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How to Choose Exterior Paint

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.

Choosing the Right Exterior Paint

The best results start with high-quality paint. Water-based latex paints are preferable to oil-based paints for most exterior applications. These formulas are flexible enough to expand and contract with the siding on a house. They’re also breathable (so they won't trap moisture and crack or peel), dry significantly faster than oil-based paints and are easy to clean with soap and water.

Water-based paint can be applied over oil-based paint, but oil-based paint shouldn't be applied over water-based.

Exterior Paint Sheens

Here are things to consider when choosing an exterior paint finish:


Flat paint is non-reflective and easy to apply and touch up. It minimizes the appearance of minor surface imperfections and is great for use on siding and fences.


Satin enamel paint creates a pearl-like finish that’s durable, dirt-resistant and moisture-resistant. It’s also a great choice for siding.


Semi-gloss is a radiant sheen that creates a hard, durable finish. It’s formulated to withstand wear and resist moisture. Use on doors, trim and outdoor furniture.


A hi-gloss sheen offers a brilliant, shiny appearance and a durable, glass-like finish that allows dirt and grime to be wiped clean. Use on doors, trim and outdoor furniture. Glossy finishes are not recommended for siding.

Colour Selection

When selecting a colour, keep your home’s surroundings in mind. Do you want your home to stand out or blend in? Also consider the amount of light your home receives during the day. For shady areas, you may want a lighter colour to reflect more natural light, whereas sunny areas can handle a darker shade.

To make your colour choices easier, visit the Behr® Colour Solutions Centre at The Home Depot to explore exterior colour options. Behr® 8 oz. sample jars let you test your colour selection on your home's exterior surfaces with minimal investment.

Behr Exterior Paints


Is a stain-blocking paint and primer that features Behr's most advanced dirt and fade protection technology. It creates a tough, non-stick surface that looks freshly painted for longer, even under severe weather conditions.

Premium Plus®

Is a 100% acrylic, low-VOC formula that provides a mildew-resistant, all-climate protection finish.


Is a high-performance paint and primer in one that provides ultimate durability and excellent hide with fewer coats. It features Nanoguard® technology, which forms a protective shell to resist dirt, scuffs and mildew.

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.

Outdoor Surface
What You Should Know

Oil and latex paints available; 100% acrylic latex lends the best results

Provides weather-resistant coverage for garages, porches, decks and concrete surfaces

Gutter Paint

Oil and latex paints 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 paints available, with latex a more popular choice due to its quick drying time and scrubbability

Withstands wear and exposure to severe weather conditions


Usually latex paint formulas

Ideal for stucco, concrete, cement and shingles

May 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 of paint

Most are mildew and algae-proof

Should not be used for waterproofing or to repair roof leaks

Can be tinted to match roof colour

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

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