How to Choose the Best Exterior Paint

An old house with peeling paint.

Painting the outside of your home is a big DIY project, but it’s one that can make a significant difference in the aesthetic of your home, adding to its curb appeal in a large way. Since this is a large-scale project that takes a time commitment and quite a bit of effort, it’s important to ensure that you’re using the right paint to get the job done. Keep reading to learn how to choose the best paints for the exterior of your home to get a fresh, clean, and revamped look.

The Importance of Picking the Right Paint

Choosing the right paint for the outside of your home is quite important for several reasons. Of course, you want the paint job to look good. That’s why you’re doing the project, after all. The paint should go on evenly, provide solid coverage, offer a bright and fresh color, and make your home look like a million bucks.

Furthermore, you want this paint job to last a long time. There’s nothing more frustrating than putting in the time and effort to paint your home from top to bottom only to find that within a couple years, the paint is flaking and beginning to look worn. Thus, it’s important to choose the paint you use carefully.

How to Determine the Paint Type Currently on Your Home

Peeling paint on stucco.

Before repainting your home, it’s important to understand what kind of paint is already on it, as this will play a role in determining what type to use for this DIY project. To figure this out, peel off a large paint chip. If this chip bends slightly before cracking, it’s most likely latex. If it snaps easily, it’s likely an oil paint.

Oil-Based Paints

Oil-based paints make for a solid choice to paint the exterior of your home. This is because they’re very durable and water-resistant, which is important for any house. This type of paint should be reapplied, especially if your home has an underlying layer of oil-based paint present on it.

When using oil-based paint on the exterior of your home, stir the paint frequently to prevent the oils from separating. This type of paint should also be applied with a brush or roller specific to its type to achieve the best results.

Latex Paint

Latex paints have their own set of pros to consider, and they’ve especially improved in recent years. High-quality latex paints are as durable as oil-based paints, but they’re much easier to work with. This makes them more desirable for less-experienced painters.

This paint is easy to apply, dries quickly, and is durable when faced with frequent sunlight, which is something to consider. It’s easy to cleanup from this paint job, as it only requires water.

The best quality latex paint is acrylic latex. This will cover virtually any building material, including masonry and metal. Keep in mind that you should never apply latex paint over a layer of oil-based paint, as it’s most likely to peel in that scenario.

Choosing the Right Paint Quality

A paint brush applying paint on a wood railing.

There are a couple factors to consider when it comes to picking the right paint quality. You want something that's high-quality since, contrary to interior paint, it will need to face many weather conditions as well as the test of time.

Choose a paint with a high percentage of solids. These are what’s left on a surface after the paint has dried. Any paint with a solid percentage over 45 percent is considered desirable, so this is something to look out for. However, be wary of cheap paints with an abnormally high solid percentage, as some companies add cheap fillers to achieve those levels without the paint quality actually being what you really want.

Also check for quality pigments that allow your home solid coverage with as little as one coat. Paints that possess lower-cost pigments are lower in quality, and this typically results in more coats being needed. The best pigment is titanium dioxide, so look for this ingredient in the paint you choose.

Choosing the right paint for your home’s exterior takes a bit of work and a great deal of thought and consideration, but it’s well worth it to achieve a quality paint job that is sure to last.