Explaining Interior and Exterior Paint Differences

Have you come to terms with your homes interior or exterior needing a fresh coat of paint? Maybe you want to spruce the interior by painting the kitchen cabinets white? Or, how about a gray wall color for the living room?

Or maybe you’re thinking of something bigger: repainting the exterior of your house!

Throughout the process, you’ve realized that you don’t know much about the difference between interior and exterior paint. Would you like to know more? Or, you could call a professional painting contractor like us and you will be in great care!

If you’re the researching kind of customer, you have come to the right place. We’ll cover the basics of interior vs exterior paint.

What Is the Difference Between Interior and Exterior Paint?

Let’s talk about the difference between interior and exterior paint.

In this section, you’ll learn why it’s generally not a smart idea to use interior paint on an exterior project, and vice versa.

But don’t worry–if you find a color that you love by another company. Most paint manufacturers are able to match colors from several other companies.

Interior Paint

First of all, let’s take a look at the pigment of interior paint, and how it differs from exterior paint.

In the former, it’s much more likely that different kinds of organic pigments will be used to create those beautiful colors you so enjoy.

Why?

Because they’re not going to have to stand up to any kind of harsh elements or tougher environments.

Now, let’s talk about the binding agents of interior paints. Binders, as they are often called, exist in order to help keep the pigment together. Additionally, they help your paint to actually stick to the surface to which it’s being applied.

So, when you use an interior paint, the binding agents aren’t as “heavy duty” as those used for exterior paints. This is because, as with the pigments, they have less harsh environments to stand up to. However, what interior binding agents do contain? Properties that can help it to stand up to abrasion.

Finally, let’s examine the kinds of liquids that are used in interior paints. Many people have absolutely no idea that interior paints are federally regulated by the EPA. According to some state laws, they contain as few volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs, as possible.

This is especially important when you’re dealing with water-based indoor paints. VOCs are a type of solvent–and they can actually vaporize when they are exposed to room temperature.

Of course, you’ve probably already guessed that VOCs aren’t exactly great for your health.

This means we suggest that you heavily consider purchasing paints that have been specifically formulated to be low in overall VOC levels.

Exterior Paint

Exterior paint pigments need to be a bit stronger–because they’ll need to stand up to wind, snow, and other elements.

This means that, unlike interior paints, they’re not usually going to contain much organic pigmentation. If they did, you’d be stuck repainting your house once every few months–something nobody wants!

Instead, exterior paints use pigments that are designed to resist fading.

So, what do you need to know about the binding agents of exterior paint?

They’re designed to help resist common problems like cracks in the paint, moisture, and mildew, and even chalking. Interior paints are not always formulated to address these conditions. Which is why it’s so important that you don’t use interior paint on the outside of your home.

When it comes to those VOC requirements?

Since exterior paints aren’t meant to be used on the inside of your home, it’s fine and safe for them to have higher levels of VOC.

This is likely the most important reason why we so strongly advocate against using exterior paints inside of your home.

The Composition of House Paint

Paint is made up of resins, additives, solvents, and of course, pigments.

If you decide to use a latex-based paint, then the solvent associated with it is water. If you use an oil-based paint, your solvent will be mineral spirits.

But what is a solvent, anyway?

It’s what gives the paint its wetness–meaning that the solvent will eventually evaporate when the paint finishes drying.

Additives can help your paint to accomplish different things. It might make it more resistant to mold and mildew, and it might even make it easy to clean.

Finally, resin is what actually holds the pigment (the color) to the surface it’s being applied to.

You Now Know the Difference Between Interior and Exterior Paint

We hope that this post has helped you to master the difference between interior and exterior paint.

And while we’d love to be able to tell you that it’s completely fine to use an interior paint on the outside of your house?

You should have learned by now that it’s never a good idea.

However, no matter what paint color you end up going with, we want you to make sure that you have the home of your dreams. Spend some time on our website to learn about the interior and exterior painting projects that we can help you with.

Reach out to us to get a free quote for your next project today!