What is the difference between interior and exterior paint?

Not all paints are equal, and if you are in the process of doing some repainting, it is very important that you choose the correct type of paint for the job. People sometimes assume that outdoor paint is more resilient and that it is wise to also use it for interior painting. However, this is not the case, and you should make sure that your choice of paint suits the specific project you have in mind.

The components of all paints contain pigments, solvents, additives and resins. When it comes to latex paint, the solvent is water, while for oil-based paint the solvent of choice is mineral spirits. The solvent is what causes the paint to be ‘wet’, and solvents evaporate as soon as the paint dries. The pigment is what gives paint its colour, while additives give paint different qualities like making the paint easier to apply or easier to clean.

Resin is what binds the pigment to the surface. While both interior and exterior paint share similarities in terms of solvents and pigments, there is a difference in the choice of resin.

Interior paint doesn’t have to withstand the weather, and is made with more rigid resins. The resins used in interior paint make interior paint less prone to damage from scuffing, and also easier to clean.

Exterior paint must be tougher and resist peeling, chipping, and fading from sunlight, which means that the resins used in binding exterior paints must be softer.

The added resins in exterior paint can cause outgassing, which usually continues in small amounts for years. This makes it unhealthy to use exterior paint indoors, and using it might even trigger allergies.

There are some paints that are dual-purpose, but they also have their own sets of pros and cons.

If you are in doubt about the best paint to use, get in touch with us to find out about our handyman painting services.

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