Interior and Exterior Paint: What’s the Difference?

Meta: Is there any real difference between interior and exterior paint, or can the two be used interchangeably for a wide variety of internal and external painting projects?

Working as a professional painting contractor, there are some questions you encounter from clients more regularly than others. A prime example of which being whether there’s any real difference between interior and exterior paint.

More specifically, are the two interchangeable to any extent? Is it possible to get away with using interior paint outdoors, or vice versa?

Mixing Paint For Spraying Like A Pro

Jumping straight to the conclusion before we even start, the answer is no – the two are not interchangeable. Nor is it particularly advisable to use one in place of the other.

Let’s take a closer look at the properties of these two different paint categories and their individual characteristics:

Interior Paint

The simple fact of the matter is that with the vast majority of interior paints, you’re looking at an entirely different formulation than a comparable outdoor paint. When you think about it, most painted surfaces indoors enjoy a relatively safe and protected existence. They’re not exposed to nearly the same kinds of hardships as exterior painted surfaces, so the paint doesn’t need to be nearly as durable.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that all interior paints are fragile, weak and prone to falling off your walls at the slightest touch. They can be exceptionally resilient and withstand relatively heavy-duty treatment, though not quite in the same capacity as exterior paint.

In addition, many indoor paints (or most) are formulated in the knowledge that they are to be applied in a confined indoor environment. Even where ventilation is good, potential exposure to harmful vapors must still be taken into account. When painting outdoors, the fact that you are outdoors at the time means you can usually get away with slightly ‘harsher’ paints you wouldn’t normally use indoors.

Exterior Paint

With exterior paints…well, it’s basically a case of taking all of the above and flipping it around. Throughout the year, an exterior painted surface will be subject to all the punishment and horror all four seasons decide to throw its way. For this reason, exterior paint needs to be as durable and hardwearing as it can possibly be.

From rain to wind to snow to non-stop UV exposure, there really isn’t an interior paint available that could get the job done properly outdoors. Even if it looked great at first, it would soon begin to deteriorate and fall clean off the surfaces it once adhered to.

For this reason, therefore, attempting to paint outdoor surfaces with interior paint really isn’t a good idea. It’s not necessarily going to do you any harm, but is a complete waste of time and money.

Can I Use Exterior Paint Indoors?

Unless it specifically states in the manufacturer’s guidelines that it is suitable for indoor use, the answer is no. As mentioned above, many exterior paints contain harsher solvents and more hazardous compounds than their interior counterparts. Not always the case, but a risk that needs to be considered.

For the sake of your health and safety, therefore bringing purpose-made exterior paints indoors isn’t the way to go. There are some paints available that claim to be suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, but it’s far better to stick with paints that are formulated for indoor or outdoor use.

You’ll find all the information you need on the can and/or in the manufacturer’s guidelines, so be sure to check those out before buying.

Flexible and Affordable Exterior Painting…

At Homm CPS, we’re proud to offer a comprehensive range of flexible and affordable exterior painting services to suit all requirements and budgets. Unlike some, we exclusively use the highest-quality exterior paints the market has to offer, which can be matched to (literally) any imaginable color.

Simply provide us with a sample of the color you want, and we’ll ensure it’s recreated for the exterior of your home with a flawless accuracy.

For added peace of mind, we also back every service we provide with a reassuring warranty. We never consider a job complete until the customer is delighted with the result – we’ll keep at it until you’re happy!

Whether ready to go ahead with a planned paint job or simply considering an exterior makeover, we’d be delighted to hear from you to discuss the available options.

Contact a member of the team at Homm CPS anytime for an obligation-free consultation, or to arrange a quotation on your exterior home painting project this fall.