If you are like me, and you always wonder why some five-year-old paint jobs flake and peel while prehistoric ones look as if they were laid a few days ago, then you are in the right place. The answer to this question is deceptively straightforward. All it takes to immortalize your exterior is quality exterior paint.
If you choose the best exterior paint and apply it over a well-prepped surface, it will last significantly longer than the cheaper stuff.
Unfortunately, finding the best type of exterior paint is not a walk in the park. If you are not familiar with sensory overload, looking for exterior paint will introduce you to this concept. Apart from the oil-vs.-water-based dilemma, there are lots of other choices to be made. Here’s a look at the best types of exterior paints you should consider.
Related: Types of Paint for Art
Acrylic paints are manufactured using top-quality ingredients. This makes them quite thick and viscous. You will also find that the chemical lineup in chemical-based acrylic paints makes them a lot more elastic. This gives them the ability to expand and contract as temperatures fluctuate.
All these qualities make acrylic paint a perfect option for exterior painting jobs. Because of how super-durable these paints are, you can use them on aluminum, fiber cement, and wooden siding. They also do quite well in covering plaster, drywall, and stucco.
Wondering what other qualities make acrylic paint a top contender when it comes to exterior painting? Well, the list is endless. While it might not be for every job, this paint gives some truly impressive results. For instance, when properly primed, acrylic paint displays strong adhesion to a variety of materials.
It can work well with some metals, some plastic, and exterior wood. As mentioned before, this paint shows some serious elasticity, which makes it able to contract and expand without splitting or cracking.
Acrylic paint is breathable. This means it can allow moisture to escape without losing adhesion or blistering. It’s also quite resistant to mildew. In fact, a lot of acrylic paint brands come with anti-mildew chemicals incorporated in them.
If you are worried about fading, this is one thing you won’t see with acrylic paints for a long time. These paints are nothing less than superb when it comes to color retention. They are able to resist attacks from the sun and UV longer than the majority of oil-based paints.
One of the things people generally worry about when painting their exterior is how long it will take for the paint to dry. That’s another area where acrylic paint shines. It dries very fast. This means the second coat of paint can be applied sooner. The paint also has very low VOCs, meaning you won’t have to deal with strong odors.
If you are not looking to spend a lot of money on paint, you should try latex. This paint type is made from a water-soluble base, which lends it a few advantages compared to oil-based paint or acrylic. One of the main advantages of latex paint is that it contains fewer volatile organic compounds. This makes it one of the most environmentally friendly options out there.
Apart from being environmentally friendly, fewer VOCs also mean less odor. When you paint your exterior using latex, there will be fewer lingering fumes even after the paint has dried. Furthermore, you will find that latex paints are non-flammable and not considered hazardous.
Well, we have established that latex is safer to use. But what about the actual painting qualities? In the case of latex, cheap doesn’t really translate to poor quality. Compared to most paint types, latex is very easy to apply, and it retains a great deal of elasticity over time.
This means it’s less likely to crack, blister, fade, or peel. However, to ensure that you maximize these qualities, you need to ensure that your exterior surfaces are prepped properly.
As mentioned before, latex paint is super easy to apply. It goes on quite smoothly, and it covers your surfaces well. Furthermore, this paint type has a thinner consistency compared to oil-based paints. This makes it easier to touch up any spots that you would have missed. You can also correct imperfections relatively easily.
Another significant benefit of latex paint is that it dries up quickly. A single coat takes about an hour to dry, meaning you can apply multiple coats in one day. This also allows you to start using your space much sooner than when you use other paint types.
Are you an outdoor DIYer? If yes, this paint gives you a lot more flexibility regarding when you can paint. For instance, you can apply it on colder days.
Most people have abandoned the use of oil-based paints due to strict health restrictions. Oil paints are very high in volatile organic compounds. As such, they emit hazardous fumes when they get wet. However, because the outdoors have lots of ventilation, it’s still possible to use oil-based paints for your exterior. Compared to latex and acrylic paints, oil-based paints shrink less.
They also hold up quite well in high-traffic areas. You will also find that oil-based paints dry to a smooth, hard surface, which makes them super durable. They are, however, not made from water, so they can be a bit difficult to clean.
Does Paint Finish Matter for Exterior Surfaces?
The finish is what determines how the exterior paint looks when it dries up. This is determined by the paint’s ratio of resins and binders to pigment levels. The finish you choose generally depends on the look you are aiming for. Apart from that, the finish also contributes to durability.
Flat or Matte Finish
Matte or flat paint has a non-reflective finish. It works well for painting older houses because it’s quite efficient when it comes to hiding imperfections. As such, you can use it to give an older house a cleaner, modern look.
However, paint types with a flat finish are quite porous. This means they may not be very durable. As such, you shouldn’t use them to paint high-traffic areas like doors and windows. They will, however, work well for exterior siding.
Also known as low-luster or eggshell, satin is one of the most popular finishes. It’s not too shiny but not too dull, and this makes it a happy medium that will look great on any surface. Paints with a satin finish work quite well on cement or wood siding. One thing to note about paints with a satin finish is that they need to be mixed properly. If you use it without mixing, the sheen can be visibly uneven.
Semi-Gloss and Glossy Finish
This type of finish is shinier than satin and flat. Paints with this finish are super easy to clean and highly durable. This makes them perfect for areas that are exposed to the elements. For instance, a glossy paint finish would be ideal for window sills and garage doors. Semi-gloss, as you might have guessed, is less shiny than glossy. It’s more durable than gloss, so you might want to use it for areas that are exposed to the elements.
What Qualities Make Certain Kinds of Paint Better Than Others?
There are lots of things to consider when thinking about the best paint type to use for your exterior surfaces. One of the things to keep in mind if you are planning to paint your exteriors is that the outside appearance of your home is the foundation for creating curb appeal. Here are the properties you must keep in mind when selecting exterior paint for your home.
High-quality latex and acrylic paints usually contain superior quality ingredients. For instance, you will find that manufacturers use more acrylic solids and pigments in these paints. As such, they tend to be thicker and a bit more viscous than lower-quality paints. On the other hand, while more durable, oil-based paints are a bit thinner and runnier.
Unfortunately, oil-based paints are becoming less popular by the day. They tend to yellow more quickly, and they have super high VOC levels, which makes them a danger to the environment.
Paints contain chemicals and solvents that can emit toxic fumes known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The compounds that lead to the creation of VOCs are added to paint to increase drying time and improve hardness. Latex and acrylic paints also contain these VOCs but to a lesser degree, which enables them to offer a healthier experience.
When inhaled, VOCs can cause nausea and headaches. While this is less likely to bother you when you are painting your exterior, you may still wish you had chosen Low-VOC paint. Oil paints are higher in VOCs.
When painting, it’s important to wait until the first coat has dried up before you apply the second one. This is the key to getting a quality finish, and it’s why most painters prefer paint types that have shorter drying times. The majority of latex paints dry to the touch in a few hours.
This means you can apply the second coat on the same day. Oil paint, on the other hand, may require up to 24 hours before you can apply a second coat.
Low-quality paints are made with cheap pigments like talc, silica, and clay. The main disadvantage of cheap pigments is that they tend to fade over time. The fading is even worse if the exterior surface receives direct sun.
Higher quality paint, on the other hand, contains titanium dioxide. This is a pricey pigment found in premium paint lines. It’s quite long-lasting, so it will take a few years before you start thinking about a fresh coat of paint.
Good paint can handle whatever weather throws its way. When it comes to weather resistance, oil paints are superior. They can withstand rain, and they are super easy to clean. Until the development of acrylic and latex paints, oil paints were the standard for exterior painting for many years. Latex paints that contain an acrylic binder are also quite resistant to weather.
Acrylic is a binder that enables latex to flex slightly. This reduces the risk of cracking and peeling and makes latex paint better able to repel rain. The highest quality latex paints are usually labeled “100 percent acrylic.”