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Exterior Painting

When choosing paint for your exterior painting, the most important quality is not color, but composition. There are two basic types of paint, water-based and oil-based. The most common water-based paints are latex, acrylic, and vinyl, which means those materials are used as a binder (holds paint to surface). Alkyd paint, often called oil-based, uses mineral spirits (paint thinner) as a binder. Often, one type of paint is better suited to a particular job than the other, so it is important to know at least a little about each type and the pros and cons of each one.

Exterior painting with water-based paint

Water-based paint gets its name from the fact that water is used as the solvent. It is combined with a binder such as latex or acrylic, additives and pigments to create a product that when dry, provides a flexible & durable protective coating for your home. Latex and acrylic paint are both good choices for wood sided homes, as they can expand and shrink with the wood, which prevents blistering and peeling. Water-based paints are a good choice for exterior painting as well because they contain little volatile organic compounds (VOC's), which release into the air, contribute to pollution and may even cause cancer. If you choose any water based paint, be careful of cold temperatures. It should be at least 50 degrees for the paint to work correctly; if it freezes before it dries, it will crack, split and peel.

Exterior painting with oil-based paint

Oil-based paints use paint thinner as a solvent, and alkyd resins as a binder. In the past, this type of paint used natural oils as a solvent, hence the name "oil-based". There are advantages and disadvantages to this type of paint. The VOC content is very high, so if environmental issues are important to you, this is not the right type for you. One advantage is the glossiness of dry oil-based paint. Most water-based paints are flat or semi-gloss, and though some manufacturers have recently begun producing high gloss latex paint, it is still not the same shine as oil-based. Many professional painters choose oil-based paint for exterior painting because it works better in a paint sprayer. Another advantage is that because it takes longer to dry, it tends to dry smoother and with less brush lines than latex.