Although we're told not to judge a book by its cover, the fact is that everyone makes judgments on appearances. For practically every structure, the quality of the exterior paint has a huge impact on the way it's perceived. Choosing a high-quality exterior paint can enhance and prolong the attractiveness of any building, as well as lower maintenance costs and save money.
One of the major differences between exterior and interior paints is that exterior paints have tremendous demands placed on them. Not only are they used on a wide range of surfaces (wood, masonry, metal), but they must endure the effects of harsh outdoor weather conditions.
Because of the wide variety of surfaces and the need to be more durable and resistant, exterior paints tend to be more expensive. The reason: exterior paints contain higher levels of quality pigments and resins (binders).
Qualities of a quality exterior paint
Although many performance characteristics are desirable in an exterior paint, the following are particularly important:
- Color and gloss retention
- Resistance to chalking, dirt pick-up and mildew
For a paint to have these attributes, premium ingredients need to be used, such as:
- High levels of high-hiding pigments
- Durable pigments that resist chalking and fading
- Abundant binders to help paint adhere to the surface
- Less liquids or other thinners
- Additives that enhance flow, leveling and mildew resistance
In addition to looking better longer and requiring less maintenance, a superior paint is easier to apply. Good hiding and flow helps a paint to be applied easier and faster, which means fewer coats are needed to achieve complete hiding and a uniform appearance.
Exterior color considerations
No matter how well a paint is made, certain colors are more affected by the outside environment than others. The amount of ultraviolet (UV) light absorbed or reflected by a color affects how long that color maintains its integrity and how long the paint lasts.
While dark colors can provide a nice contrast and highlight architectural detail, they are more prone to fading, as they absorb sunlight and heat, which makes them more difficult to touch up. Light colors, on the other hand, reflect UV light so they stay cooler, last longer, resist fading and are easier to touch up.
Organic vs. inorganic colors
Inorganic colors (beiges, browns, tans and other earth-tone colors) are more stable on exterior exposures, as the pigments used in these colors are less likely to break down than the pigments in organic colors (reds, blues, greens and yellows.) This is especially true in hot, dry climates such as Arizona and Nevada, where intense UV exposure exacts a heavy toll on exterior paint. Because of these properties, certain colors are not recommended for exterior use. Other colors are alkali-sensitive and should not be used on highly alkaline surfaces, such as new masonry. Most paint manufacturers have symbols or icons printed on the color chips that provide this information.
Overall, high-quality paint has a longer life, which makes the cost per year less when prorated over the life of the paint job. Providing that the surface is properly prepared and the right application tools are used, paint upkeep is reduced and repainting is needed less often.
It's clear that premium paints are easier to apply, provide a more professional look, resist peeling, chipping and fading, and offer performance not found in lower-grade paints. Plus, considering that you'll need far fewer touch ups and repainting, you'll actually be ahead of the game. Investing the time to study and understand what makes a superior paint will pay off.
For more information on choosing a quality exterior paint, call (888) DE PAINT.