Best Exterior House Paint: Top Brands For Outdoor Painting

You could be painting your wooden shed, your stone walls, or the metal gate. You might be fixing up frost damage, preventing rust, or just adding some bright color to your property.

No matter what material you are painting and what kind of protection or look you want to achieve, you want to find the best exterior paint for the purpose.

Read on further down the page for a comprehensive guide to choosing the best outdoor paint for any material and outcome.

Below is a quick guide table to showcase our recommended paints and their features.


Exterior House Paint Comparison Guide


Image

Product

Sizes

Colors

Price Guide 

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Rust-Oleum 1994502 Painters Touch Latex

Rust-Oleum
1994502
Latex

1 quart

10+

$$

KILZ Exterior Siding, Fence, and Barn Paint

KILZ Exterior
Siding, Fence,
& Barn Paint

1 gallon

White

$$$

KILZ Interior-Exterior Enamel Porch & Patio Latex Floor Paint

KILZ Interior/Exterior Enamel Porch
& Patio Latex

1 gallon

2 x Gray

$$$

Rust-Oleum 7791502 Protective Enamel Paint Stops Rust

Rust-Oleum 7791502 Protective Enamel

1 quart

White

$$

Rust-Oleum 7210502 Hammered Metal Finish

Rust-Oleum
7210502
Metal Finish

1 quart

5+

$$

Diamond Brite Paint 31550 1-Gallon Oil Base All Purpose Enamel Paint

Diamond Brite
Oil Base
Enamel Paint

1 gallon or 1 quart

10+

$$

Rust-Oleum 7792830-6PK Stops Rust Spray Paint

Rust-Oleum
Stops Rust
Spray Paint

12 oz

30+

$$$

Rust-Oleum 7250830 Stops Rust Metallic Spray

Rust-Oleum
7250830
Metallic Spray

11 oz

10+

$


Different Types of Outdoor Paints


Before you buy paint, you want to make sure that you get the best exterior paint for your project. Here are some factors you should consider when you choose.


The Surface


Different surfaces require differently formulated paints. You may need to use 2 or 3 types of paint when doing a project. For example, a porch may be made of both metal and wood. Different paints should be used for each of those surfaces.

Wood

You can paint wooden outdoor surfaces with paint, stain, or varnish. Paint refers to an opaque coat which can be any color and protects the wood from the elements.

Stain is less opaque and allows you to see the natural wood grain through the color. It soaks into the wood and protects it.

Finally, varnish is transparent but provides a full, shiny coat. The wood is protected and its grain is visible. It comes in various shades so you could alter the natural color of the wood.

Metal

You may want to paint outdoor metal such as a railing, gates, sheds, garden furniture, or drains. Paints intended for metal can be outdoor-only or multi-purpose.

You can choose between quick-drying water-based varieties and more traditional solvent-based paints. Also, ensure that you choose your paint correctly for your type of metal.

Direct-to-galvanized paint is intended for direct application to metal surfaces which do not rust such as steel, copper, and brass.

Direct-to-rust metal paint, on the other hand, is for use on surfaces that are rusty. Though you should clean and sand down your surface, the paint will take care of the rest.

Masonry

This includes brick, stucco, cement, concrete, stone, shingles, and more. Masonry paint is available in either a smooth or textured finish. There are countless different colors to choose from as well.

Top best exterior paints for masonry depends on your preferred look and color, as well as its durability. Most masonry paint is made with latex for adhesion.


The Paint


The compounds within paint vary greatly so that different surfaces can achieve different outcomes. Some of the most common types are outlined below.

best exterior paint

Water-Based

Outdoor, Water-based paint is the most common and can be used with most surfaces. It consists of pigment with a binder and uses water as its carrier.

Water-based paint is flexible, so it will expand and contract with your surface. It is also breathable so it won’t trap moisture which could cause cracking and peeling. It dries in 1 to 6 hours and emits less odor.

Latex paints with an all-acrylic binder are known to be more weather-resistant than those with a vinyl-acrylic binder.

Water-based paint can be applied over oil-based paint. It is not recommended if there are four or more layers of oil paint, as it can then cause the oil paint to pull away and crack.

Oil-Based/Solvent-Based

Oil or solvent-based paints work better on stained or chalky surfaces, metals that rust, and bleeding wood. They consist of pigment and resin in a solvent thinner.

The solvent evaporates to leave a solid, pigmented coating. These paints take 8 to 24 hours to dry but are also more penetrative and adhesive. They are better at blocking stains.

Oil-based paint should not be applied over water-based paint, but it is an effective primer.

Finish Types

The finish of your paint can be flat/matte, glossy, or satin. Flat or matte paint makes imperfections less obvious, but it is also harder to clean.

It is typically used for siding. Glossy paint, on the other hand, creates a hard, shiny, durable finish that brings out details in texture but is easier to clean.

This paint type is preferred for trim and doors and is not well-suited for siding or walls as it brings out imperfections.

Finally, satin finish paint is in between flat and glossy. It is slightly glossy, so it’s easier to clean than flat paint but still hides imperfections well.


What Makes Up A Quality Exterior Paint?


The best exterior paint for any surface should be compatible with the material you are painting. It should adhere well, and should not crack or peel.

You want it to remain weather and corrosion-resistant for as long as possible. For materials like wood and rust-prone metal, it should effectively protect your material from rotting or rusting as well as general weathering.

Keep in mind that primers and topcoats can be crucial in ensuring the durability of the paint, though many paints can be applied without either.

How you will apply the paint may affect your choice, though most paints can be used with a brush, roller, or spray gun. Outdoor paints also come in spray cans.

Climate is an important factor to consider as well, as some paints will not be recommended for use in certain temperatures.


Top Manufacturers


Though there are many, a few of the best exterior paint brands win the race in terms of quality and customer satisfaction.

Rust-Oleum

Founded in 1921, Rust-Oleum has been manufacturing paints and coatings for home and industrial use for nearly a century.

The founder noticed that fish-oil spilled on rusty metal decks stopped corrosion from spreading.

Since then, the company’s products have developed to not only stop rust but to offer a variety of excellent protective coatings for many materials.

Their brands include Stops Rust, High Performance, NeverWet, Painter’s Touch, Universal, and many others.

Kilz

Kilz originated in 1954 as a paint manufacturer. The company produces many products for all kinds of indoor and outdoor purposes and surfaces.

These include primers, wood care products, concrete coatings, and paints. Their products are highly reputed for their versatility, quality, and durability.


Review of the Top 8 Exterior Paints


1. Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Latex (1 quart)

This versatile paint can be used for a variety of indoor and outdoor surfaces including wood, metal, plaster, masonry, and unglazed ceramic.

It is a durable, water-based acrylic paint known to provide long-lasting protection for your material.

The paint is fast-drying and will feel dry to the touch in about half an hour, meaning your project can be completed quickly even if you apply multiple coats.

It comes in various colors and finishes including flat, gloss, and satin.

All you have to do before you start painting is sand the surface (ideally with 180/200 grit sandpaper), wash it with degreaser, and let it dry.

This 1 quart can cover up to 120 sq. ft and can be used with a paint sprayer.

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2. KILZ Exterior Siding, Fence, and Barn Paint (1 gallon)

This Kilz paint may be the best exterior house paint for siding, fences, and barns. It offers great coverage and protection against the elements.

This 1-gallon monster paint is ideal for smooth or rough-sawn vertical exterior wood surfaces such as plywood, shingles, siding, fences, and laminates.

Kilz offers great coverage and protection against the elements. It is ideal for smooth or rough-sawn vertical exterior wood surfaces such as plywood, shingles, siding, fences, and laminates.

You can also use it on masonry, stucco, and sanded glossy surfaces. It resists cracking, peeling, and blistering in varied conditions due to its unique formula that combines the best of water and oil-based paints.

The paint dries to the touch in 2 to 3 hours but should be left to dry for 6 to 8 hours between coats.

Cleaning up afterward will be easy with just water and soap. This 1-gallon can of paint covers 200-500 sq. ft., depending on the porosity of the surface. It is available in white and red. You can apply it directly onto clean, dry, sanded surfaces.

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3. KILZ Interior/Exterior Enamel Porch & Patio
Latex Floor Paint (1 gallon)

Another KILZ product, this paint is ideal for indoor and outdoor horizontal surfaces like decks, porches, and patios.

You can use it on all previously primed or painted surfaces including wood and masonry, as well as trim, siding, and trellises.

This is a water-based, latex paint with an all-acrylic binder for excellent weather-resistant adhesion.

Kilz is easy to clean and resists scuffing, fading, and cracking, making it ideal for areas with foot-traffic. It also features a mildew-resistant film for extra protection.

It dries to the touch in an hour and can be recoated in 4-6 hours. The 1 gallon can will smoothly and evenly cover 200-300 sq. ft. of rough material or 300-400 sq.ft. of smooth material. It is available in two different neutral shades.

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4. Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Satin Enamel (32 ounces)

This paint specializes in protecting metal surfaces from rust.

It is ideal for metallic furniture, fixtures, and outdoor décor, but can also be used on wood, masonry, concrete, and more.

This oil-based formula provides a durable, weather-resistant coating guaranteed to stop and prevent rust.

The satin finish creates an attractive, low-sheen look that is easy to clean and will not fade or chip. Paint dries in 2-4 hours. This 32 oz. can cover up to 100 sq. ft.

The paint is available in various nature-inspired colors, including white, redwood, hunter green, and black.

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5. Rust-Oleum Hammered Metal Finish (1 Quart)

Another specialized Rust-Oleum product, this paint is excellent at hiding flaws and imperfections.

When it dries, it creates a unique texture effect of hammered (dimpled) metallic gloss. It is ideal for scratched, rusted, or pitted metals, including wheelbarrows, lighting fixtures, wheel rims, and more.

You can also apply it to concrete, masonry, and wooden surfaces.

The weather and corrosion-resistant paint is versatile and can be used indoors or outdoors. Its oil-based formula is excellent at preventing rust and resists abrasion, fading, and chipping.

This paint does not require your surface to be primed, but it is recommended that you apply two coats.

It dries to the touch in 2 to 4 hours and is ready for re-coating in thirty minutes.

The second coat should be applied within four hours or after 7 days when the paint has dried completely. The 1 quart can cover up to 100 sq. ft. of a surface. It is available in various natural shades.

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6. Diamond Brite Oil Base All Purpose Enamel Paint
(1 quart/1 gallon)

This versatile oil-based paint can be used on a variety of indoor and outdoor surfaces, including wood, concrete, brick, plaster, masonry, hardboard, and metal.

It provides a tough, durable surface that resists scuffs, fading, cracking, and peeling despite high traffic and use.

It also protects against repeated abrasion, rust, and many household chemicals and also provides protection from mildew.

The paint can be applied with a brush, roller, or paint sprayer. One gallon will cover up to 300 sq. ft. It dries to the touch in 6 – 8 hours, and requires 24 hours to dry between coats.

As it is oil-based, the clean-up requires mineral spirits. It comes in a wide variety of neutral and bright colors, available by quart or gallon.

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7. Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Spray Paint (12 oz)

As the name suggests, this oil-based Rust-Oleum spray paint specializes in stopping and preventing rust. It can be used indoors or outdoors to apply to metal, wood, wicker, concrete, and masonry.

A protective enamel in spray form is ideal for application to surfaces that are difficult to cover with a brush or roller.

The any-angle spray tip allows you to aim in any direction including upside down, so you don’t have to worry about the parts that are hard to reach.

The paint dries to the touch in 2 to 4 hours, creating a smooth, chip-resistant and color-retaining coat. One 12oz can will cover up to 15 sq ft.

It comes in a large spectrum of colors as well as various finishes. You can buy the cans individually or in six packs.

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8. Rust-Oleum Metallic Spray (11 oz)

Rust-Oleum Metallic spray contains metallic flakes for a brilliant, shiny finish.

The oil-based formula can be applied to wood, metal, concrete, masonry, and more to create a durable, protective coating with excellent rust prevention.

The paint is long-lasting and resists abrasion, fading, and chipping.

This spray can feature all-angle technology for easy application on hard-to-reach areas, as well as a wider finger pad to reduce fatigue from continuous spraying.

The paint dries to the touch in 20 minutes, and the 11 oz. can cover up to 15 sq. ft. It comes in a variety of neutral and brighter shades.

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Conclusion


No matter what paint you choose, make sure you always read the manufacturer’s warnings and recommendations for the best possible result.

Now that you know all the basics for choosing the right exterior paint, it should be an easy and fun task! Pick your shade and get painting!


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