There is a wide range of colours and finishes to select when the exterior of the building needs to be painted. The modern paints provide various effects and colours that can make the exterior surfaces longer lasting and attractive. Care must be taken to use paints which are suitable for exterior use and can handle exposure to the elements, and is not easily eroded or flaked by rain, wind or sun.
There are two types of bases for paints. They are either oil based or latex based. Latex based paints are also called water based paints and offers a wide range of advantages. Latex paint tends to dry faster than oil based paint and is usually considered to be more resilient against mould and colour fade. However water based paints are more sensitive to the elements than oil based paint, and can readily flake or strip.
Oil based paints, also known as enamel paint, are generally considered to be more suited to the exterior of the home than water based paints. Oil paints are more hardy when exposed to elements, can be cleaned regularly and are moisture resistant. However they take a long time to dry and colours can decrease in intensity when faced with regular sunlight. After painting it is also required to use petrochemical products to clean drips and brushes, which could be a hassle, especially for those who would like a more environmental option.
Another option of exteriors is paints with an acrylic finish. These are like latex paint, but can dry quicker than water based paint. They can however be quite costly.
Alkyd paints can be used for exterior and interiors, but cannot be used on stone or metals which have not been painted with a primer first. Alkyds must be thinned out with chemicals before use.
It is essential to use primer paint on most metals and wood in order to increase the longevity of the layer painted over it. It prevents rust and mildew and ultraviolet filters is sometimes built into the primers to protect against elements such as sunlight.