2023 Guide to Choosing the Best Exterior Paint

Painter holding yellow brush

Need Help?

From preparation to finishing touches, our team works quickly, efficiently, and professionally.

choosing the best exterior paint

Once a homeowner decides it’s time to paint their home exterior, there remains the job of wading through the seemingly endless options in color. As if that wasn’t confusing enough, there are also different types of paint to choose from – each with various benefits, drawbacks, and price points.

With the right guidance and forethought, selecting the right paint for the job can be a relatively straightforward process. In this guide, we’ll discuss the necessary factors to consider when choosing exterior paint, as well as provide tips on how to ensure a successful and satisfying end result. Let’s get started!

Types of Exterior Paint

Before delving into more specifics, it’s important to understand the different types of exterior paints available. Generally, most exterior standard paints are acrylic latex varieties. However, with the advancement of coating technologies, there are more high-performance options available now that incorporate ceramic and elastomeric materials.

Here’s a quick overview of the two:

Acrylic Latex Exterior Paints

sherwin williams exterior acrylic latex
Image Source: Sherwin-Willaims.com

Also called latex or acrylic paints, these have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their improved durability and low VOC levels (volatile organic compounds). They dry relatively quickly, and cleanup is easy since water is used rather than paint thinner. Water-based paints are great for siding and trim because they are mildew resistant and flexible in cold weather.

acrylic latex pros and cons

Pros of Acrylic Latex Paints:

  • Low VOC levels, making them environmentally friendly.
  • Highly water-repellent and resistant to fading.
  • Easy to clean up with soap and water.

Cons of Acrylic Latex Paints:

  • Requires more coats for complete coverage.
  • May not adhere well to certain surfaces, such as metal railings.

Ceramic and/or Elastomeric Exterior Coatings

ceramic elastomeric exterior paint
Image Source: Nationwidecoatings.com

This type of paint is more accurately referred to as a “coating.” It often has many of the same ingredients as acrylic latex paints but uses ceramic and/or elastomeric molecules as fillers.  These coatings are generally much thicker than standard paint and create a more rubberized barrier between the substrate and the outside elements. 

ceramic elastomeric paint pros cons

Pros of Elastomeric and Ceramic Coatings:

  • Provides a tough coating that’s highly resistant to weather and fading
  • Better warranties
  • High adhesion and flexibility.
  • Long-lasting finish, generally longer lasting than acrylic and latex

Cons of Elastomeric and Ceramic Coatings:

  • Higher initial cost
  • Can be more difficult to work with due to its thickness

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Exterior Paint

Making choices in your exterior paint is more involved than just picking out a favorite color. There are a few key considerations to keep in mind when selecting the ideal paint for your home’s exterior. These include:


No exterior paint job lasts forever, but certain paint formulas have been proven to last longer than others. The most durable paints are those that contain higher levels of acrylic, as they resist fading, cracking, and peeling.


Durability also relates to the number of coats of paint you apply. More coats mean more protection against the elements. Well-mixed paint also helps the different layers adhere to one another better, resulting in a stronger and longer-lasting paint job.

Of course, the quality of the paint job is equally important. The best way to assess durability is by looking at ratings like those given by Consumer Reports or other paint-rating services. These ratings can give you a good idea of how long a particular formula can last on different surfaces. So do your research and choose a paint that is rated highly for its durability and longevity.

Low VOC Levels

Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are chemicals found in some paint that can be hazardous to your health. These compounds have long been added to oil-based paints to improve drying time and other qualities. Fortunately, many manufacturers are now offering low-VOC paint that can be used safely on the exterior of your home.

Look for paint that is labeled “Zero VOC” or “Low VOC,” as these will contain fewer or no dangerous chemicals. These are much safer to use, especially if you have pets or small children who may be more sensitive to the chemicals.

Dry Time

Waiting for the first coat of paint to dry before adding a second is essential to achieving a flawless finish. Yet, different paints have different drying times, so you’ll need to factor this into your decision-making process.

exterior paint dry time

Oil-based paints can take up to 8 hours to dry, while acrylic latex paints typically only need a couple of hours. If you’re pressed for time, look at the paint’s label to get an estimate of how long it will take for each layer to dry.

In addition, you’ll need to factor in the time it takes for the paint to “cure.” This is when the paint’s liquid components evaporate, and the paint fully hardens. This process can take up to a few weeks and may also take longer in hot, humid climates. Until the paint fully cures, it won’t have its full protective qualities, so you’ll need to be careful when touching the surface of your home.

Lasting Color

Low-quality paint, such as talc, clay, and silica, may look good initially but tends to fade quickly. This is especially true if your home is exposed to a lot of sun or moisture. You want the paint job on your home’s exterior to last for many years, so investing in a quality product is essential.

It’s also important to keep in mind that dark colors tend to fade faster than lighter colors. So, if you choose a dark or bright shade for any part of your exterior, look for a paint that contains “titanium dioxide.” This long-lasting pigment is typically found in premium paint lines and will help your color remain vibrant for many years.

Weather Resistance

Good exterior paint should be able to handle all kinds of weather conditions. This includes everything from wet and humid summers to cold, dry winters. In addition to protecting your home from the elements, it’s important to select a paint that’s resistant to mildew and algae.

weather resistant exterior paint

Acrylic latex-based exterior paint is known for its superior resistance. The acrylic acts as a binder that allows the latex to flex with the changing temperatures and helps it maintain its integrity over time. The best way to ensure this, however, is by choosing a high-performance elastomeric or ceramic coating.  Their thick and rubbery finish provides a high level of water-tightness.

Finally, be sure to read the label closely before purchasing paint. Some paints may claim to have features like mildew resistance or fade protection, but these claims should be backed up by an industry-standard rating system. Look for information about the paint’s weather and UV ratings, as well as its mold and mildew protection levels. This will help ensure that your exterior paint job will last for many years.

Surface Suitability

What works on one surface might not work on another. If you’re painting brick or stucco, for example, you need to use a paint formulated specifically for that material. The same is true of wood and other surfaces.

Take the time to research each surface type and look into specific paints that are designed to adhere well to these materials. Some paints may be labeled as “multi-surface,” which means they can be used on different materials.

Lastly, when selecting paint for your home’s exterior, make sure it is labeled as “exterior” grade. This will ensure that the paint has been formulated to withstand the elements and is compatible with the surface you’re painting.

The Wrap Up

By now, you should have a good understanding of what to consider when selecting the best exterior paint for your home. Keeping these points in mind will help you find a product that meets your needs and provides lasting results.

Premier Painting and Coating provides stellar service and excellent work for all residential and commercial exterior painting, interior painting, cabinet painting, texture work, and popcorn ceiling removal in the Tampa Bay area. For a free consultation, call us at (727) 440-9393 today!