Picking Paint can be a Pain

What would you rather get from a car first: functionality or a pretty color? It’s hard to drive a pretty car if it doesn’t work. You’ll need to put more time and money into repairing it. The same goes for paint. With so many different types of paint to choose from, color doesn’t even seem to matter. The first aspect to focus on should be performance.

You definitely don’t want to use interior paint on the outside of your house. It’d be like putting in an AC unit the blows outwards. Instead of wasting time going store-to-store or sifting through sites, read this short guide to choosing the best exterior paint!

See what goes into pricing an exterior house painting job >>

Selecting the Best Exterior Paint

Let's take the "pain" out of paint and get you the perfect paint!

Is Your House Painted?

This doesn't mean "does your house have color". Many coastal homes in Massachusetts don't have paint on their exterior. They have a solid color stain on them, especially if they are cedar-sided. Since the EPA banned harmful solvents from being used, a solid stain is now basically a thin-bodied paint that highlights texture. The upside is it wears down gracefully. No peeling, only gradual degradation and flakes.

Solid stains are less durable but they wear down nicely. It also takes less prep for repainting.

Oil or Acrylic Paint?

Back in the 80s, oil-based paint was totally tubular. It's durable, shiny, and many homes used it until the EPA shut it down. There are still inferior oil paints in America, or you can get the real stuff from Fine Paints of Europe, but it seems as though the acrylic paint has taken over. This means you have 2 options.

Continue using oil-based paint. It may be a pain to acquire and use, but consistency can be good. You can also paint the acrylic over the oil-based paint. Both of these options need a thorough knowledge of paint and painting, so do your homework! Then you can figure out if you want the paint and primer separate or together.

Pairing Paint and Primer?

It's the dawn of a new paint age: paint and primer combined! This is a recent trend among manufacturers in an attempt to create the easiest and best exterior paint. It involves less labor because the workload can be cut in half. Is there a catch to this miracle of modern painting?

It doesn't work as well as the products sold separately. Primer and paint have different purposes, so a combination of them can't work as well. You can still use it, but be aware that it may not be the best exterior paint. The surface you're painting can affect the type of paint you choose too.

What Material are you Painting?

The first thing to do is determine the suitability of the surface for painting. In other words, can you paint it right now? There are different methods for prepping different walls. If you use the wrong paint it can wear off more quickly and then you'll have more work to do. Here's what you should use for priming and painting:

Cedar siding: pre-prime with stain-blocking primer, then paint with 100% acrylic latex paint.

Fiber cement siding: latex primer and acrylic latex paint

Metal: use a rust inhibitive primer followed by acrylic latex paint

Now that you have some of the options narrowed down, figure out what brand to use!

Which Brand to Buy?

It's like asking what your favorite burger place is. You have one that comes to mind immediately, but it may not be the one you want tonight. Other burgers of similar quality come to mind as well. It's the same with choosing the right paint.

There are different price points, such as sheen, durability, color selection, etc, but they all have what you need. Benjamin Moore, PPG, Sherwin Williams, and California are a few brands you can choose from. All you really need to focus on is if it fits your needs and budget.

Even though it may fit your budget better, AVOID BOX STORES. The service and the products themselves tend to leave a lot to be desired. There's a reason professionals buy their paint at specialty stores.

Other Questions?

We may have only scratched the surface of your questions. This is normal due to the massive amount of information on paint available. It may take some time to figure everything out, but getting the best exterior paint can be worth it. Your home can look great and stay that way for a longer time.

If you decide to DIY, check out our tips on painting house exteriors >>