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Exterior Paints

Exterior Paint Scene

Freshen Up with Exterior Paint

Add striking and lasting curb appeal by painting your home's exterior. A coat of paint not only creates an attractive appearance for years to come, it also protects exterior surfaces from moisture, fading and temperature changes. High-quality paint will provide better protection, complete coverage, easier application and longer-lasting results. When it comes to buying paint, you have lots of choices, some determined by your application and others that are based solely on your preference.


Exterior Painting Tip:

Most exterior paints will not dry at temperatures cooler than 10°C, so check the label for temperature ranges before starting.


Choosing the Right Exterior Paint

Water-Based vs. Oil-Based Paint

Behr Premium Plus Exterior Latex Paint

In general, water-based paints are preferred for most exterior applications, but oil-based paints may perform better under certain conditions. Water-based paints are flexible enough to expand and contract with the siding on a house, they're breathable, so they won't trap moisture and crack or peel, and they dry significantly faster. Oil paints usually take between 8 and 24 hours to dry, while water-based paints dry in just 1 to 6 hours. Oil-based paints offer better adhesion and stain blocking, making them more ideal for chalky surfaces, stained surfaces, bleeding woods (tannin or sap) and metals that rust.

CIL Dulux Exterior Alkyd Paint
  • Water-based paint can be applied over oil-based paint, but oil-based paint shouldn't be applied over water-based
  • On surfaces with four or more coats of oil paint, stick with oil since a water-based paint may cause the oil paint to pull away and crack
  • Latex paints with an all-acrylic binder hold up to weather better than latex paints with a vinyl-acrylic binder
View All Exterior Paints
Paint Base Description Major Advantages
Water-Based (acrylic; latex) Consist of a pigment and binder with water used as carrier.
  • Better gloss and colour retention
  • Breathable (won't trap moisture)
  • Quicker drying
  • Less odour
  • Nonflammable
  • Soap and water cleanup
  • Low VOCs (Volatile Organic Chemicals)
Oil-Based (alkyd) Consist of a pigment and resin in a solvent thinner. When thinners evaporate, the resins form a hard coating, leaving behind the pigment (which provides the colour).
  • Better surface penetration
  • Wearability
  • Better flow and levelling
  • Dries to a smoother finish with fewer brush/roller marks


Flat finishes are generally used for siding and fences as they hide imperfections better than glossier finishes, but they do not clean as well. Satin finishes are ideal for most surfaces and have a slight gloss; they are easier to clean than flat paints and hide imperfections well. Glossier paints create a hard, shiny, durable finish that's easy to clean. Glossy paints bring out details, so they're usually preferred for trim, doors and outdoor furniture. Since they accentuate imperfections, they are not well suited for siding.

Primers and Formula Types


CIL Dulux Exterior Alkyd Primer Behr Premium Plus Exterior Latex Primer

Bare wood and some other bare surfaces need to be primed before you paint them. Like paints, primers come in oil- and water-based varieties. Oil-based primers are suitable for use with oil- or water-based paints, so you could prime a chalky surface with oil-based primer for better adhesion and still take advantage of the benefits of latex paint. Water-based primer is not recommended for use under oil-based paint.

  • Water-based primers are recommended for most applications, but oil-based primers are preferable for stained wood, bleeding wood (sap or tannin) and metals that rust
  • Oil-based primers can be used with any paint, but water-based primer should only be used with water-based paint
  • There are specific primers for wood, concrete and certain metals, such as galvanized steel, iron and aluminum

Some exterior paints are a combination paint and primer in one.



BEHR PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA™ is a high-performance paint and primer in one. There's no need to use a separate primer on new or existing surfaces, even when you're making drastic colour changes. BEHR PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA™ is formulated with advanced NANOGUARD® technology for a denser, more durable paint film. Save time and money on all your painting projects with this one-can paint solution.

  • High-performance paint and primer in one can
  • No need to use a separate primer, even when making drastic colour changes
  • Most colours completely hide with two coats, delivering enhanced tones and more colour depth
  • Superior coverage and touch-up
  • New designer palette, with large colour chips and sample jars
  • Low-VOC water-based paint. Fewer than 50 grams per litre of volatile organic compounds

Formula Types

Exterior paints have to contend with extreme weather conditions and are therefore designed to meet the specific requirements of your substrate. Paint types include: floor/porch, gutter, house/siding, masonry, pool/marine and roof.

Paint Type What You Should Know
  • Oil and latex available; 100% acrylic latex lends the best results
  • Provides weather resistant coverage for garages, porches, decks and concrete surfaces
Gutter Paint
  • Oil and latex are both available; oil is better for tin gutters
  • Adheres well to galvanized steel and aluminum
  • A galvanized metal primer must be applied before painting
  • Oil and latex formulations available
  • Will withstand wear and exposure to severe weather conditions
  • Manufacturers offer specific formulations for regional climates
  • Usually latex
  • Ideal for stucco, concrete, cement and shingles
  • Most require a special pretreatment or bonding primer
  • Look for a polymerized cement-based product for concrete pools
  • Look for paints that provide stain and abrasion resistance
  • Be sure to check for compatibility with your surface (pool, concrete deck or spa)
  • Look for an acrylic-latex blend
  • Most are mildew- and algae-proof
  • Should not be used for waterproofing or to repair roof leaks
  • Can be tinted to match roof colour

Weather Considerations

Direct sunlight and wind may cause paint to dry too quickly and create lap marks. In addition, strong winds may cause settled dirt to become airborne and adhere to the painted surface.

Painting Accessories

With a great selection of painting accessories, The Home Depot can help you paint like a pro.

Paint Brushes

Dynamic Flowline Angle Sash Paint Brush View All Brushes

Paint Rollers

5-Wire Paint Roller Frame View All Rollers

Drop Cloths

StainPro Canvas Drop Cloth View All Drop Cloths
View All Painting Accessories

We help make your painting projects easier. Visit our Paint page for project ideas, checklists, calculators and more!

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