How to Choose the Right Type of Exterior Paint

So how do you define what really is an exterior paint? There’s no one set of rules that can tell you exactly what defines an exterior paint. There’s nothing to stop you from using an interior paint on the outside of your home. It’s just that paints that are formulated for exterior use are going to be more suitable because of the way they’re made.
You can break all household paints down into two basic categories – they’re either solvent based or water based. Solvent based paints covers all your oil and alkyd types of paints. Water based paints tend to fall under the label of latex type paints.
Water based paints are easier to apply and much easier to tidy up afterwards and also tend not to be as rough on your wallet as the solvent based paints. The main problem with using water based paint on the exterior of your home is the lack of something very, very important. This little something is called chalking.
Chalking is a process where the paint slowly wears away and turns into a type of dust – like chalk. As the outside of your home gets a mixture of sunshine and rain this chalky dust gets removed naturally and your exterior paint finish always looks fresh.
The main problem with using solvent or oil based paints is that they take much longer to dry to the touch and are more difficult to apply. Also another nuisance is that if you haven’t masked the room off properly anything that gets drops of an oil based paint on it will be very difficult to clean – this includes your rollers and brushes.
Oil based paints win out when it comes to versatility and the range of colors they come in. You can apply an oil based paint to pretty much any surface and it will tend to stick there. The same can’t be said of water based paints – especially when it comes to anything with a metal or metallic finish.
Which type of paint you choose is going to be down to the type of job you have at hand. Try buying a small amount of both types of paints in the shade you want and paint a small hidden patch of whatever exterior surface you want to renovate. You won’t be able to spot any peeling problems straight away but at least you’ll have a good idea of what the finished “product” will look like.
At least now you know your paints and can make an informed choice.