What Is The Difference Between Interior And Exterior Paint

What’s the Difference Between Interior and Exterior Paint?

It has been a practice for tens of thousands of years to paint one’s home in the fullest meaning of the word. World’s oldest cave paintings stretch back over 40,000 years to the Ice Age, making them the world’s most ancient art form (Upper Paleolithic). Although prehistoric humans did not have the luxury of choosing between a satin or an eggshell finish, the process of embellishing their homes almost certainly incorporated aesthetic considerations. Paint was used by the Etruscans, the Romans, the Egyptians, and many other cultures throughout history to adorn their dwellings, temples, and tombs.

For the majority of the population, however, house paint, and particularly exterior house paint, did not become widely available until 1866, when Sherwin, WilliamsCo.

Benjamin Moore emerged as a serious competitor shortly after.

Oil-based paints were used in the early days of house painting.

Let’s take a look at some of the distinctions between interior and exterior paints, as well as the reasons behind the variances in formulation.

Interior and Exterior Paint: The Basics

The four components of paint, according to Mark Savino, strategic remodeling adviser atYouthfulHome, an online resource for discovering home renovation professionals, are solvents, pigments, resins, and additives. He further explains that paint is made up of four different components. According to Savino, this is what they do:

  • Solvents are used to dissolve and mix the other components into a liquid, and then they are released as the paint dries and evaporates. Water is used as a solvent in latex and acrylic paint, which accounts for the great majority of goods available on the market. Turpentine or mineral spirits are used in the production of oil-based paints. Pigment is the finely powdered ingredient that imparts color to paint and is responsible for the color of the paint. It is manufactured from natural resources such as plants, minerals, and animals, or it is synthetically generated. Paint additives help to improve the appearance and function of the paint. Thickeners or chemicals that provide a matte, satin, or high-gloss finish, as well as fungicides in exterior paint, are examples of what you could find. Resins are used to hold pigments together and to aid in the adhesion of the paint to the surface. Depending on whether the paint is intended for indoor or exterior application, they may be hard or more elastic.

What Are the Key Differences Between Interior and Exterior Paint?

In Savino’s opinion, the primary distinction between interior and exterior paint is the type of resin and additives that are utilized in each. For exterior paint, buyers want something that will stand up to changing weather conditions, fading from ultraviolet light, and mildew caused by moist circumstances. As a result of these considerations, exterior paint has the following properties:

  • It is manufactured with resins that are more flexible and can withstand temperature fluctuations that may cause the paint to expand or shrink
  • It is also less expensive. Exterior paint additives are designed to provide resistance to fading and mildew, as well as to aid in the adhesion of the paint to rough surfaces. If you compare the quantity of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) emitted by exterior paint additives and resins to the amount emitted by interior paint additives and resins, you will notice a significant difference. While both interior and exterior paints are available in a variety of hues, exterior paint comes in a limited number of finish possibilities. It is normally only available in three finishes: flat, semi-gloss, and gloss enamel. Even though oil-based exterior paint is becoming increasingly rare, there is some of it still available. When compared to water-based paints, oil-based paint generates significantly greater quantities of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which deplete the ozone layer. Their sale and usage are outlawed by law in various states around the United States.

There are several differences between interior and exterior paints, including the following:

  • ‘Interior paints are specially made to be more resistant to scuffs and stains, and they are also simpler to clean,’ explains Savino. “They employ more solid resins that are less prone to scuffing and scratching, and they can be cleaned simply with soap and water.”
  • Interior paints seldom contain fungicides and release low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). A variety of finishes, including matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and gloss are available for interior paint. There are also several sorts of faux-finish effects available for interior paints.

When to Use Each Type of Paint

Interior paint should not be used outdoors, and exterior paint should not be used inside, due to the specialized formulas for application on different surfaces and in different situations that they have. Using outdoor paint materials indoors might be detrimental to your health in the worst case scenario. At the very least, the resins included in exterior paint render it unsuitable for use on interior surfaces. On the other hand, interior paint that is put to outside surfaces will only have a brief shelf life.

It is not designed to tolerate temperature fluctuations or ultraviolet light. Furthermore, because it includes hard resins, it will fracture and peel when exposed to extremely hot or cold temperatures rather than expanding and contracting as would be expected.

Can I Use Interior Paint on Exterior Surfaces?

While there are so many options available, it is easy to become overwhelmed when choosing the correct paint. The majority of individuals pick the color and finish of their paint initially, before learning about the chemical components of paint. Because of developments in the chemistry of paint, more specific brands and products are now available. Knowing the difference between interior and exterior paints will help you complete your painting project more successfully.

Types of Paint

All paint may be divided into two categories: water-based paints (also known as latex paint and acrylic paint) and oil-based paints (also known as oil paints). Oil-based paint was commonly utilized on external surfaces until roughly ten years ago, mostly because it was more durable and inexpensive than other types of paint. According to the scientific evidence available, however, it is damaging, if not lethal, to the environment and the people who live in the vicinity of where it is used. As a result, the government has severely restricted its usage, with the exception of extremely tiny doses in very unusual circumstances.

There have been several modifications made to the components in order to increase adhesion and coverage, and there are numerous additional benefits.

Latex paints also have a low odor and emit substantially fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during the drying process.

If they are kept away from direct sunshine, they will not yellow or fade with time.

The Main Ingredients in All Paint

Both interior and exterior paints are made up of the same four fundamental components: pigments, solvents, additives, and resins, which are all used in the same proportions. Each ingredient contributes to the creation of a high-quality product in a unique way. The ability to understand what each component performs will assist in determining the sort of paint to use on any surface.

  1. Pigments are finely ground particles that are added to paint and are responsible for the color of the paint. Pigments are classified into two categories: primers and extenders. Colorants are primary pigments that are used to create the real color of the paint can in which it is applied. Organic colorants are used to produce vibrant hues. Inorganic colorants have earthy tones and are more durable for outdoor applications than organic colorants.
  1. Solvents are the liquids that hold the components together, allowing you to apply the paint to surfaces with ease. Typically, water is the primary constituent in water-based paints. In the case of oil-based paints, the liquid is paint thinner, which can be created from a number of solvents, including but not limited to acetone, turpentine, naphtha, mineral spirits, and other similar substances.
  1. Paint has a variety of qualities depending on the additives used. Thickening agents, leveling agents, surfactants, emulsifiers, and biocides are examples of such additives. These contribute to color accuracy, improved application, improved adherence, and the prevention of mildew growth.
  1. Resins are used to bind pigments together in order to form the paint film. Oil-based resins, such as linseed oil, are derived from oil or oil derivatives. Resins are the most important element since they are directly related to the performance qualities of paints.

What’s the Difference between Interior and Exterior Paints?

The resins and additives used in interior and exterior paints are the most significant distinctions. Rigidity is a characteristic of the binding resins used in interior paints. They make it possible to clean interior paint quickly and simply, and they are stain resistant. Vinyl acrylic resins are frequently used in interior paints to improve the scrub resistance and washability of the finished product. The resins used in exterior paints are softer, resulting in qualities that aid in the battle against fading, mildew, temperature fluctuations, and moisture.

  1. Acrylic resins are employed in their entirety to attain these performance characteristics.
  2. Their advantages include improved adhesion as well as alkali resistance.
  3. Paints also contain additives that help to manage drying time, increase weather resistance, and maintain an equal distribution of pigment throughout the paint solution, among other things.
  4. Designed to withstand adverse weather conditions, exterior paints are intended to last for a long time.

Some of the ingredients used in these paints have a high concentration that may be harmful in confined interior spaces. Because interior paint does not include heavy-duty ingredients, it would not last as long if applied to the exterior of your home as exterior paint.

Can’t Decide Which Paint to Use?

If you require assistance in determining which paint to utilize for your next interior or exterior job, contact Walla Painting for assistance. We have a large number of pleased customers who are homeowners who use our services. Walla Painting is a family-owned business that specializes in the painting of residential homes in the surrounding area. For the previous eight years, we’ve received the Angie’s List Super Service Award for our efforts. Please get in touch with us for a free quote on your next painting project.

What Is The Difference Between Interior and Exterior Paint?

Earlier this year, a friend made the decision to rebuild their home, and as part of the process, they opted to repaint the interior of their home. She had already begun, but she wasn’t sure if she was using the proper paint because she had never worked with it before. When she inquired about the distinction between exterior and interior paint, I recognized it was a topic that would be of interest to a wide range of individuals. Mold, mildew, fading, cracking, chipping, and other elements are all resistant to exterior paint, which is designed to withstand adverse weather.

Interior paint is also manufactured with ingredients that are less harmful to the respiratory system.

Is it OK to use outside paint inside your home since it will provide a more lasting surface, or is it a safety hazard?

Basic Ingredients of Paint

In order to fully comprehend the distinctions between exterior and interior paints, it’s necessary to first grasp the fundamentals of how paint works and how it’s created. Paint is made up of only a few components, yet each one is critical to the final product. Oil or water is used as the primary basis for the paint, which is also known as a solvent. Oil-based paints are more commonly seen on the exterior of buildings and are not commonly present in interior paints. Depending on the application, water-based paints can be utilized for either indoor or outdoor painting projects.

Special additives can impart different physical properties to your paint, such as water resistance, UV resistance, and durability, as well as improve its overall performance.

The pigments and additives that have been attached to the surface you have just painted are all that are left once the resins have been removed.

Due to the fact that outside paint must adhere to surfaces in more turbulent circumstances, harsher resins with higher adhesion are typically used.

Once the paint has dried and the resins have formed a link with the pigments and additives on the surface, your wall is painted and seems to be completely new.

Exterior Paint: A Quick Overview

Exterior paint, which is intended for painting the outside of various structures, has ingredients that make it waterproof. It is impervious to rain, snow, sleet, and any other type of harsh weather conditions. Furthermore, it is designed to withstand years of direct sunshine without fading or breaking. It’s also extremely resilient, which helps to keep chipping and flaking to a minimum when the wind blows twigs and other debris into your home. Extra resins and additives are utilized to generate a more durable paint, which increases its overall durability.

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The majority of the off gassing will occur within a few days, but it will continue slowly for up to many years after that time period.

If they are breathed, they can cause respiratory problems.

For a more in-depth look, see my post Can You Use Exterior Paint Inside?

Interior Paint: A Quick Overview

Interior paint is designed to be used on the interior of your home. Even though it isn’t quite as durable as exterior paint, it is capable of withstanding cleaning and washing on a limited basis. It is not waterproof, though, and it will not hold up against the elements. Interior paint has minimal levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other potentially dangerous substances because it is intended for indoor usage. The amount of outgassing is negligible to non-existent. Organic pigments are used in the production of interior paints in order to minimize the usage of harsh chemicals.

They’re also more prone to cracking and flaking than other types of wood.

I’ve written a comprehensive post on the subject, which you can see here: Can You Use Interior Paint Outside?

What is the Difference Between Interior and Exterior Paint?

The variations between these two primary forms of paint will be discussed now that we’ve gone over the fundamentals in greater detail. Both of them will alter the color of any surface they are applied on, but that is about the extent of their similarities with one another.

Type of Binding Resins

The amount of binding glue in the paint will affect how effectively it adheres to a surface. Acrylic is used as the binding resin in exterior paints because it has an incredibly strong adhesive and will provide the longest lasting finish. Acrylic, on the other hand, has a strong odor, which is why interior painters choose epoxy and silicone over acrylic.


Pigments, as previously stated, are responsible for the color of your paint. Organic pigments are used in interior paints to eliminate the addition of additional chemicals to the mix. It is absolutely safe to breathe in them because they have no offensive scents.

However, longevity is more important in exterior paints than the capacity to keep out harsh chemicals, thus you’ll find non-organic pigments in exterior paints that can assist to intensify the powerful scents and fumes while also not fading as rapidly as organic pigments.

Different Additives

Interior paints have less compounds than exterior paints since they do not have to contend with as many potentially hazardous circumstances. The problem is that exterior paints have to withstand all kinds of weather, debris, temperatures, and other factors. Additional chemicals are utilized to aid in this process, which can help the paint withstand fading, adapt to changing temperatures, and even prevent cracking. Additionally, mildecides are added to exterior paints to aid in the prevention of the growth of mildew, mold, and algae.


Interior paints are not anticipated to withstand the rigors of extreme or fluctuating weather conditions. As a result, they have low temperature resistance, low water resistance, and they fade fast when exposed to direct sunshine, among other characteristics. Exterior paints, on the other hand, are designed to endure all of these conditions, giving them excellent weather resistance.


Exterior paint is designed to survive the ravages of time and the elements for many years. Aside from that, it’s constructed sturdy enough to withstand contact with objects such as branches pushed against your house by the wind or insects flying into the wall. As a result, it is far more durable than interior paint. In addition to being extremely durable, interior paint is also capable of withstanding routine washing and buffing.

Resistance to Physical Damage

If it receives a direct blow, the inside paint will most likely chip off, revealing the previous paint or the bare wall under the surface. Exterior paint may also be chipped, but it is considerably more difficult to do so since the resins that hold the color to the surface are much stronger.

Levels of VOCs

VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are substances that emit fumes that can be harmful if inhaled in large quantities. Interior paints, on the other hand, contain very low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and are frequently completely free of them. Exterior paints, on the other hand, are not. Exterior paints have a high concentration of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) since they are not meant for indoor usage. These VOCs will escape into the open air outdoors. However, if this occurs within a building, it may pose a health danger.


Good adhesion may be seen in both interior and exterior paints. Exterior paints, on the other hand, adhere well enough to endure all types of severe weather, a claim that interior paints are unable to replicate. In general, exterior paints adhere better and endure longer than inside paints.

Dry Time

When compared to water-based paints, oil-based paints tend to dry more slowly. Paints that are left outside in the open air, on the other hand, will dry more quickly than paints that are left inside without regular circulation. Finally, heat will expedite the drying process of the paint. Taking all of these things into consideration, outdoor paint often dries more quickly, especially if it’s water-based.

Fade Resistance

The sun is one of the most persistent forces with which your paint must struggle while it is exposed to the elements. The sun will beat down on it for 12 hours or more on the majority of days throughout the year. That is a significant amount of abuse. Fortunately, the chemicals used in outdoor paint are designed to prevent fading and even provide protection against ultraviolet radiation.

Interior paint, on the other hand, is not intended to endure exposure to bright sunshine. It is extremely likely that the organic pigments in interior paint will fade very fast, particularly when there are no extra chemicals to prevent fading.

Temperature Resistance

Exterior paint is designed to endure a wide range of temperature variations. It must be able to withstand the extremes of winter cold and summer heat, as well as any temperature in between. However, interior paint is only designed to be used in a restricted temperature range of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit to approximately 90 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the range in which most people keep their houses.

Moisture Resistance

Due to the fact that rain is a fairly typical occurrence in most regions, exterior paint must be able to endure rainstorms, thunderstorms, simple showers, and other weather conditions. Interior paint only needs to be cleaned on a rare occasions. As a result, exterior paint is far more water-resistant than before.

Mildew Prevention

Interior paints are not often formulated with mildewcides in mind. Algae, mold, and mildew, on the other hand, are all serious hazards to the outside of your property. Mildewcides are added to exterior paints in order to combat this problem. These are not pleasant to breathe, but they are extremely efficient in halting the growth of mold, mildew, and algae in their tracks.

Scuffing and Scratches Resistance

Both interior and exterior paint have a reasonable level of resistance to scratching and scuffing when properly applied. However, at the end of the day, the longevity of exterior paint is the most important factor. It can withstand significantly more severe scuffing without suffering any consequences.


Because interior paint is intended for use inside, it is often free of toxic chemicals, harsh additives, and hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Exterior paint, on the other hand, is not subject to the same standards. This results in such chemicals and additions finding their way into a large number of exterior paints. It can make them more durable and weather-resistant, but it also means that outdoor paints emit gases as they dry, which can be harmful to the environment. The majority of the gas is released within a few days, but it will continue to release gas for several years after that.


Even if the price difference between these two types of paint isn’t significant, it is present. Exterior paint has more compounds, more chemicals, and is more durable than interior paint, making it the more expensive alternative in most cases. Interior paint is typically less expensive than exterior paint, albeit it does not provide the same level of durability and protection.

Interior vs Exterior Paint: Side-by-Side Comparison Chart

Interior Paint Exterior Paint
Binding Resins Epoxy, Silicone Acrylic
Durability Moderate Advanced
Resistance to Physical Damage Some resistance Very resistant
Levels of VOCs Low to no VOCs Moderate
Adhesion Good Best
Fade Resistance None Resists sun fading
Temperature Resistance Low High
Moisture Resistance Low High
Mildew Prevention No Yes
Anti-fade UV protection No Yes
Scuffing and Scratches Resistance Yes Yes
Outgassing No Yes
Cleanliness Made to scrub clean Made to spray clean
Weatherproofing None Weatherproof
Cost Moderate High

Indoor/Outdoor Paint

Even though paint is separated into only two categories, it may still be a problem when you’re utilizing it for a variety of jobs both inside and outside your house. Do not be alarmed! There is a fantastic approach to make the entire situation easier to understand. With the introduction of interior/exterior paint, manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to make your life simpler. As the name says, this paint performs as well whether it is applied inside or outside of a building. Indoor/outdoor paint outperforms ordinary interior paint in terms of longevity, weather resistance, temperature tolerance, and UV resistance, among other characteristics.

Interior and exterior paints do not contain a significant amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Nonetheless, it combines the best of both worlds and makes it much easier to select paint and apply it to a variety of tasks at the same time.

It does not have a strong odor and is perfectly safe to use in the home or workplace. However, it is also extremely robust, and will resist any severe weather as well as years of steady exposure to the sun.


Despite the fact that it may appear inconsequential at first glance, the location in which you apply each specific sort of paint might have serious repercussions. Using exterior paint on interior surfaces can result in a buildup of toxic vapors that can permeate the whole structure of your home. If you apply interior paint to the exterior of your home, you will most likely discover that it cracks, chips, and fades away in a relatively short period of time. The sort of paint you choose should be appropriate for the surface you’re painting, whether it’s on the inside or the exterior.

If you found the information included in this article to be helpful, please feel free to forward it along to others who may be in need of the same information as you are.

Interior vs. Exterior Paint (Can You Use Interior Paint Outside?)

You may be asking if it is possible to utilize leftover interior paint on an outside surface. Alternatively, perhaps you have an excess of outside paint and are wondering whether it is acceptable to use indoors? Among the things you’ll learn from this interior vs. exterior paint comparison are:

  • The primary distinctions between interior and exterior paint are: Using interior paint outdoors while using exterior paint inside has its hazards, as well as vice versa. And what to do if you’ve already made the mistake of using the wrong paint kind

By the end of the course, you’ll have all the information you need to determine whether to utilize the paint you already have or to purchase a different choice. To navigate, please see the links below:

  • Interior Paint: A Quick Overview
  • Exterior Paint: A Quick Overview
  • Can You Use Interior Paint Outside
  • Can You Use Exterior Paint Inside
  • Can When You’ve Already Used Interior Paint Outside, What Should You Do? What to Do If You’ve Already Painted Your Interior With Exterior Paint
  • Final Thoughts on Hybrid Paints
  • They Can Be Used Both Inside and Outside

Interior Paint: A Quick Overview

Paint for interior walls is made to survive everyday contact with dogs, furniture, vacuums, and everything else that could come into contact with it. It resists stains, fading, and yellowing, and it can be cleaned with a damp cloth or a scrubber when it becomes soiled. There are four fundamental ingredients in latex: pigments, solvents, additives, and resins. It’s often water-based (sometimes referred to as latex) rather than oil-based. As opposed to exterior paint, interior paint employs more hard resins, which results in simpler cleanup and stain resistance than its external counterpart.

See also:  How To Modernize A Colonial Home Interior

Interior paint, in contrast to exterior paint, does not contain weather-proofing compounds.

What exactly are VOCs?

Have you ever had a headache or dizziness after being in close proximity to paint for an extended length of time?

Because interior paint is intended for use in enclosed spaces with limited air circulation, most interior paints have minimal levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and you can even obtain zero-VOC interior paint.

Exterior Paint: A Quick Overview

Historically, oil-based exterior paints were the most popular choice since they produced a more lasting finish. However, as a result of technological advancements, the tendency has shifted. Nowadays, the majority of exterior paints are water-based, with acrylic resins added to help in adhesion. One of the most major differences between interior and exterior paint is that exterior paint has additional ingredients to ensure that it can resist the environment outside. Exterior paint must be able to withstand the moisture that comes from rain, snow, or wind.

Its softer and more flexible resins assist it to withstand mildew, peeling, and chipping when applied to the outside of a building.

Can You Use Interior Paint Outside?

The quick answer is that it does not. Interior paints should not be used outside due to the lack of additives that are required to survive the elements of the outside environment. However, aside from the issues about longevity, interior paint is thinner than exterior paint, and as a result, it does not stick as well to outside surfaces, necessitating the application of extra coats to attain the same coverage. Even with numerous applications, it will not appear as even as it would with exterior paint, which is preferable.

Even if you are successful in achieving adequate coverage with inside paint, the task is not finished.

Can You Use Exterior Paint Inside?

No, you should never bring outdoor paint into a home or office. Because of the chemical composition of exterior paint, it is exceedingly risky to apply it inside your home. In a confined location, when you apply exterior paint indoors, you expose yourself to chemical fumes, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mildewcides, and other potentially harmful components. These compounds linger in the air and irritate your skin and respiratory system when you are in a poorly ventilated space. Even after the paint has dried, it continues to emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

This can activate allergies and create discomfort.

You may even find interior paint that contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

There are a few exceptions to this general norm. However, although it should not be the first option you should consider, outside paint can be used in sheds, detached garages, and other detached spaces where no one sleeps or spends extended amounts of time.

What to Do If You Already Used Interior Paint Outside

You should not be alarmed if you have already applied interior paint to the exterior of your home. Just be aware that it won’t be around for long. The fact is that interior paint is not designed to resist exposure to extreme weather conditions, and you will see fading, peeling, and flaking within a few months. It’s likely that you’ll have to sand, prime, and repaint the entire surface once it begins to wear away. This is a time-consuming task that you would want to avoid. When painting an outdoor surface with interior paint, it’s best to apply a thin coat of exterior paint over the top to protect the surface from the elements.

While this is inconvenient, it is the only way to ensure that the surface is as pure as possible.

It will require you to take time out of your day and purchase new things in order to correct the problem.

What to Do If You Already Used Exterior Paint Inside

If you’ve already brought outside paint into the house, you’re in for a far more difficult time because of the health risks. First and foremost, open the windows to allow fresh air to circulate around the area, especially while the paint is drying. Stay as far away from the room as possible for a few weeks until the paint dries completely. If it’s really cold outside, it might take many months. If you’ve previously painted an area with oil-based paint and wish to repaint it, sand the wall down first before putting a fresh layer of interior paint to the surface.

Hybrid Paints Can Be Used Inside and Outside

In order to have more freedom, you might consider purchasing hybrid paints (such as this one available on Amazon), which can be used both indoors and outside. However, while they are convenient paints, they aren’t nearly as effective as interior or exterior paints in terms of durability. They are deficient in some components and additions, which are particularly important for outdoor use. Expect a lower level of protection against mildew, moisture, and cracking compared to standard exterior paint applications.

Final Thoughts

The main message is that each variety of paint is intended for a certain function. Follow the advice given to you. Due to the fact that interior paint cannot endure exposure to extreme weather conditions, it will need to be touched up on a regular basis. Additionally, bringing external paint into the house is a no-no. Paint fumes, chemical cosmetics, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a health threat that can cause skin and respiratory irritation. If you find yourself in a scenario where you have extra paint, there are a variety of creative and simple methods to put it to good use and avoid wasting it.

If you have leftover interior paint, consider putting it to use in crafts, upcycling an old piece of furniture, or touching up past painting work.

Interior Paint vs. Exterior Paint: What’s the Diff?

All paints are made up of the same fundamental ingredients: solvent, resin, additives, and pigments. Solvent, resin, additives, and pigments are all used in the production of paint. Solvents are often water in the case of latex paint and mineral spirits in the case of oil paint — but in both situations, the solvent is what evaporates when the paint dries, leaving behind the resin, pigment, and additives that were previously present. Exterior paints, like interior paints, are available in a variety of finishes ranging from glossy to matte.

  1. Exterior paint may also include a higher concentration of colour.
  2. Exterior paints must be able to withstand a wide range of weather conditions, including temperature fluctuations, ultraviolet radiation, salty sea breezes, and other elements of nature.
  3. These resins keep the paint looking excellent even as the surface underneath it expands and contracts, as the surface underneath the paint expands and contracts.
  4. Due to the fact that interior paint is not subjected to rain and is unlikely to be exposed to a severe freeze, it is constructed of more resistant resins.
  5. Some people believe that because outside paint must withstand greater damage, it will function better indoors as well.
  6. That, however, is not the case at all!
  7. As it cures, and even after it has finished curing, it is likely to produce additional VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air, making it less beneficial to have indoors.
  8. For homeowners, the most important piece of advise we can provide them is to use the proper paint for the project, just way the experts do it.
  9. This article initially published in our monthly newsletter, Prime Time by Jerry EnosPainting firm in Massachusetts–contact us if you would like to receive a subscription!

Can I Use Interior Paint for Exterior Surfaces?

If interior paints are applied on external surfaces, they suffer from a deficiency in certain environment-specific additives. However, the distinction between interior and exterior-formulated paints does not end there. When you look at the other three main components of paint, such as the pigment, binders, and liquids, you can see that there are some differences. Let’s start with pigment, which is responsible for providing the color in a can of paint with its depth. The color of interior paints may be enhanced by the use of organic pigments; however, certain types of organic pigments have been shown to fade significantly when applied to exterior surfaces; therefore, exterior paint formulas do not contain these pigments, extending the time between outdoor painting projects.

Because exterior paints require more assistance in combating the negative effects of the environment, the binders used in outdoor-friendly formulations provide the paint with increased resistance to integrity problems such as cracking and chalking, as well as improved moisture control and resistance to fading.

  1. When it comes to the sorts of liquids used in interior and exterior paints, there are significant differences.
  2. When VOCs are utilized in the liquid component of paint, they evaporate at room temperature, indicating that they are solvents.
  3. They may also be linked to the development of some malignancies.
  4. Look for interior paints that have minimal to no volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Another choice is paint that is designed to be used both inside and outside, for individuals who are perplexed as to why this has become such a tough task. There is such a thing as a paint that is both interior and exterior in formulation. On June 29, 2014, the original publication date was

What’s The Difference Between Interior and Exterior Paints?

Paints with varying characteristics and formulations are used for a variety of diverse applications. It is possible to clean interior paint since it is designed to be scrubbable, stain resistant, and cleanable. Decorative exterior paints are designed to protect surfaces from fading and mildew. When beginning a painting job, it is essential to understand the distinctions between the two types of paint and to select the appropriate paint. Understanding the differences between exterior and interior paints will require some knowledge of the chemistry that goes into making paint.

First, some basics about paint

Pigments, solvents, additives, and resins are all included in the list of paint components. Water is used as a solvent in latex paint, whereas mineral spirits is used as a solvent in oil-based paint, according to the manufacturer. The solvent is responsible for the paint’s ‘wet’ appearance. As the paint dries, the solvent will be absorbed by the paint. All that is left are the resins, pigments, and additives, which are the long-lasting components of the product. The pigment is the color that is adhered to the surface of the resin by the resin’s resin.

Additives offer paint distinct characteristics, such as the ability to resist the growth of mildew, the ability to be applied more easily, and the ability to be cleaned more easily.

Depending on the weather, you can use either oil or water-based paints outside; however, oil-based paints are not often utilized for interior work.

So, what’s the difference?

While there might be numerous small changes between interior and exterior paints, the major distinction is the kind of resin used in their production. You will recall that the resin is responsible for adhering the pigment to the surface. It is critical for an external paint to be able to withstand temperature variations as well as being exposed to moisture. Exterior paint must also be more durable and resistant to peeling, chipping, and fading as a result of direct sunlight. The resins used in bonding exterior paints must thus be softer as a result of these considerations.

Where should you use one over the other?

The addition of resins to exterior paint can result in outgassing, which can persist for up to 48 hours but is frequently present in minor levels for years after application. This is one of the reasons why you shouldn’t use outside paint inside your home. If you have brick or stucco, choose a flat sheen exterior paint since it will enable the surfaces to breathe and allow moisture to pass through the paint to escape. Brick walls, in particular, should be allowed to air because moisture transfer is to be expected while working with this material.

Even if you are painting indoors, you should make certain that there is appropriate ventilation.

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As a last point, we should point out that there are paints that are suitable for both the inside and outside of a building and may be used for any purpose.

These paints can be quite helpful and flexible, but there are some drawbacks to using them. Talk to a professional painter if you are unsure about what sort of paint to use, or come into our paint store and speak with one of our highly trained staff members.

The Difference Between Interior and Exterior Paints

From outside siding to interior details and everything in between, painting is an excellent method to revitalize your house or company. However, before you begin your next painting project, it is critical that you understand which paints are best suited for specific surfaces or places, and which paints are not. Why? We recommend interior and exterior paints because you want the greatest outcomes, and interior and outdoor paints differ in a number of ways that make them more suited for various jobs.

The Similarities Between Interior Paint and Exterior Paint

It’s important to grasp the similarities and distinctions between interior and exterior paints before learning about the differences. Pigments, resins, solvents, and additives are used in the production of all paints. Pigment is used to give paint its color, and it can be manufactured from either organic or synthetic components that have been finely powdered. In order to bond the paint to the surfaces that are being painted, resins are employed. A solvent is a liquid that is added to paint in order to make it easier to apply to a surface.

Paint additives provide special characteristics to the paint, such as resistance to moisture and mildew or a quicker drying time, among others.

The same may be true for pigments, solvents, and additives, among other things.

The Difference Between Interior and Exterior Paints

Despite the fact that both interior and exterior paint are intended to provide color and flair to your house or company, there is a significant variation in the methods by which they achieve this objective. Exterior and interior paint are designed to help your house appear its best by resisting stains and scouring, ensuring that it continues to look good even after spills or thorough cleaning. Outside paints are intended to enhance the appearance of your home’s exterior by providing resistance against fading, cracking, mildew, and other problems that might occur as a result of prolonged exposure to the weather.


Pigments, which are finely powdered ingredients, are responsible for the color of paint. Organic pigment has a brighter color than synthetic pigment, although organic pigment is more expensive. Synthetic pigment has a duller hue than organic pigment. When it comes to interior paint, organic pigment is most usually employed, whereas synthetic pigment is more commonly used for exterior paint. In addition, because organic paints are less harmful to the environment (although you should still ensure that the space you’re painting is properly ventilated), they have less unpleasant scents, making them an excellent choice for indoor painting tasks.

In order to be more durable and capable of withstanding the weather, exterior paint pigment must be improved.

As a result, it is preferable to keep these paints outside because the synthetic pigment might produce strong aromas that you would not want to have in your house.


When it comes to painting, resin is the element that helps to hold the pigments to the surfaces that are being painted together. Acrylic, epoxy, and silicone are the most popular materials used to make resins. Because exterior paint is exposed to the weather, its resin must be softer and more flexible, allowing it to respond when the material it covers expands and contracts as a result of temperature fluctuations and humidity. The resin used in exterior paint is also intended to provide resistance to cracking, chalking, dampness, and other factors.

Paint for the interior of your home, on the other hand, is not exposed to direct sunshine, rain, and other weather conditions, resulting in a resin that is more stiff.


Adding solvent to paint makes it more easily applied and dispersed around the room. As the name implies, water-based paint is manufactured by using water as the solvent in the manufacturing process. Examples of water-based paint include acrylic paint and latex paint, to name a few of examples. Water-based paints may be used both indoors and out, and they are environmentally friendly. Oil-based paints are often prepared with mineral spirits as the solvent, which is a liquid derived from petroleum that is used to thin the paint.

As an added bonus, oil-based paints have a strong odor and can be more difficult to clean, making them a better choice for outside painting jobs.

Water-based paint also dries faster than oil-based paint, making it more suitable to use inside when you want to be able to utilize the room as soon as possible after it has been painted.


Additives are compounds that are added to paint in order to give it certain properties. Exterior paints, for example, contain chemicals that protect the paint from the environment, such as water resistance and mildew resistance, as well as compounds that make the paint less susceptible to fading as a result of exposure to sunlight. Due to the fact that interior paints do not need to be resistant to harsh weather, these compounds are often absent from their formulation. Additionally, because interior paint does not have the compounds necessary to withstand the outdoors, it would not maintain its quality outside for as long as exterior paint that has been particularly formulated to withstand the elements.

Here’s what you need to know.

A free price, a two-year guarantee on most jobs, custom designs, and professional results are all available from us. We provide painting services for both residential and commercial properties. To get in touch with us or to obtain a free estimate, please click here.

Knowing the Difference: Interior vs Exterior Paint

You should be aware that there are distinctions between interior and exterior paint whether you are paying someone to paint something for you or considering doing the work yourself. Interior and exterior paint are two different types of paint. Choosing a painter who understands the distinctions between the two types of paint is an excellent method to guarantee that the person you employ is knowledgeable about their art. Otherwise, they are not a respectable and qualified professional painter to work with.

Types of Paint

Generally speaking, there are two primary types of paint that are utilized in commercial and residential applications: water-based paints and oil-based paints, respectively. Although these two media appear to be comparable to the untrained eye, their behavior is significantly varied depending on the context in which they are employed. These are the primary characteristics of these two paints, each of which has been specially designed for a distinct purpose. Exterior paints are available in two different finishes: gloss and matte.

Interior paints are also available in two different finishes: gloss and matte.

Because of this, they are more durable.

Water-based paint (also known as latex paint) is utilized for interior applications and emits extremely mild vapors.

Choose the Right Paint

It is necessary to understand the nature of paint in order to choose which paint is most suited for a certain situation. Paint is made up of several components, including solvent, resin, additives, and pigments. It is common practice to use powdered pigments in paints to give them their viscous properties, which is accomplished by mixing the powder with a resin. The difference between exterior and interior paint is not due to the pigments used, but rather to the binding resins used. Any pigment may be used in any paint regardless of whether or not a solvent or resin is added.

  • While the resin holds the pigment together, the additives included in a paint will vary depending on its intended function.
  • When it comes to deciding between interior and exterior paint, the most important thing to consider is how the paint will respond to its environment when exposed to it.
  • It is possible to utilize interior paints outside in some circumstances, although this is not always the case.
  • It will also influence your choice of paint depending on how it dries.
  • Because of these fumes, which can emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds) as the paint begins to cure and even after the paint has finished drying, using outdoor paint indoors can be exceedingly hazardous.
  • Although the same rationale may be used to oil-based paint for an interior painted surface, this cannot be done because of the long-lasting fumes that oil can retain for years at a time.

Please keep in mind that the mildewcides and fungicides in outdoor paint can emit an odor on muggy, humid days, and they may even cause allergic reactions in some people.

Leave it to the Pros

It is essential that you contact specialists to guarantee that your paint work is completed properly using the appropriate supplies and with a high level of professionalism. Pro Painters is a reputable firm situated in Houston that has earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. With years of expertise in both residential and commercial painting projects, you can be certain that your interior and exterior painting projects are in good hands.

Exterior Paint vs. Interior Paint: What’s the Difference?

Freshening up and infusing new hues into your living area may be accomplished by painting. With the arrival of warmer weather on the horizon, you may finally carry out your intentions to paint not only interior but also outdoor locations. Â A fast trip to the grocery shop, on the other hand, can raise some issues. What brand of paint do you use? When applying interior paint outside, does it make a difference if you use interior paint or exterior paint? Apparently not all paint is made equal, and depending on the task at hand, you may want to exercise caution while selecting the appropriate paint for your needs.

  • Paint quality may be determined by the price of the paint. If you’re planning on painting an area for an extended period of time, take this into consideration. When it comes to longevity, the best paint grades are worth their weight in gold, especially on outdoor surfaces. It is normal for paint gloss and color to fade with time, especially on surfaces that are exposed to sunshine.

Paint is made up of four fundamental ingredients: solvent, resin, additives, and pigments. Solvent is the most common of these. Interior and exterior paints contain solvents and pigments that are identical, while exterior paint may have a greater amount of color. The main difference between them may be discovered in the additives and the resin used in their construction. Exterior paints contain additives that can help them last longer in the elements, such as crack resistance, fade prevention, mildew and mold resistance, tannin stain resistance, dirt resistance, and protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Flexible resins are used in external paint to adjust for the varying temperature conditions, as well as to maintain the paint looking nice even when the surface underneath it expands and contracts somewhat.

Interior paint that contains these resins is less susceptible to damage from scuffing and is also easier to clean.

They are constructed in this manner because they share the same physical space as humans do.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “understanding and eliminating common contaminants indoors might help minimize your chance of developing indoor health issues.” ” With being stated, according to today’s standards, a low VOC paint has the same amount of VOCs as a zero VOC paint produced only ten years ago.

When it comes to scuff resistance, zero VOC paint does have a trade-off when compared to conventional paint.

Interior paints are often kinder than exterior paints, therefore you must be softer with them.

Exterior paint is more susceptible to scuffing and scratching than inside paint.

Modern paints are fine-tuned for a specific purpose thanks to the chemistry underlying them; interior paints are used inside, while exterior paints are used outside.

A simple reason why various paints are advised for different purposes is that you will get the greatest results if you choose the right one. Do you require more professional assistance with your painting project? Give us a call, and we’ll be there to assist you from beginning to end.

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