Painting a house sat empty

We are buying a house that has sat empty for at least a year. We’re planning to stay elsewhere for the first week as the boiler needs replaced amongst other things.

Should we wait a while to paint when the house has warmed up and dried out? It would be easier to do before we unpack but worth doing right

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  • MikeJXEMikeJXE Forumite
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    Yes you should, get a humidifier in there and empty it regularly 
  • edited 4 January at 12:43PM
    herebemeherebeme Forumite
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    edited 4 January at 12:43PM
    I can’t comment from a builder’s POV. 

    When you say “dried out” - is there actually a damp problem? Is so address that first. You could rent a professional dehumidifier perhaps. 

    But my flat was empty for a year before I moved in, in winter, and thermostat had been on the frost setting before that - but no touchable damp patches. I didn’t wait for the place to “warm up”. I had 2 weeks before my furniture shipment arrived from abroad, so…

    I had every room painted, walls, ceilings, windows, doors, radiators, including plaster repair as required, and using mould resistant materials/paint (worth it if you even suspect your house may have a damp problem). 

    I also got as much other stuff done at the same time - removing fittings I didn’t like, adding built in shelves, repairing window sills, adding air vents, new bathroom fittings, new grouting, new curtain rails and blinds put up. 

    And then a deep professional clean when the builders had gone. 

    2 weeks was too tight, and I was lucky my shipment was delayed, so I got everything done in the end - it took 3 weeks. 

    So very much easier than trying to do it all while I was living there. Highly recommend it. 
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  • LetsgetmovingLetsgetmoving Forumite
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    It’s a repossession so all the services (including heating) are shut off. The survey showed no damp thankfully. I just thought it might dry out a bit once it warmed up.
  • SlinkySlinky Forumite
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    MikeJXE said:
    Yes you should, get a humidifier in there and empty it regularly 

    You mean a dehumidifier. A humidifier does the opposite.
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  • MikeJXEMikeJXE Forumite
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    Slinky said:
    MikeJXE said:
    Yes you should, get a humidifier in there and empty it regularly 

    You mean a dehumidifier. A humidifier does the opposite.
    Lol yes dehumidifier  my mistake, sorry. The house doesn't have to show any damp for the air to be full of moisture 
  • FreeBearFreeBear Forumite
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    Redecorate before moving in. Saves having to keep moving boxes of stuff and gives the paint to dry before you brush against it. Even water based paints that claim to be dry in 15 minutes need at least a day to harden properly.
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  • GDB2222GDB2222 Forumite
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    Most water based paint needs a temperature of 10C to work properly. So, you will need some heating, but only in the room that you are working on. I know it sounds profligate, but a fan heater will do a good job and only cost around 60p an hour when running full blast.  

    The heat will also help dry out the place, but a dehumidifier would be good if you can borrow or rent one.


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  • ThisIsWeirdThisIsWeird Forumite
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    Provided the inside temperature is high enough for the paint being used - they should all mention this requirement in their instructions - then there's no real reason to not get on with it.
    It will produce a fair amount of moisture tho' - especially the emulsion paint - so crack open windows to give a good amount of ventilation, and leave them all on 'vent' setting when you leave. It is very possible to have cold-but-dry.
  • LetsgetmovingLetsgetmoving Forumite
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    Thanks everyone, every room is at least 2 clashing bright colours so even if every room is white for a while it’ll be an improvement. I’ve two primary school aged children so if we get their rooms done first it’ll help with the change for them.

    Once we get the electric and water back on I’ll see how much time we have. Fingers crossed!
  • Eldi_DosEldi_Dos Forumite
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    If you do not have time to do the gloss paintwork a clean down with sugar soap will help until you can do it when weather improves.
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