Your options with exterior paints

These days everyone is concerned with “curb appeal.” It’s not enough to have your house look great on the inside; it should look great from the outside too. A coat of paint is often the best way to achieve an upgrade fast. Before taking on this new project there a few things you should know.

Exterior paints differ from interior paints in that they contain more resin for moisture resistance and durability, and more pigment for color. This can make all the difference to the resilience of your paint job. There are two types of exterior paints: latex and oil (alkyd). The one you select should depend on the nature of the surface you are painting and the environment in which you live.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider before you decide:

Latex Paint


  • longest lasting finish with high gloss retention
  • variety of glosses
  • can be thinned with water alone
  • its water-soluble base makes it easy to apply and clean
  • dries in 1-2 hours
  • does not yellow, fade, blister or peel because it breathes
  • less susceptible to chalking
  • non-toxic which allows for normal waste disposal procedures
  • stretches to conform to natural movement of wood preventing moisture collection and the growth of mildew spores
  • non-flammable
  • can be used on wood, concrete, stucco, brick, galvanized metal, vinyl siding, aluminum siding, etc.
  • odor not strong
  • can be used on interiors


  • often requires an oil based primer
  • stains penetrate easily
  • temperature-sensitive and so shrinks when drying
  • adheres best to clean surfaces e.g., non-chalky surfaces
  • not good ideal for high traffic areas

Oil (Alkyd) Paint


  • adheres better to steel, metal, chalky and dirty surfaces
  • ideal for high traffic areas
  • impervious to low temperatures
  • less susceptible to shrinkage
  • durable and stain resistant
  • can be cleaned


  • takes up to 24 hours to dry
  • has strong odor
  • grows brittle and chalky, yellows, fades, blisters, peels
  • non-breathable
  • flammable
  • susceptible to mildew
  • difficult to apply because of  brush drag tendency
  • cleans only with mineral spirits or turpentine
  • thinning and cleaning products flammable
  • hazardous material, not easily disposed of

Remember, for the very best advice before tackling any home improvement project, you should contact or drop-in at your local Rapid True Value store. Good luck!