Picking the Right Exterior Paint

Picking the Right Exterior Paint

by Bryan Baird


Owning a home in the desert, you can be sure of one thing, eventually the harsh desert sun and other elements of our dry climate will wear down any directly

exposed painted surfaces.


The first thing you will notice is a discoloration or chalking. This also pertains to synthetic stucco surfaces and sidings that are applied with a factory color. This is an oxidization which is primarily caused by UV rays. In most cases with architectural coatings, it cannot be removed and must be painted over.

A stucco surface, because of its porosity, can usually be pressure washed to remove the majority of the oxidized coating as well as any loose or peeling paint before it is recoated. Smooth and nonporous surfaces like vinyl or metal siding, need to be cleaned. A commercial detergent, such as trisodium phosphate can be found at paint stores or local hardware stores. The surface will then need to be thoroughly rinsed.


Now you are ready for paint! There are several options as to which type of coating to apply on stucco surfaces:


Standard exterior house paint is usually the least expensive, and has a vinyl acrylic binder with extender pigments. This product has less ability to protect against UV rays emitted by the sun, so it oxidizes faster and requires more coats to cover the surface.


Acrylic house paint provides longer color retention and adhesion. The binder is one hundred percent acrylic with titanium pigments. This gives the surface a full or heavy-bodied look. Acrylic paints adhere to most surfaces, and are easy to apply. It is a popular coating for any job.



Elastomeric paints have been more popular lately to apply on stucco surfaces because they provide excellent waterproofing properties, can tolerate some substrate movement, and their stretchiness allows them to fill or bridge hairline cracks once applied. The paint’s durability is longer, has insulating qualities, and most manufacturers offer a longer warranty. Elastomeric paints can be difficult to apply, so hiring a professional for the application of this product is strongly recommended. Elastomeric paint is not recommended for synthetic stucco, however. Synthetic stucco already has an elastomeric make-up and should be painted over with one hundred percent acrylic paint.

Smooth siding surfaces, such as vinyl require a higher quality, one hundred percent acrylic coating. Once the surface is properly prepped, it can be sprayed or brushed. Spraying is recommended to eliminate any running of the paint where the siding is joined and overlapped.


Metal sidings require priming before the application of finish paint. Any rust or peeling paint must be thoroughly removed. A metal primer can be used. Once this is done, it can be finished with one hundred percent acrylic enamel paint.


Wood siding has various application requirements. A previously painted surface can be cleaned and roughed up with sandpaper to get the best result on applying a finish. Most exterior paints can be used. Wood surfaces must breathe, so it is not recommended to use elastomeric coatings. Vinyl acrylic is self-priming when applied over new wood, so a couple of coats will suffice; however, new cedar may still have pockets of sap that cannot be seen on the surface. If not primed, it can cause bleeding or a stained look through the finish paint that is called tanning. Any stain killing primer can be used before applying the finish coat.


The make-up of all exterior coatings and the time of exposure to sunlight will decide how soon oxidization will occur. Also, darker colors will increase the time



period of the chalking. Colors like red and blue are notorious for rapid oxidization due to the colorants used, and have been known to start chalking in only a couple of years.


The average lifespan of a good acrylic paint on an exterior should be eight to ten years. Most products are warrantied for one or two years, depending on the manufacturer.


When considering a professional painting contractor to paint your home, always get three or more bids. Make sure the professional includes the process and type of materials they will be using. Cheapest is not always the best. Be prudent!


For more information, call Baird Painting at (702) 346-1826, or visit them at 621 Hardy Way, Mesquite.


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