top-performing no-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, opening windows and doors to keep air circulating and paint drying properly is key to a really good job.

What about exteriors? Prime time is the end of September to early November, on partly cloudy and still days in the 60s, nights in the upper 40s.