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What Type of Paint is Best for Exteriors?

Read Time: 4 minutes


  • For a successful DIY exterior paint job, it’s important to have the right materials on hand and the correct type of paint for the job.
  • Water-based paints are more durable in varying weather conditions, while oil-based paints are stain-resistant, easy to apply and less prone to blistering.
  • Sheen finishes are available in flat, satin, gloss and semi gloss.
  • The type of paint you choose for your home depends on the wall material.
  • Latex paint is best for stucco, brick, tile and vinyl siding, while oil-based paint can be used on wood or fiber cement. Metal and concrete walls will need specialized paints.
  • Cleaning methods and paint types vary greatly based on material, so visit your local Doug Ashy store for more guidance.

If the exterior finish of your home is cracking, peeling, or blistering, a new coat of paint could be just what you need. Homeowners can fairly easily give their home a boost of curb appeal and property value with a fresh paint job, but it’s important to have the right materials on hand and the correct type of paint for the job. Check out these tips on picking the perfect paint for the outside of your home, no matter the material.

Types of Exterior Paint

There are two types of exterior paint, water-based and solvent-based.

Water-based (acrylic & latex)—Water-based paints dry quickly and clean easily, only requiring soap and water. They also expand and contract with the temperature, which makes them durable in varying weather conditions and last longer without cracking.

Oil-based (alkyd)—Oil-based paints take longer to dry, require paint thinner or turpentine to clean and have a strong odor. However, they’re stain-resistant, easy to apply and less prone to blistering. It’s important to note that latex shouldn’t be applied over an oil-based paint because this will cause the latex paint to peel.

Types of Sheen

While there are two main types of exterior paint, there are varying degrees of sheen that can be applied to your home. It’s possible for manufacturers to have another name for the sheen they produce, but the four general classifications of sheen are:

Flat—Hides flaws well, easy to touch-up and doesn’t spatter much when applied. Best used on aluminum and vinyl siding that’s been scratched or dented.

Satin—Works well on siding that’s in good shape, as it provides a moderate sheen that’s easily cleaned.

Gloss—Great for window casings and door jambs. It’s the toughest finish that cleans easy and doesn’t scuff. However, this finish shows imperfections more than the others.

Semi-gloss—Suitable for casings and trim work but have less shine than gloss. These finishes are durable and easy to clean.

Picking the Right Paint for Different Materials

Paint applies differently to different materials. Some materials are easier to work with than others and they all have things to bear in mind. Doug Ashy’s expert staff can give you the know-how for applying perfect coats of paint, but in the meantime, check out these tips for painting on different exterior materials.

Brick—Paint is typically difficult to remove from brick. The recommended way to remove paint from brick is to clean it with a wire brush, paying careful attention not to scrape away any mortar. Then it can washed with soapy water or diluted muriatic acid and rinsed. When dry, apply a coat of latex primer before painting with exterior latex.

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile—Decorative tile on steps or frames can be cleaned with light sanding, using fine sandpaper such as 150-grit or higher. Clean with soapy water and rinse thoroughly. When dry, use a latex primer before applying latex paint.

Concrete—Check first that concrete slabs aren’t drawing up ground moisture, or paint won’t dry properly. Clean concrete slabs or steps in the same way as brick, with a wire brush then with soapy water or diluted muriatic acid. Rinse and let dry, then use primer and paint specially made for concrete.

Stucco—When painting old stucco, you’ll need to clean the exterior using a large brush or pressure washer. Then fill in cracks with caulk or dry stucco and water mixture, allowing the stucco to cure as directed on the package. Completely new stucco takes about 4 weeks to cure properly. Once cured, use a latex primer meant for masonry, then follow with one or two coats of exterior latex.

Fiber-Cement—Don’t try to sand fiber-cement. Use a masonry primer first, then either latex or oil-based paint. Don’t use oil paint on unprimed fiber-cement.

Aluminum and Other Metals—Use fine-grit sandpaper to remove rust or scale. Wipe clean, then prime and coat with exterior paint made for metal.

Vinyl Siding—Replace old or discolored vinyl siding. Large dents, holes, or cracks are nearly impossible to repair. If you’re in a pinch, pressure wash it and paint with latex.

Wood—Sand away bad spots with progressively finer grits until the wood feels smooth. Brush away any dust, and paint with a stain-blocking primer. Then add two coats of latex or oil-based paint.

DIY homeowners can breathe new life into their homes with a few paint touch-ups or a whole new look, but it’s important to pick the right kind of paint for your home’s exterior before starting on a project. Visit your local Doug Ashy store for affordable paint and materials, as well as more advice from our friendly staff on picking the right type of paint.


If you enjoyed this blog you may also like our blogs, Painting Like a Pro and Pro Tips for Painting a Home’s Exterior & Siding!

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