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Picking the best paint colors for your property’s exterior is a process that involves more than finding the right colors because not all exterior paints are equally suited to different surfaces. Before we get to our recommendations, here are some things to keep in mind.
Latex-based exterior paints are generally the best choice for outdoor painting projects like a home’s walls and trim. Latex paints dry quickly, imperfections caught during the process are easy to clean, and latex paint expands and contracts well with seasonal temperature changes. However, it will bubble and peel if applied over existing oil-based paint.
As for the finish, it’s mainly a matter of aesthetic choice, but there are a few things to note. Gloss paints are the most resistant to damage and the easiest to clean, but a gloss finish shows imperfections and looks out of place when used on a larger scale. Gloss or semi-gloss paints are ideal for window trim and doorframes, while semi-gloss is a good choice for exterior doors, provided the door to be painted is in good condition. This is also a good choice for brick, as it helps seal the porous material.
Eggshell finish exterior paint, also often called satin finish, is well suited to vinyl, wood planks, or fiber cement siding that’s newer and/or in good repair.
Flat paint finishes are generally less popular for exteriors these days, with one exception: Older homes, or those with a fair amount of wear-and-tear and imperfections on the exterior regardless of age, can benefit from the flaw-masking ability of flat paint finishes. Flat paint probably won’t last as long as glossier options, but it can make the place look better in the shorter term, and it’s easy to touch up.
Here are the best exterior paint you can buy:
Best overall: Behr Premium Plus Ultra Exterior Paint and Primer in One, $44.98 at The Home Depot
Behr Premium Plus Ultra Exterior Paint and Primer in One is a robust paint that can be applied on a variety of outdoor surfaces and even furniture.
Best for siding: KILZ Exterior Siding, Fence, and Barn Paint, $27.36 at Walmart
KILZ Exterior Siding, Fence, and Barn Paint can cover up to 500 square feet of siding and dries in two hours.
Best for wood: Rust-Oleum Zinsser PermaWhite Exterior Paint, $21.62 at Amazon
Rust-Oleum Zinsser PermaWhite Exterior Paint resists moisture and mildew, helping protect wood against rot even in wet or humid environments.
Best for brick: Glidden Premium Semi-Gloss Latex Exterior Paint, $32.98 at The Home Depot
A coat or two of Glidden Premium Semi-Gloss Latex Exterior Paint looks great on myriad surfaces and remains highly breathable, allowing porous building materials like brick to release moisture.
Best for your porch and patio: RTG Deck, Porch, & Patio Anti-Slip Paint, $31.99 at Amazon
RTG Deck, Porch, & Patio Anti-Slip Paint creates a traction coating that helps make your outdoor spaces safer to walk on.