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What is the difference between Exterior and Interior Paint?

If you’ve ever walked into a paint store or the paint department at your local hardware store, you know how overwhelming it can be. There are dozens of different brands, types, qualities, and finishes of paint to choose from. That’s not even to mention the color options.

Those options are one of many reasons to consider hiring a professional that knows the ins and outs of each of those products and how to help you get the best out of your painting project.

Here’s a quick primer on the two basic types of paint – interior and exterior – to give you a little insight into the wide array of options.

The Recipe

Whether interior, exterior, industrial, or bargain-priced, all paint is made of the same basic elements:

  • Solvents – suspend the paint and evaporates as it dries
  • Resins – harden to create the finish “shell”
  • Pigments – color
  • Additives – these can vary

The ratio, particular makeup, and specifics of each of these vary across products and these variations can be limitless. Latex paints use water solvents instead of oil, for example. Shinier finishes use harder resins. Less expensive paints use more solvents to lower costs.

The details in those variations make different paint products more suitable to specific conditions, substrates, or locations. Knowing what goes where can be difficult.

Interior Paint

Paint designed to go indoors has to be able to do a few things. First, it has to hold up to scrubbing, scuffing, and the oils in your hands. It does not, however, have to survive extreme temperatures, sunlight, or excessive moisture.

As such, these paints have harder, more rigid resins. They make the paint last longer without losing color or sheen even as your family might abuse it.

The right painting professional can help you decide not only what level of protection you need but can help you parse the dozens of possible additives, as well.  Some of these additive options can reduce odors in a room, cover and prevent stains, or even kill bacteria.

Exterior Paint

When you hire someone to paint your home’s exterior, the products they’ll use need to be able to do different things. They have to avoid fading in the harsh sunlight. They need to be able to hold up to rain, snow, and ice without mildewing or allowing that moisture to penetrate into your walls.

Some brands and paint lines are made with mildewcides and fungicides. Others are made with resins that are more pliable, making exterior paint more likely to scuff and less scrubbable than interior products but less likely to crack. Exterior paints also release significantly more volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than interior paints as they dry and cure.

Premium brands like Behr Paint or Benjamin Moore Paint carry wide varieties of products made for sunny spots, shady areas, marine applications, wood, vinyl, brick, and more. The options can be overwhelming and confusing.

The Right Paint Makes a Difference

As paint technology continues to advance and more specialty options and features hit the paint store shelves, choosing the right product is getting more complicated.

Hiring a professional for your painting projects means you don’t have to waste hours, days, or weeks doing the work yourself. It also means that you’ll get straighter lines and better-looking finishes. Just as important, it means you will get years of professional knowledge and understanding of which products work best for your project.

When you’re ready to get started on your next painting project, be sure to reach out to us to get your free, reliable estimate.