What Exterior Paint Should I Use?

Temperatures are beginning to warm up around Kansas City, and we’re already hard at work on exteriors.  Soon, we’ll be painting several exteriors a week and a common question we get during the estimate and production phases are what type of paint should I use on my house?  We’ll look at what we’ve got experience with and make some recommendations about what to think about when selecting an exterior paint.

What Are My Options?

Our go to paints are the Sherwin Williams line of exterior paints.  In our experience, these are the best bang for our customers buck, and Sherwin Williams provides us with top notch service.  In general all modern coatings, whether they be from Benjamin Moore or Home Depot are very comparable.  If you’re not a fan of Sherwin Williams, we’ll put whatever you want on your home, but for the purpose of this post we’ll talk about Sherwin’s Products.

We provide 3 basic options for exterior paints:

  1. Sherwin Williams SuperPaint - this is our workhorse.  We use this on 80-90% of our exteriors
  2. Sherwin Williams Duration - this is a heavy-duty elastomeric type paint which we use in specific situations
  3. Sherwin Williams Emerald - Sherwin’s top of the line exterior coating

Those the 3 paints we use the most, though those are not the only options you have.  If your project has a specific need, we can recommend a coating to satisfy it.

Considerations for Exterior Paint

Your overall goals and needs play a large role in determining what coating system to use.  Are you staying in your home for the next 20 years?  Do you have really rough or porous siding?  Are you selling in 3 to 5 years?  These are all things to think about.

Selling your home in the near future?

A lot of people we work with are likely to sell their home in the next 3 to 5 years.  Their goal is to get a solid exterior paint job now, and have it still looking good in 3 to 5 when they are trying to sell.  For this we recommend SuperPaint and don’t go with a color that is dark.  Dark colors will fade more quickly than lighter ones, and the darker the color, the quicker the fading happens.  SuperPaint in a mid neutral color will look great and still be working hard to protect the exterior surfaces in 3 to 5 years after painting.

In your forever home and have no plans for moving?

When we are working with people who do not plan to move, a lot of them still go with the SuperPaint.  SuperPaint has been around in Sherwin Williams line of products forever and is well battle tested.  The cost for the value is excellent, and depending on the color selected a SuperPaint exterior coating should have a lifecycle of about 8 years.  These factors work great for most and they opt for the SuperPaint.

Some customers want to increase their lifecycle and get a few more years between repaints.  In this case, we generally go to the Sherwin Williams Emerald paint.  Emerald has additives and hardeners that hold up to the sun better and increase its UV resistance.  It also has excellent bond.  These benefits increase it’s lifecycle by 3 or 4 years, meaning in the light/mid color range Emerald can last 10 years or more.

Special cases

Sometimes we run into a situation where we need an elastomeric coating to solve a specific problem.  An elastomeric coating is an above-grade vertical or horizontal surface coating that is thicker than normal paint and extremely flexible.  Elastomeric coatings are designed to bridge hairline cracks and fill in porosity, while being able to flex and not crack themselves.

Duration is such a coating.  We are able to apply Duration at 7mils thickness (wet) while Emerald and SuperPaint are 5mils and 4mils respectively.  We go to Duration when we are dealing with stucco which has some hairline cracking or on old cedar shingle houses that are peeling badly and really porous.  Because Duration goes on so thick, its best applied via an airless sprayer to ensure even coverage.  It also doesn’t cover as well, meaning we use more gallons of it than we would of Emerald or SuperPaint.

Consider your specific needs

When you start thinking about getting painting estimates, consider what your needs and goals are.  Talk with our estimator about these and we can make recommendations about which product to use. If you have a scenario or need that we haven’t dealt with before, we have access and information about how to figure out what is needed.

The above scenarios are a great place to start and build from there.