The Best Type of Paint for the Exterior of a House

Updated February 21, 2017

A home’s exterior is commonly exposed to the elements, which—although dependent on geographic or climactic conditions—commonly include rain, snow, sleet and hail. For this reason, the paint you choose for your home’s exterior needs to be resistant to these corrosive forces, and be able to maintain its intended lustre or brilliance. Some of the most common types of paint used for the exterior of a house include latex, vinyl, acrylic, alkyd and elastomeric paint.


Latex paint uses water as its main ingredient or base, and for that reason is known as a water-based paint. According to House-Painting-Info, latex paints are some of the most inexpensive and popular exterior house paints on the market, and are known for their lack of odours and quick drying times. However, latex paint is sensitive to cold and should not be applied in temperatures below 10 degrees C, and cannot be allowed to freeze during, or for a few hours, after application, until it is fully cured.


Vinyl paint is another type of water-based paint, but instead of using latex as a binder, it uses vinyl--a synthetic resin made from polyvinyl chloride. However, vinyl paint is not as durable as other exterior house paint varieties.


According to Paint Cafe, 100-percent acrylic paint is by far the best water-based paint for the exterior of a house, although a bit more expensive. In addition to maintaining its colour longer and being easier to apply than other water-based varieties, acrylic paint is extremely resistant to peeling and other blemishes. Wood trim and siding expands and contracts with temperature fluctuations, so the elasticity in acrylic paint helps it to expand and contract with the wood without cracking.


Alkyd paint is oil-based and uses alkyd resins as binders. Although the paint is slow drying and typically produces a harsh chemical smell, it is quite durable and resistant to staining, and can be easily applied with a paint sprayer. The chemical smell is due to high amounts of VOCs in the paint, a concern for people with respiratory problems. Also, while alkyd paints are durable, they degrade faster when exposed to UV light, so they may not be the best choice in Southern climates that have more sun exposure.


Elastomeric paint is derived from natural synthetic polymers and has elastic, rubber-like qualities. According to Done Right Painting, elastomeric paint is thick and flexible, and is ideal for filling exterior cracks and gaps. While this paint was developed for cracked masonry and stucco, it also works well on some wood surfaces.

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About the Author

Erik Devaney is a writing professional specializing in health and science topics. His work has been featured on various websites. Devaney attended McGill University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in humanistic studies.