Best Paint for Exterior Painting

Painted house

Painted house

Choosing the right exterior paint for a project can be a difficult task at best. In most cases, interior painting is done on only one type of surface but exterior painting can be on a wide variety of surfaces. Surfaces may include wood, aluminum siding, cedar shakes, brick, concrete blocks, stucco or even painting over old paint. Older homes and some modern designs may necessitate painting multiple types of surfaces which further complicates exterior paint selection. One good thing is that there are many different types of paints and this means that there is an exterior paint which is made for each type of surface.

Latex vs. Alkyd

Many homeowners choose latex paints for exterior painting projects because it is much easier to apply, dries quicker and is easy to clean up with just soap and water. The disadvantage to using latex paints is that they will not cover oil based paints well and they will not adhere to some surfaces. Alkyd paints are very durable, but they dry more slowly and are more difficult to work with. Alkyd paints cannot be cleaned up easily as proper clean up will require the use of solvents in order to get the oil based paints out of brushes, paint trays, rollers and drips.

Alkyd Paints

Alkyd paints are typically used by some homeowners because of its self cleaning capabilities. This is called “chalking.” The surface painted with alkyd paints will slowly oxidize over several years. Every time it rains, it will wash off the dirt but it will take with it a small amount of paint. Because of this process of shedding the painted surface is constantly being renewed. Newer alkyd paints do not leave a chalky residue on shrubs and other adjacent surfaces like older types did. Alkyd paints are not recommended for every exterior surface. For instance, in areas where there is not very much rainfall the surface will be covered with a powdered substance and this can make the paint appear dull. Chalking paint is not suitable where there is too little rain; nor is it the best choice in regions where there is too much rainfall. In areas that see large amounts of rain, the house will be kept clean by the frequent rainfall therefore will not need chalking paints.

Latex Paints

Some homeowners elect to use water based paints or latex varieties. A water based paint will be thinner than alkyd, or oil based paints which means it will dry faster and it is not as likely to trap moisture underneath which can cause damage. They do not emit as many fumes as alkyd paints and they are not flammable. Water based paints are the best option for painting over other painted surfaces. One reason latex paints are chosen is that the surface will not have to be stripped before being repainted. Water based paints are more vibrant than oil based varieties and many homeowners prefer them because they are glossier and brighter than some of the other possible choices. They are also durable and will retain quality colors for years. Water based paints are chosen by many NJ homeowners because of the safety and convenience they provide over other options. Others choose them because they will cover other painted surfaces easily as they will easily adhere to any type of old paint including oil based and water based paints.

Oil Based or Water Based

As a general rule, water based paints are typically the preferred choice. However, there are certain circumstances where an oil based paint is the better choice. Latex paints will expand and contract with the surface, won’t trap moisture and dry quickly. Oil based paints take longer to dry but will have a better adhesion and is better at blocking stains. Homeowners will have to choose the option that best suits their particular exterior painting needs.


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