Difference Between Interior And Exterior Paint

Can They Be Interchanged

ðï¸? Interior vs Exterior Paint (You CAN Use Either One!) ðï¸?

The simple answer is no. You might think that because exterior paints are made tougher and are able to withstand more that theyd perform well in the interior setting too. But this is not the case. In fact, exterior paint tends to scuff and get scratched quite easily, something that is not easy to notice when its on the exterior of your home but very noticeable indoors. There is also the fact that exterior paint releases more VOCs into the air. When used indoors this can be quite dangerous and lead to certain allergies. On the other hand, using interior paint outdoors will result in peeling and cracking due to changing temperatures.

As youve read, there are key differences between interior and exterior paints that make them suitable for each. Thats why its important to pick out the right paint whether youre painting indoors or outdoors. For more information, you can always get in touch with residential painting company in Sydney.

Moisture And Mildew Prevention

Exposed to the open air, exterior paints will be bombarded with rain, storms, and other hazards thus, they are made to last and handle water without deteriorating.

Interior colors are only washed occasionally for cleaning purposes therefore, they dont need to withstand moisture like exterior paint.

Mildews, molds, and algae are known to form outside your home no matter how protected you are. Exterior paints are made mainly with mildewcides to counter these occurrences.

They are strong in smell but will keep your house shielded.

Whats The Difference Between Interior And Exterior Paint

Different types of paint are created for several different purposes, and each has its own set of characteristics. For example, interior paint will be used when painting your interior doors, cabinets, baseboards, and exterior paint would be preferred when painting your garage doors, or shutters.

When it comes to exterior paint, mildew and fading are no match for its composition. On the other hand, interior paint is simple to clean and stain-resistant.

To identify between different types of paint, one must first get familiar with the chemistry of each kind of paint. Take a look at the two types and note how they differ from one another in terms of specifics.

So, continue reading our article to delve deeper into the difference between interior and exterior paint.

You May Like: Difference Between Milk Paint And Chalk Paint

What Makes Interior Paint Different From Exterior Paint

While the interior and exterior paints are intended to add color and character to your house or company, there is a distinction in how they do it. Interior paint is made to resist stains and scouring, making it look fantastic even after spills or cleaning.

Outside paints are meant to keep your homes exterior looking its best by resisting fading, cracking, mildew, and other problems caused by exposure to the environment. Heres how interior and exterior paint differ when it comes to pigments, resins, solvents, and additives.


Interior paints dont need as many additives because they dont have to deal with potentially dangerous circumstances. However, exterior coatings must withstand a variety of weather conditions, wind storms and other environmental conditions.

Additional compounds that assist the paint to withstand fading, handle fluctuating temperatures, and even prevent cracking are utilized to help with this. Mildecides are also used in exterior paints to inhibit the growth of mildew, mold, and algae.


Pigments, or finely ground ingredients, are used to paint its color. There are two types of pigment, including organic pigment and synthetic pigment. Organic pigments are brighter than synthetic pigments.



Adhesion Power:

Exterior Paint: A Quick Overview

What are the Differences between Interior and Exterior Painting? Check ...

Meant for painting the outside of different buildings, exterior paint has additives to make it weatherproof. It can withstand rain, snow, sleet, and any other inclement weather. Plus, its built to handle years of hard sunlight without fading or cracking. Its also very durable to avoid chipping and flaking when the wind blows twigs and other debris against your home.

To make a more durable paint, extra resins and additional additives are used. These will cause outgassing while the paint dries. Most of the off gassing will take place in a few days, but it will continue slowly for up to several years. Mildecides are also used to prevent mold and mildew. These can cause respiratory issues if inhaled.

Wondering if you can use exterior paint inside? Check out my article Can You Use Exterior Paint Inside? for a more in-depth look.

Don’t Miss: Step By Step Painting Acrylic

What Is The Difference Between Oil

Water-based paints have binders and pigments that make them blend with water. The water behaves like a carrier and will evaporate to leave the color on the surface.

Such latex-painted surfaces hold the color better, and cleaning them is easier. Water paints contain fewer VOCs, and so they are friendly compared to oil paints.

Also, when the paints are dry, the surface becomes flexible and durable. Such paint can be applied on ceilings, walls, and other surfaces.

Also, cleaning the brushes is easy, and it is easy to remove the spills using soap and water.

On the other hand, oil-based paints are loaded with natural oils such as soybean, Tung, and linseed. They also contain synthetic alkyds, pigments, and some solvents thinner.

When you spread the oil on the surface, the thinner will evaporate to leave behind pigments and resin that forms a long-lasting hard coat.

The trouble with oil-based paints is that they contain more VOCs. Therefore, they are not environmentally friendly. Also, the surfaces are hard to clean, so that the paint will work well on the baseboard, trim, and doors.

Note that the oils will take a longer time to dry, but when they do, it creates a hard film that is tough and durable. Also, cleaning up brushes and spills is difficult and may require that you use stronger solvents like turpentine, mineral spirits, and thinners.

Interior Paint: Main Traits

Interior paint is the coating that covers the interior surfaces of a building, including walls, ceilings, doors, and windows.

There are two main traits of this paint:

1. The formulation of it with solvents allows being applicable with the help of a brush or roller.

2. The colors are more muted than exterior paints because they have less direct sunlight contact during application.

3. It dries quickly so it does not require multiple coats to cover an area properly.

4. Interior paint has a low odor and requires little ventilation during application.

Also Check: Krylon Spray Paint Chalky Finish

What To Do If You Already Used Exterior Paint Inside

If you already used exterior paint inside, its a much more problematic situation, given the health hazards.

First, ventilate the room by opening windows, especially while the paint is drying. Stay out of the room as much as possible for a few weeks while the paint cures. If its cold outside, this may take a few months.

If youve used an oil-based paint and want to repaint the area, sand the wall down first before applying a new coat of interior paint.

The Main Ingredients In All Paint

The difference between Interior & Exterior Colour Wash paint

Both interior and exterior paints contain the same four basic components: Pigments, solvents, additives, and resins. Each ingredient plays a different role to produce a good product. Knowing what each component does will help determine what type of paint to use for any surface.

  • Pigments are finely ground particles applied to paint that make up the paints color. There are two types of pigments: prime and extender. Colorants are prime pigments that provide the actual color in the paint can. Organic colorants provide bright colors. Inorganic colorants are earthy colors and are more durable for exterior applications.
  • Solvents are the liquids that suspend the ingredients so that you can put the paint on surfaces. In water-based paints, the liquid is primarily water. For oil-based paints, the liquid is paint thinner made from a variety of solvents, which could include acetone, turpentine, naphtha, mineral spirits, and the like.
  • Additives give paint different properties. These include thickening agents, leveling agents, surfactants, emulsifiers, and biocides. These help with color accuracy, improve application, better adhesion and prevent mildew growth.
  • Resins bind the pigments together to create the paint film. Oil-based resins are made from oil derivatives such as linseed oil. Resins are the key ingredient that directly relates to paints performance characteristics.
  • Also Check: Best Warm White Paint Colors

    Difference : Toxin Levels

    A critical difference is that interior paint is often made to reduce VOCs as much as possible. VOCs or ‘Volatile Organic Compounds’ are breathable toxins released when paint is applied, which are nasty and harmful for humans. For interior paints being Low VOC is way more important because they’re applied in our living spaces. For exterior paint we have less regular exposure to these VOCs because they’re outdoors, so the hardiness of the paint is prioritised over being Low VOC.

    Interior paint has less nasty breathable toxins

    What Is The Difference Between Exterior And Interior Paint In A Home

    Paint is the easiest way to make your home look appealing. But not all paints are equal. What is the difference between exterior and interior paint?- It is a common question of many homeowners while buying paint for their new home.

    If you are one of them, no worries! We uphold in this article the key differences between exterior and interior paint in a home? Moreover, here are included some prolific tips for you to successfully end up any of your painting projects. Lets jump on it.

    You May Like: Best Finish For Exterior Paint

    Choose The Right Paint

    To better understand which paint is appropriate to use, it is important to understand the nature of paint, which is comprised of solvent, resin, additives, and pigments. Typically, the pigment of a paint is a powder that is mixed with a resin to give it its viscous property. It is not the pigment but the binding resins that make up the difference between exterior and interior paint.

    As for solvents and pigments, any pigment can be used in any paint regardless of what solvent or resin is added. While the resin binds the pigment, the additives present in a paint will vary, and depending on its intended uses, can be found in paint to prevent mildew among other things.

    When it comes to interior vs exterior paint, the biggest factor in choosing the correct paint comes down to how it reacts to its environment. For an exterior wall, one must consider weather conditions when choosing between interior paints and exterior paints. In some cases, interior paints can be used outside, but not the other way around. If an exterior wall is exposed to the elements, it can be completely ruined by rain if it is painted with a water-soluble paint.

    The way a paint dries will also affect your decision between paints, as oil paint gives off harmful fumes as it dries if kept in an enclosed area. These fumes can release VOCs or volatile organic compounds as it starts to cure and even after it?s finished curing, making exterior paint extremely unhealthy for indoor use.

    Tips For Exterior Painting

    Difference Between Interior and Exterior Paint? (Here Are the Details ...

    Go through the following tips as well. These handy tips might help you to complete any exterior painting project successfully.

    1. Start with a fresh surface- Remove any paint, dirt, dust, and debris from the surface before starting the job.

    2. Use brushes for small areas- For very small areas like window sills or door frames, use a brush instead of a roller because it will make your work more precise and easier to clean up afterward.

    3. Clean up as you go- If there is excess paint or if something spills on the surface, then wipe it off immediately with a damp cloth so that you dont have to worry about waiting until later when it dries out completely before cleaning up your mess.

    4. Keep in mind that, its always better to work quickly and take more time in the later stages.

    5. Paint from the ides of the wall- Begin at one end and work your way up. This makes painting a more convenient process. Because it causes less paint to be wasted on some parts that you will not eventually use for completing the job successfully.

    You May Like: How Much For Car Paint Job

    How Do Exterior And Interior Paints Differ

    Interior paints may be water-based or oil-based. These paints have different adhesive properties that range from semi-gloss to flat to a high gloss.

    You can choose to paint over water-based and oil-based after applying the stain block sealer or primer. Also, you can decide to apply oil-based paints over the oil-based paints after they dry. But to do this, you will need to scuff the glossy surface with some piece of sandpaper.

    Expert Interior And Exterior Painters

    At , we specialize in interior and exterior painting for and buildings. We have been providing excellent painting solutions and incredible customer service to our community for over 30 years. Our trained professionals have the knowledge of best practices to produce a high-quality result indoors and out. To learn more about our painting services or to request an estimate, today!

    You May Like: How To Match Wall Paint

    So Can I Use Exterior Paint Indoors

    Nope. Both Exterior and Interior paints exist because they’re specially formulated for the job in-or-outdoors. Interior paint used outdoors won’t stand up to the elements and will look terrible pretty quickly. Exterior paint used indoors won’t take the scuffs and stains of daily life and is likely to be pretty harmful in terms of VOC levels.

    There are some ‘multi-purpose’ paints out there, but you’ll always be compromising on something. So it’s always better to choose the right paint for the job to get the best long-lasting result.

    Moisture & Temperature Resistance

    Difference between Interior Paint and Exterior Paint

    Moisture and Temperature Resistance is major difference between interior and exterior paint.

    Interior paint has a moisture resistance of 20 to 40 hours, while exterior paint can have a range of 4 to 10 days. This paint also tends to be water-based while exterior paint is oil-based.

    Interior paints are often more expensive than exterior paints. Moreover, you need to mix it with water before use. But one plus point is they offer a much longer life span.

    Read Also: What Size Air Compressor For Painting

    What Happens If You Use Interior Paint Outside

    Interior paint may not withstand extreme temperature and UV. Also, when used, they give a more porous finish. Thus, the paint will either fade or crack. Also, it may change to chalk or powder. Also, they crack and flake more quickly.

    As such, it may not be of use when used as outdoor paint. Also, the finish may be too porous, which makes the paint fade fast.

    Of course, there are temptations to try to use the interior paint outside because it is cheap. Some people may want to use it because they like the color.

    But using the paint on the outside does not add value to your home.

    The paint is not freeze-thaw it will fade, crack and break down faster. Also, the paint is porous and lacks the resin needed to bind it to the exterior surfaces.

    Whats more, is that the paint is likely to flake and crack. Further, it hardens and protects it from elements that may weaken and reduce the time it adheres on surfaces.

    But you can use the interior paint on interior walls, slabs, and concrete. All you need to do is carry out some prep work like cleaning the surfaces, filling the cracks, and using sealers.

    Also, using interior paint on exterior surfaces may require that you give it an additional coat to reduce exposure to sunlight and other adverse weather effects.

    Interior And Exterior Paints Are They Interchangeable

    For the most part, paints are very similar. While there are oil and water based paints, which do have some chemical differences, all paint comprises of resin, solvent and pigment. But there are key differences between some kinds of paints that may be more suited for application on certain surfaces. Paints can also vary in their appearance and finish. Matte, Low sheen, Semi-gloss & Gloss varieties can be chosen for their respective looks, with each differing in terms of sheen, reflectivity, durability, etc.

    So what about exterior and interior paints? Are there considerable differences between the two?

    Also Check: Modern Office Office Paint Colors

    The Difference Between Interior And Exterior Paints

    Painting is a great way to breathe new life into your home or business, from exterior siding to interior details and everything in between. However, before you start your next paint project, its important to know which paint is best for which surfaces or locations. Why? Because you want the best results, and interior and exterior paints have a number of differences that make them best suited for specific projects. Heres a look at the difference between interior and exterior paints.

    Can You Use Interior Paint Outside

    What are the Differences between Interior and Exterior Painting? Check ...

    The short answer is no. Interior paints should not be used outside because they lack the additives necessary to withstand the outdoor elements.

    But, besides the durability concerns, interior paint is thinner than exterior paint, so it doesnt adhere well to exterior surfaces, and youd need apply additional coats to achieve the same coverage. Even with multiple coats, it wont look as even as it would with exterior paint.

    Lastly, it takes longer for interior paint to dry since its not designed to dry in outdoor elements.

    Even if you manage to get decent coverage with interior paint, the job is not done. Over time, youll notice that interior paint on outdoor surfaces will fade and crack, forcing you to do touch-ups more frequently.

    Recommended Reading: Sherwin Williams Paint For Sale


    Related articles