Understanding the Different Exterior Paint Types Available

You might think that house paint is house paint. That is far from true. There are as many or more different types of paint for exterior painting as there is for interior painting. Outside you deal with many different types of surfaces. Some houses have more than one exterior finishing product with which you have to deal. These surfaces can include stucco, concrete block, wood, brick, and aluminum, among many others. Choosing the type of paint is as important as deciding which color you want to paint it.

Most exterior paints come in latex or alkyd based formulas. The latex formulations allow you to clean up spills with water. The alkyd based formulations require you to use thinner or solvent to clean up spills. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Latex paint dries quickly, cleans easily, and minimizes moisture problems under the surface due to the paint’s breathability. On the other hand, latex does not adhere to alkyd based old paint and will quickly deteriorate on rough surfaces. Alkyd paints are very durable, but not easy to work with. They take forever to dry and require solvent for cleanups.

You can get paint ready for exterior painting with a flat, matte, or gloss surface. This plays a role in how your exterior ends up looking. A glossy surface will reflect light. It also highlights imperfections in the painted surface due to the way light hits them. A flat surface, on the other hand, is not easy to keep clean. In an outdoor surface, that is not a good thing. Matte offers some of the good of both as well as the not so good. You may decide to use one finish on one part of your home and another on another. It is a matter of personal preference.

Once you know the surfaces you are working with, the formulation you want, and the finish, you are ready to select your paint colors. Most people want at least two colors in their exterior painting: one for the body of the house and one for the trim. However, you can get more complicated than that. For an ornate Victorian home, many homeowners can add five to seven colors to the exterior of their home. Ranch homes look good with a main body color, a trim color, and one or two accent colors. You can find preselected color schemes from many paint manufacturers or ask your painting professional for advice.