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How to Use Exterior Paint on the Inside

Updated July 20, 2017

Interior and exterior paint are composed differently. Interior paints have a much wider variety of colours and finishes to get the precise look desired. They adhere smoothly so that their up-close appearance and texture is pleasing and they are easier to clean. Outdoor paints have additional chemicals included to prevent mildew growth and to resist the fading effects of sun exposure. Ideal results will be more easily achieved when using the recommended formulation for your project, but if you are going to use exterior paint inside, there are precautions that will help you get better results.

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  1. Paint when the interiors will be vacant for an extended period. It takes one month for the fumes of exterior paint to stop emitting, which are especially harmful to children and expectant mothers.

  2. Lightly sand down plastic and wooden surfaces to help the paint properly adhere. Wear a safety mask to prevent inhalation of particles. Remove all particles and dust before you begin painting.

  3. Tape off surfaces and fixtures that should not be painted. Use dust sheets to keep paint off flooring and furniture. Canvas dust sheets are preferable to plastic ones as paint pools on plastic and can easily transfer to shoes and other surfaces.

  4. Use a primer before painting. This ensures smooth application and a longer-lasting finish. Allow two hours for the primer to dry.

  5. Apply paint smoothly using rollers for walls and brushes for trim.

  6. Ventilate the area well while drying. Allow one month before inhabiting so the output of fumes can decrease.

  7. Warning

    Check your paint label carefully to be sure that your paint does not contain lead or mercury. Use caution when handling paint and paint cleaning chemicals. Store them securely away from children, animals and heat sources.

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Things You'll Need

  • Mask
  • Sandpaper
  • Canvas dust sheets
  • Painter's tape
  • Primer
  • Paint brushes and rollers
  • Paint trays

About the Author

Ali Rodriguez has been writing feature and news articles since 1998. She has written for numerous newsletters and publications including "Trio of Light." Rodriguez holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Texas.

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