Set The Right Curb Appeal With Exterior Painting Efforts That Last
Finding the best color or product is the first step to your exterior painting project, but finding the right sheen is step two. Choosing the proper sheen for different outdoor surfaces will help you create a beautiful look and get the most from your paint. Visit the Color Center at your local Home Depot for more tips on choosing the right sheen for your project.
Types Of Exterior Paint Finishes
Unlike interior paint finishes, you get fewer options for exterior paint finishes. The exterior paint finish varies from a glossy finish to a flat finish. So, what applies to where?
First on the list is glossy finish. Painting a glossy finish is an excellent way to highlight beautiful architectural details. This high-sheen feature can reflect damaging UV light. The higher the sheen, the better it is with reflecting light. Moreover, the smooth surface you get from this finish allows for easier cleaning.
The glossy finish is ideal to use on doors, decorative fixtures, and accent trim. You can also use it on floors but mix it with some aggregates, like sand, to achieve a non-slip surface.
A glossy finish can be a double-edged sword. Just as how it highlights beautiful exterior features, it also magnifies damages. You should also avoid applying this finish all over your house exterior. Having an oddly shiny exterior can be an eyesore.
If you want to have the durability of a high-gloss finish without too much sheen, then you can always opt for a semi-gloss finish. The semi-gloss finish can be used on shutters, window sills, and garage doors, to name a few.
If you are looking for a middle ground in the sheen spectrum, then a satin finish is worth considering. It may not be as glossy, but it isnt dull either. You can use this on different surfaces like brick walls, windows, and doors.
What Best Paint Sheen Finish For Exterior Doors
Best paint sheen on exterior doors should be that which repels water, allowing many cleaning scrubs, having an inviting touch. This touch being smooth, having a hard turtle shell finish.
Depending how much attention you wish to bring to your exterior doors, higher the gloss, the more attention it gives. Best starting with a satin finish, you can go all the way up to a high gloss.
Many choose a satin for front doors, with that being a third accent color. Accentuating this area of invitation, welcoming your visitors.
Others choose a similar sheen for all exterior doors, especially if more than one door is visible. However, you are safe using any of the following
- Flat sheen
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Flat Or Matte Finish Paints
Flat paint has a non-reflective finish that will feel slightly chalky and rough when you run your hand across it.
The finish is quite velvety in appearance and is initially very attractive since the lack of reflectiveness hides bumps and gouges. It provides a very contemporary and modern look. However, just as it true on indoor surfaces, flat paints really cannot be washed at all.
Cleaning a flat-paint surface is like trying to wipe down a chalkboard with a dry rag it smears but does not really come clean. You can scrub flat finish with TSP or water pressure washer, but often the best solution is to lay down another coat of paint. You can expect to repaint more often if you use flat paint.
Very difficult, if not impossible, to scrub clean.
The surface may become chalky due to weather, requiring more frequent repainting.
May flake off or chip more easily than glossier paints.
Best For Wood: Valspar Duramax Satin Exterior Tintable Paint
Courtesy of Lowe’s
Size: 1 gallon | Coverage Area: 400 square feet | Color: White | Finish: Satin
Apply between 35 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit
Rainproof in 90 minutes
Not a low-VOC formula
Difficult to apply on metal
If youre painting wood siding or trim, there are a lot of exterior paints you can use, but youll want to look for something like the Valspar Duramax Base 1 Satin Exterior Tintable Paint. It is a paint and primer in one and provides maximum resistance against mold, mildew, and algae, all common problems with painted wood surfaces.
This tintable acrylic paint comes in satin, semi-gloss, and flat finishes. Its all-weather adhesion means you can apply it in temperatures as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit or as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The exterior paint is rain-ready only 1.5 hours after application. It wont run or blister if an unexpected rain shower sweeps through. Youll be able to cover around 400 square feet per gallon. It provides superior coverage to hide imperfections on wood.
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Trim Cabinets Doors Baseboards Crown Molding And Millwork Shinier
Where possible, keep your trim and woodwork the same sheen. For an updated look, we always recommend a shiner trim, with slightly more gloss than eggshell. A second choice would be Semi-Gloss, most often for traditional and historic homes. We never use Glossy sheens. Please note that Benjamin Moore calls this sheen Satin. For Sherwin-Williams, use Semi-Gloss.
Kitchen Cabinets, satin sheen. Photo by M. Camilli, The Color Concierge
Painting Fiber Cement With Flat Paint
Another place we use flat exterior paint is on fiber cement siding. Its a siding thats actually a masonry product. Some of the cedar shake styles we use a semi gloss on but the more modern stuff like horizontal lap or large flat panels I like to go with a matte sheen. Flat is a more modern look and works well with the design. This isnt for your traditional home but if you have something Transitional, Contemporary or Modern then its worth considering.
Of course all the downfalls of exterior flat paints are still there. It is a little harder to clean and fades/wears faster than glossier paints but the look is really cool if youve got the right house for it.
Beautiful Colonial style home painted with an eggshell sheen and black semi gloss shutters.
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Best Exterior Paint Finishes For Your Home
Paint sheen is not just about aesthetics. Paint finishes affect how long exterior paint lasts on siding, trim, doors, and other exterior surfaces. There are four different types of paint sheens that professional painters typically use on home exteriors and each has unique benefits when used on the correct surfaces.
All About Exterior Paint
Expert advice on choosing the best formulations for your siding type, selecting the most eye-catching colors, and getting long-lasting results
We ask a lot from house paint. It’s not only expected to give our home a new look but also to withstand freezing winters, blistering summers, soaking rains, and a daily bombardment of UV radiation without cracking, fading, or peeling.
Such miracles don’t come without expense and effort. For the best results, you need an exterior paint that’s packed with high-quality resins, pigments, and additives, as well as a clean, smooth surface for the new finish to stick to. Making this investment in material and labor will virtually guarantee that you won’t have to drag out the ladders again anytime soon.
Modern advances in paint technologyspecifically the arrival of all-acrylic formulationshave made the task of finding a top-shelf product fairly simple. Just look for “100 percent acrylic latex” on the label. You’ll be getting a paint that remains flexible, breathable, and colorfast far longer than paints made with vinyl resins or acrylic blends. And because it adheres tenaciously to most surfaces, you can use it with confidence on wood, vinyl, metal, and masonry.
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The Best Exterior Paint For Rainy/humid Regions
Paint application and maintenance can be tricky in areas like Tennessee or Washington where it rains more often than not. You may not be worried about color fading so much as blistering, warping, and failing to dry from surfaces that wont dry out and constant high humidity in the air. And if youve ever thought the color green was out to get you and eat your house alive, you need some rainy region, algae-resistant exterior paint.
Fortunately, Benjamin Moore and Valspar have some excellent choices to make your painting process go smoother and prevent you from needing to power wash the moss off your siding every other day. Check out these awesome mildew-resistant paints for rainy regions.
11. Aura Exterior Paint Semi-Gloss
The Aura Exterior Paint Semi-Gloss is one of the best exterior paints because its specially made to be weather-resistant and comes with the same fade-resistance technology as the flat finish described above, but the semi-gloss finish is more mold- and mildew-resistant. This slightly shinier finish suits a humid/rainy area like Washington where theres less sunlight and a greater risk for growing unwanted green stuff on your exterior walls.
Aura Exterior Paint is available in other finishes, but this finish will be the best for keeping mold and mildew off your homes exterior. It is 100% acrylic and available in thousands of colors.
12. Valspar Duramax Satin Base 4
13. WaterBlock® Acrylic Masonry Waterproofer
When To Use Oil
With the advent of easy-to-use water-based paints in the 1950s and greater restrictions on high-VOC solvents, the use of oil-based paints in the U.S. has been steadily shrinking. Even so, oils have a gloss, smoothness, dirt resistance, and hardness that no latex can match. So it still makes sense to use them in certain outdoor applications: doors, wrought iron, and trim, as well as details that will be touched, closely examined, or that deserve a standout shine. Oil’s toughness also makes it ideal for porch floors.
Shown: Dusky Blue in Porch and Floor Enamel, about $65 per gallon Benjamin Moore
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Best For Concrete: Zinsser Watertite Lx Low Voc Mold And Mildew
Also available at Lowe’s
Why You Should Get It: You can use it indoors and out to create a waterproof barrier on concrete.
Keep in Mind: It only covers up to 125 square feet, which is less than other options on the market.
If you’re working on a concrete paint job, the best exterior paint is the latex-based Zinsser WaterTiteLX Ultra Mold & Mildew Proof Waterproofing paint. With this paint, you can create a watertight seal on both the outside and the inside of your basement or cellar’s concrete walls.
Concrete is durablethey make foundations out of it, after allbut its flaw is that it’s porous. By rolling on a layer of Zinsser WaterTite concrete paint, though, you are building your defense against moisture from seeping in. This paint is great for basement and garage walls as well as any other masonry surfaces indoors and out, like retaining walls, fountains, planters, and basins.
This waterproof paint by Zinsser comes with a 20-year waterproof guarantee and a 10-year mold and mildew guarantee. It dries in just two hours and can resist up to 20 pounds of water pressure. There’s little odor as it dries, thanks to its low-VOC formula, which has a mildewcide to stop the onset of mold and mildew in the paint film. Cleanup is easy with just soap and water.
Best Overall: Behr Premium Plus Ultra Pure White Exterior Paint And Primer In One
Size: 1 gallon | Coverage Area: 400 square feet | Color: White | Finish: Semi-gloss
Paint and primer in one
Can be applied in temperatures as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit
May require second coat for even coverage
Goes on too thick for some
What do buyers say? 52,900+ Home Depot reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
If you’re looking for exterior paint that makes your work easier, our best overall pickBEHR Premium Plus Ultra Pure White Exterioris an effective two-in-one paint and primer. You can skip the priming step altogether with this product, saving your time and energy. This 100 percent acrylic paint is also long-lasting, resists stains, mildew, peeling, and fading, and is Greenguard Gold Certified .
This sleek low VOC paint is available in semi-gloss, flat, and satin finishes and is suitable for numerous applications, including many types of sidings, stucco, brick, and fences. Maintenance is easy, too: Use soap and water to clean the surface. One coat should be all you’ll need to touch up any nicks or scratches. Although, you may want an additional coat for the best coverage.
While the price is pretty consistent with others on our list, it might add up quickly if you have a large surface area to paint. Depending on application and surface porousness, a 1-gallon can cover about 400 square feet. This dual paint and primer is also available in 1-quart, 1-gallon, or 5-gallon containers.
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What Is The Most Durable Paint Finish For A Home
Satin is extremely durable, tough, & stretchy, resistant to stains. Satin sheens have just enough shine to it, not being overbearing too shiny, nor not so less, leaving water marks as flat paint sheens tend to do.
About 30 some-odd years ago, around 1993, one of our clients contracted with us painting their home. Requesting a flat paint finish, which was currently on home, in a dark flat brown color.
Just So Happened
Satin finish was just being introduced at this time for exterior finishes. However, it wasn’t long before he called us back.
Our client wanted me to look at areas of siding, showing dried water marks dripping down all around his home. Never seen this before, called our local paint sales rep and his boss, during our meeting. Determined dark brown flat paint was a prime opportunity to leave water marks from most recent rain shower.
Local paint store comped out brand new exterior paint sheen to try. Repainting with the newest exterior finish on the market, being satin. Subsequently, was very happy, never hearing of any issues again. Knowing not only did this paint look & feel durable, but also was resilient to future weather conditions.
Satin finishes not only lays down better, with better coverage, but protecting much better than flat paints. Most durable paint finishes keep it’s original sheen that much longer. Knowing how paint ages, over time, a higher sheen flattens out, appearing flat, just like a caulk-board.
Should Shutters Be Satin Or Semi
Exterior shutters for the best paint finish are what you want for exterior shutters, but this is also what you should bear in mind when the best paint finish is recommended. The best paint finish for exterior shutters can be flat or brushed depending on the design style your shutter provides, and satin would generally hold up to sunlight damage more than reflective finishes.
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The Best Paint Sheens For Interiors And Exteriors
The right paint sheens can make or break your interior or exterior home paint project. The most frequent question we get from our blog subscribers and color consultation clients is which paint sheen to use.
Think of it this way start with the shiniest sheen near the floor, and work your way to a flat ceiling. Flat sheens hide imperfections better than glossy sheens, so if your walls are not perfect, choose a sheen that is less shiny.
One of the most confusing sheen issues that we see is that there is no standardization of sheens between paint companies. Some companies change sheen names between their product lines. For example:
- Benjamin Moore eggshell = Sherwin Williams satin.
- For interior trim colors, Benjamin Moore Regal pearl = Benjamin Moore Advance satin = Sherwin-Williams semi-gloss.
- Benjamin Moore matte is almost flat and Sherwin Williams matte is almost semi-gloss.
- and so on
Our goal will be to try to create order from paint sheen chaos. This article was originally written about a year ago. We added more details and clarity to answer questions from our readers and clients.
Which Exterior Paint Sheen Should You Choose For Your Home
While trying to figure out what color to paint the exterior of your home, you should also carefully consider which exterior paint sheen to use. We get asked this question quite often, proving that its not such an easy decision to make.
Lets take a look at what paint sheens are available and what factors you should take into consideration.
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Can You Use Exterior Paint Inside
If the can of paint says that you can use the paint for both interior and exterior surfaces, it should indeed be fine to use it indoors. However, if it does not, then you should only use exterior paints outdoors. It’s important to choose a paint with a low level of volatile organic compounds for indoor surfaces to avoid odors and potentially toxic chemicals. You should not use interior paint outside because it’s not formulated to hold up against the harsh weather elements, including strong sunlight.
“You need a paint that is going to survive all seasons for a long time,” Kaulen says. “Always check the warranty the manufacturer provides when purchasing paint, especially if you’re someone with a larger area to cover as it will be a sizable investment.”
She notes that exterior painting is redone on average every seven years. While some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty, Kaulen says that’s not really the case. “You can gauge the overall quality of the paint simply by accepting that the lower the number of years, the lesser the quality.”
Which Sheen Is Best On Stucco
The one instance we recommend a flat sheen is when you paint stucco. Stucco is a very porous surface and it generally has quite a bit of texture. A flat sheen will help hide the texture and any imperfections in the stucco pattern. If you do use a satin sheen on your stucco you may notice that the texture stands out more. If you want to emphasize the texture in your stucco then use a satin finish. Otherwise, we would recommend a flat sheen on stucco surfaces.
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