Painting the outside of your home, or just painting outside in general, can be much more difficult than internal painting work. You need to use paints that can resist a wide range of different weather conditions and types of damage, especially if you’re painting natural wood or something that’s normally quite vulnerable to things like rotting and warping.
It needs to not only match your climate and material type, but also has to be flexible enough to deal with freak weather without flaking apart or cracking – and, sometimes, you need more than just the paint to make sure that it will stay attached properly during the drying process.
The ten paints below are ones that we’ve personally picked out as some of the best exterior paint we could find, along with a description of what makes them great.
View the Best Exterior Paint, Below.
- Rust-Oleum 1990502 Painters Touch Latex
- KILZ Premium High-Hide Latex Primer
- Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser
- Diamond Brite Paint 31000
- KILZ Exterior Siding, Fence and Barn Paint
- KILZ 2 Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Paint
- KILZ Interior/Exterior Enamel Floor Paint
- Valspar 3125-70 Barn and Fence Latex Paint
- RTG Deck, Porch & Patio Anti-Slip Paint
- Rust-Oleum Zinsser Exterior Satin
1. Rust-Oleum 1990502 Painters Touch LatexRead Customer Reviews →
This paint can be used on a variety of different surfaces both indoors and outdoors, ranging from conventional materials like ceramic and treated wood to things like metal and canvas. Its formula is designed to be as adhesive as possible, attaching to most house walls and outdoor structures without needing a prep layer or any primer, although you can still use them if you want to be sure that the paint will stick properly.
It dries to the touch in only thirty minutes, meaning that you can do you home in patches without needing to sit outside all day monitoring its progress, and uses a formula designed to reduce how much of an odor it creates while it’s still wet. Being a partially-latex-based paint, it can be cleaned with water and soap rather than specialized cleaning gear, meaning that rainwater will generally clean it rather than doing any direct damage.
This paint is great for quick, simple jobs on smaller walls and structures.Check Price on Amazon ➞
2. KILZ Premium High-Hide Latex PrimerRead Customer Reviews →
KILZ have crated this stain-blocking primer to help you get a uniform finish on almost any surface, even those that would normally need to have an undercoat done before your main one. It’s incredibly adhesive to most surfaces both indoors and out, sealing holes in porous surfaces to leave a smooth canvas for your regular paint – it can work on materials like plaster, masonry, brick and even bare wood. Each five-gallon bucket can cover up to twenty-thousand square feet, giving you enough to easily coat your entire home’s exterior walls with at least one layer before you start laying down paint.
The odor-free, low-VOC formula means that you won’t be putting you or your pets in any danger while it dries, and you won’t need to worry about it releasing any toxic fumes if it’s hit by bad weather. As a water-based primer, it can be cleaned with as little as some water, some soap, and a cloth, although you can also use more powerful cleaning solutions of you feel the need.
This paint can block stains and keep your walls protected, even in extreme weather.Check Price on Amazon ➞
3. Rust-Oleum 2004 ZinsserRead Customer Reviews →
This primer’s main feature is its rust inhibitor, which keeps metal surfaces safe from rust and general water damage without weakening it structurally. Since it doesn’t generally require sanding, unlike a lot of similar primers, you can easily add a layer to almost any surface and still end up with a smooth, even base for your paint to stick to. Each quart-sized can cover up to one-hundred square feet, depending on the exact conditions and the way that you’re applying it.
Once it’s dry, the primer will help protect your surface from mildew, mold and moisture thanks to its water-based formula, and won’t have any bad reactions with either high-pH surfaces like concrete or low-pH ones like natural wood. It can work with any oil-based or latex-based paints, regardless of whether or not they have their own primer mixed in too.
This versatile primer helps protect exterior walls of all kinds, even if they’re made of less common materials.Check Price on Amazon ➞
4. Diamond Brite Paint 31000Read Customer Reviews →
This all-purpose paint is durable, tough and easy to apply on both indoor and outdoor surfaces, even things like exposed metal, concrete and high-density fibreboard/hardboard. It can be applied with any standard tool including rollers and sprayers and is able to shrug off most physical damage without showing any signs of cracking or peeling. A one-gallon can is able to cover three-hundred square feet in a single coat.
Although this paint takes a while to dry, being touchable in up to eight hours and ready for a recoat in a day, the end result is incredibly strong both in terms of physical durability, and it's resistance to moisture damage, as well as freezing. It doesn’t usually need a primer coat, although it will still give you more consistent results if you use one, and will last an extremely long time even in climates where weather damage is common for most other types of paint.
This paint can be applied almost instantly to your home, adding an extra protective layer in less than a day of waiting.Check Price on Amazon ➞
5. KILZ Exterior Siding, Fence and Barn PaintRead Customer Reviews →
This outdoor paint is able to stick to almost any wooden surface, no matter what angle you need to paint it at, and can even cover vertical walls with hardly any dripping or splashing. The oil-and-water formula makes it incredibly adhesive and versatile while also giving it a long life and plenty of extra durability, allowing it to resist peeling and major cracks without showing any obvious signs of damage.
Each one-gallon can is able to cover two-hundred square feet, raising to five-hundred square feet if the surface has been properly prepared beforehand. Although it’s marketed as barn paint, it can be an amazing product for your home – it doesn’t just stick to wood, but also things like masonry and glossed materials. The three hours of touch-dry time translates to about eight hours between coats, although you may only need a single coat if you’re in a climate that generally has great weather.
This paint can work wonders on wood, but can also protect other surfaces from cracking and peeling.Check Price on Amazon ➞
6. KILZ 2 Multi-Surface Stain Blocking PaintRead Customer Reviews →
This combination primer/sealer helps prepare a surface for a new coat in only an hour, being safe to touch in as little as thirty minutes after you put your brush down. This drying speed compliments its durability since this multi-purpose primer paint can resist multiple different kinds of stains, ranging from simple ones like water to less common types of stain damage, such as grease, oil, and ink. The sealing part of the formula helps make porous surfaces more suitable for future painting, creating a hidden layer that stops it seeping into the material.
This one-gallon can is capable of covering up to four-hundred square feet, giving you an easy way to prepare your entire home in an afternoon, and can be used with nearly any other kind of paint to get great results. It completely hides the previous colors, meaning that they won’t affect the tint and tone of the new paint you’re laying down, and keeps the material underneath almost completely safe from physical and moisture-related damages in any kind of weather.
This primer applies and dries quickly, so it’s great for short-notice repairs and redesigns.Check Price on Amazon ➞
7. KILZ Interior/Exterior Enamel Floor PaintRead Customer Reviews →
This floor paint is specially designed to protect patios and wooden extensions of any kind from both weather-related and physical damage, able to resist all kinds of scuffing and cracking without being vulnerable to mildew, mold and seeping water. The acrylic paint comes in one-gallon cans that can cover up to four-hundred square feet of smooth materials, or about three-hundred if used on rough surfaces without any primer.
Although it is designed to be applied with a paint roller or brush, you can also use it in a sprayer to reach areas that can't be painted by hand or to save you time when finishing off small sections you missed. The low-sheen acrylic formula makes this one of the best exterior paint types for revamping your wooden flooring, since it won’t look out of place no matter what kind of style you’ve chosen for your home, especially in climates that demand a lot of protection from rain.
This paint can resist all kinds of weather, even if it would normally get into the material behind it.Check Price on Amazon ➞
8. Valspar 3125-70 Barn and Fence Latex PaintRead Customer Reviews →
Like the previous type of barn paint, this oil and latex paint is incredibly durable, offering an amazing level of weather resistance in both hot and cold climates. Its ability to withstand conditions that would make other paint fade keeps it vivid during heavy sunlight, and prevents it from flaking or cracking due to the direct heat. It can be used on a variety of surfaces other than just wood, including weathered steel, aluminum, primed metal, and regular or primed masonry.
It only takes about twenty minutes to dry, less in hot weather and is ready for a second coat within four hours of when you finish first painting it. If used on wood, it completely conceals any exposed wood grain sections and can easily be top-layered if you need extra protection or gloss, and will often even work well as a middle coating between a primer and another type of paint.
This paint can provide full protection to whatever it’s applied to, even raw, untreated wood.Check Price on Amazon ➞
9. RTG Deck, Porch & Patio Anti-Slip PaintRead Customer Reviews →
This anti-slip paint is an excellent choice for homeowners who want to revamp and refurbish their outdoor patios, walkways or decks, offering them plenty of protection regardless of what material they're made from. It can be applied to wood, masonry and even concrete without needing to be primed, provided the surfaces are properly prepared and will cover up to one-hundred square feet from a single one-quart can.
After two coats, it develops an incredible level of resistance to both physical wear and weather damage, as well as being able to withstand fading from sunlight in most situations. The thick formula helps you grip onto the floor in icy or wet weather, reducing the chance of you falling over, even if you're barefoot. The paint isn't abrasive or damaging to other top layers and can be easily cleaned with a wet cloth and some soap to get rid of dirt and accidental stains.
This deck paint can be useful for last-minute repairs and long-term projects alike, protecting regardless of how thick the coat is.Check Price on Amazon ➞
10. Rust-Oleum Zinsser Exterior SatinRead Customer Reviews →
Rust-Oleum has designed this paint to be as resistant to mold, mildew, and moisture as possible, staying white in even the most humid conditions. The self-priming formula allows it to be applied to nearly any surface without preparation, making it a great choice for short-notice DIY work and uses a mildewcide to directly kill off mold growths rather than just containing them. It can even stay in one piece during sudden weather changes.
Not only that, but the paint is able to resist plenty of physical punishment and stains once it dries, including dirt and snow. It can be cleaned with nothing but soap and water, which won’t reduce the lifespan of your paint whatsoever, meaning that it can last a long time even in situations where it’s always getting dirty. This might be one of the best exterior paints for muddy climates or locations where flooding and patches of mold are fairly common.
This paint kills mold, making it useful in really humid or wet climates and environments.Check Price on Amazon ➞
Exterior Paint Buyer’s Guide
Finding the best exterior paint possible isn’t an easy task, and there’s a lot of different factors that can play into whether or not a certain brand will fit your requirements. If you’re going in blind, you could end up buying something that’s not even meant to be used in your climate, or even intended to be used outdoors at all – make sure you know exactly what you’re supposed to be looking for before you spend any money on anything, or you could end up overinflating your budget with paint, primer and other paint-like agents that you don’t even need.
A paint’s formula determines almost everything about where and when it should be used, so it’s possibly the most important part of any paint you could buy. There are well over two dozen distinct types of paint out in the world, some of which you’ll see on a daily basis and others that you might never cross paths with during your life. The most common – water-based – is usually the easiest to clean, but can also suffer problems with drying in moist environments, since they’ll keep absorbing water from the air: this can mean that they don’t dry properly, or at the very least take much longer to dry.
Oil-based paints are more resistant to the environment as well as general wear and tear but can take longer to dry and might require more preparation before you can use them well. Some formulas can contain more VOCs than others, which makes them more dangerous to paint within enclosed areas without much ventilation – if you live in a crowded urban area, you should be careful with high-VOC paints, especially around pets.
A paint’s finish changes how it looks when it’s dried and settled, and can often completely alter how a surface looks whether you want it to or not. Matte and ‘flat’ paints won’t add much extra shine, but can seem dull in dark light or enclosed spaces: if you have a lot of outdoor lights, it won’t help reflect the light around much since there’s nothing for it to bounce off, giving you a slightly darker garden or yard as a result.
Glossy paint is the exact opposite, being very shiny – sometimes to a standard that makes it uncomfortable to look at. Of course, this depends on your climate and how bright the sun usually is in that area, as well as how much glossy paint you actually use. The same results can be achieved with a varnish after coat, although these are never a mandatory part of any painting work. ‘Eggshell’ and satin paints strike a balance between the two, being slightly reflective without causing the light to glare.
Priming Agents and Extra Coats
Priming your surface before painting it gives you a better chance of getting the result you want, but it essentially requires you to lay down a second layer (except in cases where the primer can be mixed into existing paint), which can make it take twice as long to finish painting your home. In general, priming agents work best on rough surfaces that would otherwise have too many holes and bumps to keep normal paint smooth.
There’s also bonding agents and varnishes: the former will help paint stick to surfaces it normally wouldn’t and has to be applied before you actually begin painting, while the latter is great for achieving a post-dry gloss finish on a paint that is too matte for your tastes.
Should I use this Paint Indoors?
You can technically use any paint anywhere you want, but that doesn’t mean it’ll look right or work as expected. If you really need to use the same paint both indoors and outdoors, make sure you check with the manufacturer to see if there’s anything you should know – some paints might give off VOCs that could make the room inhospitable until you add enough ventilation or let it settle, whereas others might actually cause damage to some types of interior wall.
Should I try to mix my Paints?
Mixing indoor paints is difficult, but outdoor paints differ so much that mixing two different paints from different manufacturers can be almost impossible in certain cases. This is because they’re often made to stick to specific materials, and there are far more potential materials for the outside of a house than there is for the inside.
If you’re using a ladder, remember to always rest it on unpainted parts of the wall – even if your paint has dried to the touch, the full weight of the top of the ladder could weaken it again, leaving clear cracks or discolored spots at the very top of the wall.
Did you know?
If you brush your paint back towards parts you’ve already painted, you’ll end up with a much smoother layer when it dries, rather than having clearly-visible vertical stripes.