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. A 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. Before you learn about all of the options available to you, use the following questions to focus in on the needs of your project:
High-quality paint is important for any project, but it’s especially important for exterior projects, which are subjected to harsh weather conditions day in and day out. Take some time to consider long-term benefits of better paints in addition to their initial cost. A good paint will require fewer coats and last longer, saving you money and time in the long run.
Water based vs. Oil Based 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, so they’re better for chalky surfaces, stained surfaces, bleeding woods (tannin or sap) and metals that rust.
Unlike interior paint, exterior paint must withstand a variety of harsh external influences. For this reason, exterior paint is offered in several “specialty” formulas designed to meet the specific requirements of your substrate. Use this chart to select the paint that is appropriate for your outdoor painting project:
Flat/Matte Finish: A flat finish hides imperfections better than a glossier finish but doesn’t clean as well. Flat finishes are generally used for siding.
Glossy Finish: 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 and doors. They also accentuate imperfections, so they’re not well suited for siding or walls.
Satin Finish: A satin finish has a slight gloss, so it’s more cleanable than flat paint yet still hides imperfections well.
Vinyl Siding: Some homeowners might be surprised that aluminum siding is still being used. The products today have a textured wood look, durable paint and better quality. Vinyl remains a very popular type of home siding and can be an outdoor project used to increase the curb appeal at your home. Both of these materials are available in a wide assortment of colors and textures. Most is double-4″ siding, but double-6″ is also available. For the siding, the track, the trim and the nails, costs are $3-$5 per square foot. Insulated siding, with a thin layer of foam insulation on the pack of each piece, is slightly more expensive.
Hardie Cement Siding: This material has been around for some time now. It is very durable and can be quite attractive. It is made in a number of colors, usually with a wood grain texture. Fiber cement siding can be painted quite easily too, which is an advantage over vinyl siding. Prices for fiber cement siding are $4-$6 per square foot.
Composite Siding: Not a lot of companies make this, but it is attractive and durable. It simulates natural wood siding in wood colors or those that look like painted wood. Composite siding is tough and very durable, with colors that resist fading. Prices range from $5-$8 per square foot.
Wood Siding: This material is available in several wood types including pine and cedar. Pine siding needs to be stained and sealed or primed and painted. Wood siding costs $6-$8 per square foot.
Stucco Siding: This siding is very popular in some parts of the country, but looks good anywhere. Stucco prices are $6-$8 per square foot.
Brick Siding: This type of siding also requires additional footings before the job can start in order to support the weight of the material. Brick is available in many colors at a price of $12-$15 per square foot.