How to Choose the Best Exterior Paint for Your Home

How to Choose the Best Exterior Paint for Your Home

Choosing a paint for the exterior of your home involves not only considering your weather conditions but also the type of exterior your home has. California offers climates that range from sea level along the Pacific Ocean to homes in the mountains. In addition, the exteriors of California homes display every type of exterior. With the information in this blog post, you'll be able to choose the best paint for your Folsom area home.

A quick guide to the best exterior paint for homes in Roseville CA

  • Best exterior paint for brick
    • Handmade bricks used in homes with ornamental brickwork -- should not be painted
    • Handmade bricks used in homes with no ornamental brickwork -- milk paint or lime-based whitewash
    • Machine-made bricks -- mineral-based or silicate paints that allow the bricks to breathe
  • Best exterior paint for wood siding -- water-based acrylic latex, acrylic enamel, or acrylic latex enamel
  • Best exterior paint for wood shingles -- stains or acrylic latex primer and paint
  • Best exterior paint for aluminum and fiber-cement siding -- water-based acrylic latex, acrylic enamel, or acrylic latex enamel
  • Best exterior paint for vinyl siding -- acrylic paint with urethane polymers in light, vinyl-safe colors
  • Best exterior paint for stucco -- acrylic, elastomeric, or masonry paint

Best Exterior Paint Options for Different Surfaces

The best exterior paint for brick

The best exterior paint for brick depends on whether the bricks are machine-made bricks, soft handmade historic bricks, or hard handmade historic bricks. If the bricks in your home date back to before 1870, they are historic, handmade bricks.

Truthfully, modern, machine-made bricks are better off without paint, and harder handmade bricks that have been laid to create ornamental designs within the exterior walls of your home should never be painted.

On the other hand, handmade bricks that have not been used to create ornamental designs are most likely a softer type of brick that requires the protection of a layer of paint. The best types of paints for these fragile, historic bricks are all natural paints such as lime-based whitewash or milk paint.

Modern, machine-made bricks and the harder type of historic bricks need to breathe. Painting these bricks can trap moisture between the brick and the paint. If the temperature gets cold enough that the trapped moisture freezes and then thaws, and that can happen in California, the bricks and the mortar between them begin to erode. That erosion can endanger the structural integrity of your home.

If, however, the bricks in your home are machine-made and they have already been painted or damaged, paint is the least expensive solution. Just be certain to choose a silicate or mineral-based paint designed to allow your bricks to breathe.

As an alternative to painting, you can have your brick professionally stained. The stain seeps into the pores of the brick and reduces some of the risk associated with painting them. You can choose a stain that will change the color of your bricks, lighten them, or darken them.

If you're in doubt about the type of bricks used in your home, a professional painter can make that determination and recommend the right type of paint.

The best type of exterior paint for wood siding and shingles

Oil-based paint used to be the standard choice for painting wood siding. It offers a strong, durable finish, but mixing it can require harsh chemicals. It also can emit VOCs, and it takes longer to cure or dry than latex paints. On wood siding, which expands in response to warm temperatures and contracts in response to cool temperatures, oil-based paints can develop cracks. Oil-based paints also tend to yellow.

Like oil-based paints, water-based acrylic latex, acrylic enamel, and acrylic latex enamel paints offer a durable finish. However, in addition to curing faster than oil-based paints, long-lasting acrylic paints emit fewer VOCs, withstand damage from the elements, and resist fading from the sun. Acrylic paints also are flexible, allowing them to expand and contract which makes these paints a better choice for wood siding than an oil-based paint.

An acrylic paint with a flat finish draws less attention to older siding that has suffered some wear or damage, but satin or eggshell finishes are more popular and more common with siding that is in good repair.

The best exterior paint for cedar shingles

Cedar shingles do not need to be painted or stained, but they can be treated either way. Because one row of shingles overlaps the row beneath, cedar stain that soaks into the wood provides better coverage than a coat of paint. A coating of stain lasts only three to five years, however, while a double coat of paint over a stain-blocking acrylic latex or alkyd primer will last far longer.

Acrylic latex primers and paints are the best choice for cedar shingles because, as with wood siding, flexible acrylic paints and primers expand and contract with the wood.

Newly installed cedar shingles should be painted within two weeks after their installation. If it's not possible to paint your shingles that soon after installation, they will need to be conditioned before being painted just as older shingles would.

The best exterior paint for stucco - Elastomeric Paint

A paint with a flat finish gives stucco the most natural look. When it comes to which type of paint to use, though, you have a choice of three -- acrylic, elastomeric, and masonry.

As with brick, stucco needs to breathe. Today's elastomeric coatings have a high degree of permeability or breathability. Elastomeric paints bridge the gap created by small cracks in your stucco, so it hides imperfections better than acrylic paint. It also resists water better than acrylic. In addition, elastomeric paint, as suggested by its name, has a degree of stretch to it that both masonry and acrylic paints lack.

Elastomeric paints are designed specifically for stucco. While these paints are somewhat more expensive than acrylic paints, they contain additives that allow them to form a stronger bond with the stucco. It may be several years before you need to paint again. Elastomeric paints designed for stucco also are more water and mildew resistant than acrylic paint. However, you may find that some manufacturers have limited color selections and do not offer ultra deep colors in this product.

The best exterior paint for aluminum siding

You can refresh the look of your aluminum siding by repainting it. In fact, aluminum siding accepts paint better than vinyl siding. An acrylic latex paint designated for use on metal is the best choice. Select a paint with a flat or satin finish, especially if your siding has blemishes such as dents. Gloss finishes tend to draw attention to imperfections.

The best exterior paint for fiber cement siding

If you are installing new fiber cement siding on your home, you can order it primed but unpainted or with the color baked in at the factory. Even if you order the color baked on, it will eventually fade. Not to worry, though, you can paint fiber cement siding using acrylic paint.

The best exterior paint for vinyl siding

At one time, the paints that were available wouldn't stick to vinyl, but since then acrylic paints have been formulated with urethane resins for use specifically on vinyl. Like wood siding, vinyl siding expands with warmer temperatures and contracts with cooler temperatures. The urethane polymers enable the paint to adhere to the vinyl while the acrylic in the blend expands and contracts with the siding.

Also, keep in mind that vinyl siding is designed to absorb only so much heat. A dark colored paint may absorb too much heat, causing the siding to warp or buckle. Consequently, some paint manufacturers offer vinyl safe paints that reduce heat absorption. It's also better to choose lighter paint colors for vinyl because they reflect rather than absorb heat. A paint that is a shade or two lighter than your current siding is the best choice because it will require fewer coats of paint to cover the siding.

The best exterior paints for California homes in Folsom, Rocklin, Roseville, Granite Bay, Lincoln, and the El Dorado Hills

The Koppen Climate Types place Folsom, Rocklin, Roseville, Granite Bay, Lincoln, and the El Dorado Hills in an area of Northern California that features a Mediterranean climate with warm to hot summers and mild but rainy winters. With this type of climate, you'll want a paint that resists moisture, rain, and fading under bright sunlight. You'll also want a paint with the flexibility to expand when applied to a wood surface or vinyl siding. Acrylic latex, acrylic enamel, and acrylic latex enamel possess exactly the characteristics you need for your home's exterior.

While it's important to choose light color paints for vinyl siding, in a Mediterranean climate, you might want to consider lighter exterior colors for other types of exteriors as well. Darker colors that absorb heat may make the interior of your home feel all that much hotter in the summer, increasing your use of your air conditioner. Lighter colored exterior paints that reflect heat may help keep your home cooler, keeping you more comfortable and reducing your utility bill.

When you need house painting services, contact TRICO PAINTING for a consultation on the best paint choices for your Folsom area home. Our professional painters have decades of experience with both interior and exterior house painting.