The Best External Paint 2017

external paint

On average, homeowners re-paint the exterior of their homes every 7 years, and it’s one of the easiest ways to give your home a new lease of life. It’s a job that can be done without the need for a professional contractor, but to get a great-looking, long-lasting finish it’s important to choose the right paint for your home whether for use with a roll or a paint sprayer.

How To Buy External Paint

  • Consider your climate – Check your chosen paint for the manufacturer’s recommendations, but as a general rule if you live in a hot and sunny place, look for an acrylic paint that resists cracking and fading. More humid weather needs mildew resistant paint, and anywhere with a desert climate will benefit from a paint that is dirt resistant. A latex paint with an acrylic binder will perform best when subjected to wet weather, so is the best option for rainy climates. For extremely cold climates, use a good bonding primer before applying your chosen paint.

  • Durability – check how long the manufacturer’s warranty is for, as a shorter warranty is often indicative of lower quality.

  • Pick your sheen – Flat is best for surfaces with lots of imperfections, satin is most common and is washable but not too shiny, and gloss is durable so is best for doors, windows and trims that are touched the most.

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) – Be aware of constantly tightening government guidelines and ensure that the paint you choose is compliant. Oil-based paints are most likely to contain VOC’s. 

Best External Paints Available

1. Sherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior - Professionals’ choice

Sherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior paint is double the price of many others on this list, but it will also deliver incredibly brilliant results. Claiming to be best-in-class, this acrylic latex paint lives up to its statement. It is self-priming and creates a perfectly smooth finish that hides imperfections well. The paint contains a mildew-resistant coating and is suitable for use when temperatures fall to 35oF, making it a great all-weather option. Available in 100 colors and in flat, satin, or gloss finishes, you can get the exact finish you want for your home. And, with a lifetime guarantee, you can be confident that you’ll see lasting result.

emerald paint

If you’re looking to spend a little less, Clark+Kensington is a high-quality brand that professionals trust, as their paint delivers a smooth, streak free finish without breaking the bank. Coverage is good and two coats should be enough to achieve the desired texture and finish. Their premium flat enamel paint is an acrylic latex mix, meaning that it will perform well in extreme weathers and will resist cracking and fading over time. It also incorporates a primer, which will cut down painting time, too.

2. Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint - Best durability

Durability is an important aspect of paint-buying, and a quality paint will retain its original color and resist cracking, fading, dirt, and mildew for years. If long-lasting results are most important to you, Sherwin-Williams is again the best choice, but their SuperPaint is the one to go for. Marketed as a paint that you can count on, SuperPaint will deliver outstanding performance whatever the weather. Whether you live in arctic conditions or jungle-like humidity, Sherwin-Williams promise that their formula is fade and peel resistant. The paint is a good consistency and goes on smooth, and the acrylic resin technology gives great adhesion. The thick viscosity is excellent for covering imperfections, and means that you’ll need fewer coats, too. SuperPaint is also dirt-resistant and mildew-resistant, and color retention is best in class.

Another excellent option for durability is PPG Pittsburgh Paints Manor Hall brand. Color retention is brilliant and it also has a built-in primer, but this fairly pricy option falls down on its coverage. The texture isn’t as viscous as Sherwin-Williams’ offering, and so the quality of the finish isn’t quite as good.

4. Valspar Ultra - Best budget


If you just need a temporary fix until you have your home renovated, or you don’t have the budget to splash out on pricey paint, go for a cheaper option. Not spending a lot doesn’t mean that you’re going to be stuck with a terrible product; there are some brilliant budget options out there.

Valspar is a great economical brand, and their Ultra exterior paint gives a fair bit of bang for your buck. The consistency is pretty thick for a cheaper option, and the texture is impressively smooth and even. Acrylic stabilizers and a mildew resistant formula ensure that the paint won’t crack or peel, making it a good choice for more extreme weathers. Valspar claim that one coat gives plenty of coverage, but you’d be better taking your time and going for two to ensure improved durability. The paint does contain a primer though, and drying time is only around four hours, so you’ll save plenty of time that way.

Olympic Assure exterior paint is another good pick for low-price paint. Application is easy and drying times are short. The finish is of a high quality for a low price product, and is smooth and streak free. Available in any color, with color matching available, it’s a great choice if you’re looking for a custom paint job. You’ll most likely need more than two coats to get the coverage you want, so give yourself plenty of time when working with it. Scratch and dirt-resistant credentials let it down though, so a paint job with this product definitely won’t last you a lifetime.

5. Behr Marquee - Best one-coat coverage

Although lots of brands claim that they deliver a one-coat solution, not all of them actually do, so something to look out for is the weight of the paint. Behr Marquee is Home Depot’s house brand, and is heavier than other standard exterior paints. At 10-12 lbs per gallon, compared to an average of 9 lbs in multi-coat paints, there isn’t a lot in it, but that extra pound really makes all the difference. Application is a little trickier due to the higher viscosity, but once you get the thickness right it goes on smooth and is streak-free. This paint can be applied during higher or lower than average temperatures so long as there’s no rain, which will make your life easier if you live in a particularly hot or cold region. Be sure to allow for extra drying time if your area is humid, thought. Choose flat finish if you have anything but perfect sidings to paint, as this will give you extra coverage for cracks and other issues you’d rather your neighbours not be able to see.

Benjamin Moore’s Aura paint also impressed us, and is definitely capable of doing the job in just one coat. Proprietary Color Lock® helps resist fade, and the formula is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. The heavier texture delivers great hide and gives a luxuriously premium finish. In most cases, Aura paint can be used as a self-primer, and it’s quick drying so if you decide to go for a second coat you won’t have to wait long to do so. The only real downside to this paint is the price-point, but if you have the budget it might be worth splurging. 

6. Best for Wooden Trim – Valspar DuraMax

If you’re short on time or just want to give your home a little pick-me-up, painting the external wooden trim is a quick and easy way to transform the exterior of your home. As mentioned in the beginning of this article, gloss or semi-gloss finishes are best for this kind of job as they are easy to clean and will hide the day-to-day wear that doors and windows face. This finish will also add a pleasing contrast between trim and sidings.

valspar

Valspar DuraMax can be applied in low temperatures and is also super resistant to moisture, so it’s a brilliant choice if your home is in a colder climate. The primer is included in the paint, and the heavy texture provides great hiding. The viscosity also makes painting easier: application is quick and you’ll experience fewer drips during the job. Plus, with the lifetime warranty, this shouldn’t be a job that needs repeating.

Ace Royal Exterior has a 100% acrylic formula which will resist peeling and blistering, and the non-yellowing finish will keep your paint-job looking fresh for a long time. In fact, Ace promise 25 year durability, so there’ll be no need for you to do the job again in a couple of years’ time. Ace Royal is a long way off being a one-coat paint, and you’re likely to need at least three or four to get the coverage you want.

Wrapping it up

Sherwin-Williams is a brand loved by professional contractors and weekend DIY-warriors alike, and their Emerald Exterior paint is the best option for giving your home more curb appeal. It offers fantastic value for money and delivers a finish that is far superior than would be expected from its price-point. This brilliant paint will leave the outside of your home looking fresh and vibrant for years to come.

About the author

John Thatch

John Thatcher is a computer science educated artist. He uses technology to solve artist problems. His friends don't like it when he speaks of himself in the third person. But John does it anyway, because he's a rebel.

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