exterior paint
Credit: Courtesy of Ace Hardware

The 9 Best Exterior Paints to Protect Your Home

Spruce up your home’s look with the Benjamin Moore Ben Soft Gloss Finish.
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Whether your home's exterior has peeling paint or you just want a fresh new look, a new coat of paint is a great way to upgrade your outdoor space. In addition to choosing a paint color for your home's exterior, you also need to select the correct type of paint

While some paint brands do have products that are suitable for both indoors and out, you'll want to make sure you're choosing the best paint for the surface you'll be painting, whether that's wood, vinyl siding, a brick wall, or a metal door.

"Getting the right paint for the right surface is important because of moisture," says Mark Savino, renovation advisor at YouthfulHome. "For instance, if the exterior of a home is stucco, brick, or stone, you need a paint that will allow moisture to pass through it and not trap it." 

To help you decide which exterior paint is the best option for your home, we researched a variety of picks, keeping in mind each option's base, finish, coverage area, and dry time. We also consulted Mark Savino, renovation advisor at YouthfulHome; Marion Deco, a painting expert at Deco-Furbish with over 20 years of experience; and Michael Clarke, founder of Pulled, an online platform for hiring home improvement contractors

Overall, we recommend Benjamin Moore Ben Soft Gloss Finish. This acrylic-based paint has a low-luster finish that's appropriate for a number of outdoor surfaces, including wood, siding, shingles, brick, stucco, concrete, and even metal. It comes in hundreds of colors and provides excellent coverage that is also resistant to mildew.

Here are the best exterior paints. 

What We Recommend

Interior/Exterior Oil Paint
Credit: Courtesy of Ace

Best Overall: Benjamin Moore Ben Soft Gloss Finish

View at Ace Hardware (From $59 per gallon)

Why You Should Get It: It's got excellent coverage for a variety of outdoor surfaces.

Keep in Mind: You can use any of Benjamin Moore's exterior paints on siding, but the manufacturer recommends choosing one of the vinyl paint colors for vinyl siding.

Benjamin Moore's Ben Soft Gloss Finish exterior paint has a 100% acrylic latex base that provides excellent, low-luster coverage for a range of outdoor surfaces. Whether you need to paint  vinyl, wood stucco, brick, concrete, or even metal siding, this exterior paint covers it all with a mildew-resistant finish.

The exterior paint provides protection for your home in any weather. It's ready for rain in under two hours of application, which can be done even when the temperature drops near freezing. It's easy to apply thanks to its good flow, which results in strong coverage and rich, lasting color thanks to Benjamin Moore Gennex Color Technology—according to Benjamin Moore, the formula is made without specific chemicals that have been proven to weaken paint. 

Product Details:

  • Base: Acrylic
  • Finish: Soft gloss 
  • Coverage: Up to 475 square feet
  • Dry Time: Four hours (30 days for full cure)
Interior/Exterior Oil Paint
Credit: Courtesy of Home Depot

Best for Doors: Glidden High-Gloss Trim, Door, and Furniture Paint

View at Home Depot ($22 per quart)

Why You Should Get It: It has a glossy sheen that is also mildew resistant.

Keep in Mind: It only comes in quart size, so it's best for smaller jobs.

To create a shiny surface for doors and furniture, the best exterior paint is the Glidden High-Gloss Trim, Door, and Furniture Paint. It's easy to apply thanks to Gel-Flow technology that prevents drips and brush marks, so all you see is the gloss. Plus, this paint has an oil base for a lasting finish that stands up to moisture and prevents mildew. 

You can use this Glidden Paint both indoors and outdoors. It offers solid color coverage for a bold look, especially for a front door. The surface is washable once it's dried, but because it's oil-based, you'll need mineral spirits for cleanup. And while two coats are recommended, there's no need for a separate primer.

Product Details:

  • Base: Oil
  • Sheen: Extra high gloss
  • Coverage: Up to 75 square feet 
  • Dry Time: Six hours to touch
Interior/Exterior Oil Paint
Credit: Courtesy of Lowes

Best for Brick: Valspar Duramax Flat Masonry and Stucco Tintable Exterior Paint + Primer

View at Lowe’s ($37 per gallon)

Why You Should Get It: No primer is needed to achieve a flawless finish.

Keep in Mind: Two coats are recommended, so purchase enough to complete the job. It's also recommended you wait four hours between each coat, so you'll need to set aside enough time for the job. 

Brick can be tricky to paint because of surface imperfections, but Valspar's Duramax Tintable Exterior Paint + Primer makes the job much easier. Combining primer and paint in the same application, it provides a super-flat finish that covers up any surface defects. This 100% acrylic latex paint creates thick yet flexible coverage for tiny cracks and other imperfections. Plus, the smooth surface stands up to peeling and other damage.

Valspar Duramax is easy to use with a paint sprayer for an even application. But aside from its beautiful coverage, it also creates a coating for brick and other masonry that resists mold, mildew, and algae. This makes it a great choice for damp climates—in fact, brick surfaces painted with Valspar Duramax can resist wind and rain up to 98 miles per hour. But you don't have to worry about it in pleasant weather, either, thanks to a formula that maintains its color without fading, even in the hot sun. 

Product Details: 

  • Base: Acrylic latex
  • Sheen: Flat
  • Coverage: Up to 130 square feet
  • Dry Time: One to two hours (wait four hours before second coat)
Interior/Exterior Oil Paint
Credit: Courtesy of Home Depot

Best for Stucco: Behr Premium Elastomeric Masonry, Stucco, and Brick Exterior Paint

View at Home Depot ($32 per gallon)

Why You Should Get It: The paint is formulated to release moisture that might build up, helping to keep a home's exterior in good shape. 

Keep in Mind: Despite the limited lifetime guarantee, stucco should be repainted every five to ten years.

Like its name suggests, the Behr Premium Elastomeric Masonry, Stucco, and Brick paint is an excellent exterior paint choice for masonry. Elastomeric paints like this one provide a protective coating for surfaces that cover up defects as well as provide resistance against moisture. Plus, it creates a durable finish with excellent elasticity—in fact, it can stretch up to 600% to stand up to nearly 100 mph wind and rain, so you won't have to worry about any cracks.

Despite the strong waterproof finish that also resists dirt and mildew, this paint is formulated to let the surface breathe so that it can release any moisture. As such, it's great for primed surfaces, including stucco (both new or weathered), brick, concrete, wood, and metal. Plus, application is easy, and you'll be able to clean-up with soap and water.

Product Details: 

  • Base: Acrylic latex
  • Sheen: Low luster
  • Coverage: 125 square feet 
  • Dry Time: Four hours

Related: The 8 Best Electric Pressure Washers to Make Your Home Look Brand New

Interior/Exterior Oil Paint
Credit: Courtesy of Sherwin Williams

Best Siding: Sherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint

View at Sherwin-Williams ($94 per gallon)

Why You Should Get It: It has primer mixed into the formula, so you won't have to purchase one separately. Plus, it comes in various finishes and colors.

Keep in Mind: This exterior paint is more expensive than other options on the market. 

For an exterior paint that will elevate the siding on your home, opt for Sherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint. Not only does it come in more than 200 colors, but it's also offered in three different finishes: flat, satin, and gloss. Just keep in mind that the gloss finish is recommended for small projects, like windows, doors, and trim. 

The exterior paint has primer built in for an easier application, though keep in mind two coats are recommended. Even in the face of harsh winter elements like rain, snow, and harsh sunlight, this exterior paint stands up to it all without fading or peeling. It can even resist dirt and mildew, thanks to its tough coating that forms when dry. 

Not sure how much you need? The brand offers an online paint calculator that'll determine the ideal amount to purchase. No matter how much you get, you can rest assured knowing that this product has low VOCs and is upheld by a limited lifetime warranty.

Product Details:

  • Base: Acrylic latex
  • Sheen: Flat, satin, and gloss
  • Coverage: Not listed 
  • Dry Time: Four hours
Interior/Exterior Oil Paint
Credit: Courtesy of Lowes

Best for Wood: Valspar Tintable Gloss Exterior Porch and Floor Paint

View at Lowe’s ($38 per gallon)

Why You Should Get It: It comes in a variety of colors for a vibrant, gloss finish

Keep in Mind: It has a fairly long dry time in comparison to other options. 

If you're looking to protect outdoor surfaces and enhance them with rich color, then Valspar Porch, Floor, and Patio Latex Paint is the way to go. This formula, which is made from polyurethane-fortified enamel, applies easily and dries quickly. And, it comes in most of the colors in the Valspar palette, so you are sure to find the exact color you want.

"With wood, you'll want to choose a specialized wood paint that is designed to withstand abuse from the elements," Kaulen says. "If you don't choose the correct type of paint with a decent strength to it, your exterior will begin to peel, flake, and blister after prolonged exposure to the sun, wind, and rain."

This exterior paint by Valspar dries to a glossy finish, yet it still is able to withstand tough weather conditions. The durable enamel finish stands up to scratches and other wear, too, making the exterior paint a great choice for high-traffic areas, including concrete floors, both inside and out. To clean up, all you need is some soap and water.

Product Details:

  • Base: Latex
  • Sheen: High gloss
  • Coverage: Up to 400 square feet
  • Dry Time: 24 hours (for furniture)

Related: The 9 Best Deck Stains to Protect and Revive Your Deck

Interior/Exterior Oil Paint
Credit: Courtesy of Home Depot

Best for Metal Doors: Rust-Oleum Door Paint

View at Home Depot ($31 for 2 quarts)

Why You Should Get It: All it takes is one coat to revamp the look of your door. Plus, it's offered in a few colors. 

Keep in Mind: You will need to prime your door first, unlike some other options that have a built-in primer.

For an exterior paint that can transform your metal door, consider the Rust-Oleum Door Paint. While most paints typically require two coats, this exterior paint gets the job done with just one coat.

Its one-coat application transforms an old door or adds a layer of protection to a new one easily, thanks to a quick-dry formula that allows you to remount and even close the door soon after painting. Just keep in mind that the door will have to be primed before you paint it. 

Rust-Oleum can be applied to primed fiberglass, metal, and wood and dries to an attractive satin finish in just an hour or two. It's easy to apply with a high-quality brush or roller, leaving your door with a chip-proof protective coating.

Product Details:

  • Base: Acrylic
  • Sheen: Satin
  • Coverage: Up to 105 square feet
  • Dry Time: One to two hours to touch; four to six hours to handle; 24 hours to fully dry
Interior/Exterior Oil Paint
Credit: Courtesy of Home Depot

Best for Trim: Behr Semi-Gloss Enamel Interior/Exterior Cabinet, Door & Trim Paint

View at Home Depot (From $24 per quart)

Why You Should Get It: It creates a coating that resists dirt, grime, and mildew. It's also offered in two finishes as well as both a quart and a gallon size, so you can get the amount that's best for your paint job. 

Keep in Mind: You must prime the surface first, then sand it before painting.

Trim isn't as large of a painting surface as siding or even your front door, but it's an attractive enhancement to your home's exterior. You can keep it protected and looking great with a couple of coats of Behr Semi-Gloss Enamel Interior/Exterior Cabinet, Door & Trim paint. 

The exterior paint can be used both indoors and out. It dries quickly, making it the perfect choice for trim and other high-touch areas like cabinets, doors, windows, and shutters. It can also be used on masonry, drywall, metal, and vinyl if the surfaces have been primed well, making this product useful for multiple applications.

It is a bit of a process to apply, as you will have to first apply a coat of primer, which the manufacturer recommends sanding before adding two coats of paint. Just keep in mind the paint will be dry within an hour, but you'll want to wait two hours before the second coat. If you used darker colors or are painting in cool or humid weather, you'll want to wait even longer. However, the paint covers well, resulting in a strong, durable finish in any weather.

Product Details:

  • Base: Acrylic
  • Sheen: Satin and semi-gloss
  • Coverage: Up to 100 square feet
  • Dry Time: Dry to touch in one hour; wait two hours for second coat
Interior/Exterior Oil Paint
Credit: Courtesy of Home Depot

Best for Concrete: Zinsser WaterTite LX Low VOC Mold and Mildew-Proof Water Based Waterproofing Paint

View at Home Depot ($80 for 2 gallons)

Also available at Lowe's

Why You Should Get It: You can use it indoors and out to create a waterproof barrier on concrete.

Keep in Mind: It only covers up to 125 square feet, which is less than other options on the market.

If you're working on a concrete paint job, the best exterior paint is the latex-based Zinsser WaterTiteLX Ultra Mold & Mildew Proof Waterproofing paint. With this paint, you can create a watertight seal on both the outside and the inside of your basement or cellar's concrete walls.

Concrete is durable—they make foundations out of it, after all—but its flaw is that it's porous. By rolling on a layer of Zinsser WaterTite concrete paint, though, you are building your defense against moisture from seeping in. This paint is great for basement and garage walls as well as any other masonry surfaces indoors and out, like retaining walls, fountains, planters, and basins.

This waterproof paint by Zinsser comes with a 20-year waterproof guarantee and a 10-year mold and mildew guarantee. It dries in just two hours and can resist up to 20 pounds of water pressure. There's little odor as it dries, thanks to its low-VOC formula, which has a mildewcide to stop the onset of mold and mildew in the paint film. Cleanup is easy with just soap and water.

Product Details:

  • Base: Latex
  • Sheen: Matte
  • Coverage: Up to 125 square feet
  • Dry Time: Two hours

Related: The 8 Best Pressure Washers For Every Outdoor Cleaning Job

The Bottom Line

Overall, we recommend the Benjamin Moore Ben Soft Gloss Finish. The exterior paint offers great coverage and a soft gloss finish and can cover up to 475 square feet, which is more than many paint options out there. 

What to Know About Exterior Paints Before Shopping

Finish

Interior finishes can be chosen based on personal preference, but Clarke says that you must consider the exterior surface and choose the appropriate paint type so that the finish lasts. When it comes to exterior paints, the most popular finishes are satin/eggshell, semi-gloss, high-gloss, flat, and elastomeric. 

  • Satin/eggshell: Clarke says it's the best choice for siding, thanks to a low-reflective finish with a slight gloss that enables it to cover up any imperfections in the surface. It offers a slight gloss that's easier to clean than a flat or matte finish.
  • Semi-gloss: This type of finish is shinier, but it's also more durable, offers better resistance to moisture, and is easier to clean. It's a good choice for any trim that is exposed to the weather, such as windowsills.
  • High-gloss: Not only is it rich in color, but it also stands up to dirt and weather. It's good for shutters as well as touchable surfaces, like doors. 
  • Flat: It offers a natural-looking appearance that's good for stucco.

Color 

Color is up to the homeowner, but Clarke does have some suggestions on how to coordinate the color scheme for your home's exterior. He says that there should be three major parts: a field color that covers most of the paintable surfaces; an accent color that provides contrast and makes shutters, doors, and other small features stand out; and the trim, which connects the first two colors in a pleasing palette.

Savino also notes that the paint color you view in the store will look lighter outside because of the natural light. He says homes that appear white are probably painted an off-white or even beige.

Base

It's important to choose the right base in paint so that it provides lasting coverage. There are several options for exterior paint bases. Oil has long been a go-to choice for wooden exteriors and high-touch surfaces like decks. Oil-based paints take a long time to dry, and their high level of VOCs creates unhealthy fumes, so use them in a well-ventilated area only.

Acrylic, latex, and water-based paints all offer good coverage that creates a flexible coating that won't crack or peel as easily as oil-based paints. They are also low in VOCs so there's less of a smell as it dries, which it does more quickly than oil-based paint. These paints are good choices for vinyl siding as well as roofs and masonry.

Your Questions, Answered

Can you use exterior paint inside?

If the can of paint says that you can use the paint for both interior and exterior surfaces, it should indeed be fine to use it indoors. However, if it does not, then you should only use exterior paints outdoors. It's important to choose a paint with a low level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for indoor surfaces to avoid odors and potentially toxic chemicals. You should not use interior paint outside because it's not formulated to hold up against the harsh weather elements, including strong sunlight. 

"You need a paint that is going to survive all seasons for a long time," Kaulen says. "Always check the warranty the manufacturer provides when purchasing paint, especially if you're someone with a larger area to cover as it will be a sizable investment." 

She notes that exterior painting is redone on average every seven years. While some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty, Kaulen says that's not really the case. "You can gauge the overall quality of the paint simply by accepting that the lower the number of years, the lesser the quality."

How much exterior paint do you need for your house?

As with any painting task, you'll want to purchase enough paint to provide ample coverage and multiple coats, as needed. For painting the exterior of your home, calculate the paintable square footage of your home. Then, divide it by the coverage area that is indicated on the paint container to determine how many you'll need.

How do you remove exterior paint?

To remove paint from exterior surfaces, it must be scraped or sanded off. A putty knife or paint scraper can work on spots that are already peeling, but friction is generally needed to remove the paint in other spots. Sandpaper used on a belt or orbital sander is fine, but avoid harsher abrasions made by rotary sanders, pressure washers, and sand blasters. Anything that uses water to remove paint is not recommended because it could introduce moisture into the material that leads to mold or mildew.

For particularly hard-to-remove exterior paint, you can use a heat gun to melt the paint, making it easier to scrape off. There are chemical-based products that can also strip paint, but these usually have toxic ingredients that could harm the user and the environment, so they are not recommended. 

Who We Are

Barbara Bellesi Zito writes about home and garden topics for various lifestyle publications. To compile this list, she researched a wide range of exterior paints from top brands based on their coverage, durability, and compatibility with various outdoor surfaces. She consulted Michael Clarke, the founder of Pulled, an online platform for hiring home improvement contractors; Mark Savino, renovation advisor at YouthfulHome, an online resource for homeowners; and Marion Deco, a paint professional with Deco-Furbish, a home painting and decorating firm in Cork, Ireland.