This is the biggest mistake you can make when painting your home’s exterior

Adding color to the outside of your home? This is what the experts want you to know before picking up a paintbrush

small exterior of a cottage house
(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

When it comes to painting your interiors, there are many popular tricks, tips, and trends to achieving the perfect finish. But what about when it comes to the outside? Your exterior is responsible for making a first (and lasting) impression on all who pass by your home – so it’s important to get it right.

If you’re looking to create an impact that sets the tone for the rest of your scheme, then knowing how to paint a house exterior the professional way is the best place to begin. And a part of getting that expert finish is knowing what you need to avoid. 

According to Sherwin-Williams’ director of product information Alex Sinclair, the biggest mistake you can make occurs long before you touch the paintbrush. In fact, the process begins with your paint ideas at the buying stage. Here’s what you need to know.

The biggest exterior paint mistake – according to an expert

Cottage patio ideas

(Image credit: Little Greene)

‘The biggest mistake that can be made when determining which paint to use outside is not using a product formulated for exteriors,’ Alex says. 

When you’re looking for paint colors for the exterior of a house, Alex urges you to take time to research the quality and attributes of a specific paint to the environment in which it will be used. This is because regular interior paints are not designed to ‘take the heavy wear and tear an exterior receives from weather and other outdoor elements’. 

‘Many interior paints are formulated to provide washability, stain resistance, hide, coverage, and easy touch-ups. However, with exterior coatings, durability is key,’ she adds. 

What should you choose instead?  

Front door design

(Image credit: Unsplash/Derick McKinney)

Avoiding interior paints is a must, but what else do you need to look out for when selecting the right exterior paint for your home. 

‘The best exterior paints provide UV and weather protection, making them resistant to peeling, blistering, and cracking,’ Alex says. ‘Homeowners should look for paints formulated to resist color fade, chalking, mildew, and dirt, saving them money and time in maintenance in the long term.’

For a lasting paint finish that will leave your neighbors envious, the expert adds that you should look for a coating with self-cleaning technology that sheds dirt on contact with rain or water. So, you can spend less time maintaining your home’s exterior and more time experimenting with new color ideas inside. 

‘Choose the right exterior paint and you can create curb appeal that lasts,’ says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief of Homes & Gardens. ‘A good exterior paint has staying power for enduring style.’

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.