The 9 Best Exterior Paints of 2020

Find the right paint for your outdoor project

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Our Top Picks
"This paint will last for years without fading, cracking, or peeling."
Runner-Up, Best Overall:
BEHR Premium Plus Ultra at Home Depot
"The 100 percent acrylic paint is suitable for a wide array of surfaces."
"Once the paint is set, your porch or patio will be protected for years."
"This paint is mildew resistant, which will keep your wood sound."
"Provides greater durability and protection from the elements."
"Boasts excellent adhesion to both smooth and rough surfaces."
"This paint provides a striking finish and keeps out moisture."
"They're known for their high-end formula and funky colors."
"One-gallon costs significantly less than most competitors."

Painting something outside is one of the most tricky home improvement projects you can do. Exterior paint has to stand up to the punishment of sun, rain, wind, and other weather once it dries. To even put it on in the first place, you need a few hours of good, calm weather to paint and let it dry.

If you have never used exterior paint or you aren't sure what kind to use for your next outdoor project, there are a couple of things to consider before deciding which paint to use. To find the right exterior paint, you first need to know what surface you are painting. Exterior paints can usually work on many types of surfaces, but they may have limitations or different preparation and application techniques. Most paints will either be for siding, walls, and fences, or different types of flooring and ground surfaces.

You will also have to choose between latex and oil-based paint. Latex is easier to work with and can dry in as little as two hours in good weather. Oil-based is usually more durable but can take longer to dry. To help you find the perfect paint for the job, we researched the best exterior paints on the market right now.

Best Overall: Benjamin Moore Aura Exterior Paint

No matter the color and no matter the finish, Benjamin Moore has been producing some of the finest and most dependable paint for over a century. In fact, the company was recognized in J.D. Power’s 2019 Paint Satisfaction Study, ranking number one overall in exterior paint. 

The top outdoor paint from this top-of-the-line brand is their Aura Exterior collection. It’s pricier than some exterior paints, but the quality is unparalleled. Plus, Aura is highly durable, lasting years without fading, cracking, or peeling, so it can end up saving you money in the long run.

The paint is self-priming, 100 percent acrylic, and available in four finishes—flat, low-luster, satin, and semi-gloss. Depending on the finish you choose, one gallon can cover between 250 to 400 square feet. Keep in mind that Aura dries very quickly, setting to re-coat in just four hours.

Aura is primarily available through Benjamin Moore’s website. However, it is offered in-store all across the country. Simply use Benjamin Moore’s store locator to find your nearest pick-up place.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: BEHR Premium Plus Ultra

With hundreds of positive online reviews, BEHR’s Premium Plus Ultra is another top-rated choice that customers reach for again and again. And it’s no surprise. Out of 23 tested products, Consumer Reports named Premium Plus Ultra the top exterior paint, beating out brands that cost nearly twice as much. 

The paint is 100 percent acrylic, available in three finishes—flat/matte, satin, and semi-gloss—and suitable for a wide array of surfaces, including wood, vinyl, stucco, metal, and brick.

The affordable price sounds even better considering that one gallon covers roughly 400 square feet. On top of that, some customers say it took just a single coating to meet their standards. You can also purchase the paint in a five-gallon option that saves more dollar for dollar. 

Premium Plus Ultra is designed with Nanogaurd technology, making it extra resistant to sunlight, moisture, and stains, so it will glisten like new for years after use.

Best for Porch and Patio: Kilz Interior/Exterior Enamel Porch & Patio Latex Floor Paint

Your porch or patio should be a personal oasis. All sunshine, no stress. KILZ can help you kick back and relax with this exterior paint, specially designed to augment and protect outdoor living spaces

The product has strong online reviews, with the majority of customers giving it five stars. Praise ranges from its ease of application to its durability. 

One gallon of paint should cover 200-300 square feet on rough surfaces and 300-400 square feet on smooth surfaces; however, a few users criticize the product for needing multiple coats to fully work. Along with that, KILZ only offers the paint in two colors, Silver Grey and Slate Grey. 

Aside from these two drawbacks, what sets KILZ apart is its performance. Once the paint is set, your porch or patio will be protected for years against everything from mildew to peeling, cracking, and fading. 

Best for Wood: BEHR Barn and Fence Paint

There is a timeless beauty to freshly painted wood, whether it’s glistening suburban picket fences or cozy deck chairs on a bucolic front porch. This beauty can be brought to your home with BEHR’s Barn and Fence Paint.

It uses a powerful formula to stand up to Mother Nature. No cracking, peeling, or fading for years to come, and that’s not to mention its mildew resistance, which will keep your wood healthy and sound. The paint is also livestock-safe, should you need to use it around animals. 

There are a couple of caveats, however. Like many exterior paints designed for wood, BEHR’s Barn and Fence Paint uses a combination of oil and latex, so check the manufacturer’s suggestions if you’re repainting an old surface. This product also has limited color options. It’s currently available in just white and red. 

Best for Vinyl Siding: Sherwin Williams Duration Paint

Available in four different sheens and more than 100 colors, Sherwin Williams Duration lets users refresh their vinyl siding and turn their house into a personalized dream home. Their colors range from timeless neutrals, like Cotton White, to richer and more distinct hues, like Bluebird Feather and Coral Reef. 

The paint is designed with Sherwin Williams’ PermaLast Technology, which provides greater durability, a thicker coat, and better protection from the elements. Customers rave about the paint’s longevity, with some saying it shows no signs of fading after even a decade. 

Such quality comes at a cost, however, as Duration is one of the priciest exterior paints on the market. But, based on the number of positive reviews, it seems most users would say it’s worth the price.

Best for Brick: BEHR Indoor/Exterior Masonry, Stucco, & Brick Paint

BEHR has been crafting top-grade paint for over seventy years now, and they make yet another appearance on our list with their Masonry, Stucco, and Brick Paint. 

With excellent adhesion to both smooth and rough surfaces, this is the ultimate choice if you’re planning on painting brick. It’s easy to clean, only requiring soap and water. And you can find it in a variety of finishes, including flat, satin, and elastomeric, the latter of which is especially great for rooftops. 

One gallon comes at a price that is typically cheaper than that of comparable products, and it goes a long way, covering roughly 400 square feet. 

As an extra unique feature, you can take this paint to your local Home Depot and custom tint it to a variety of BEHR and non-BEHR colors.

Best Oil-Based: Valspar Anti-Rust Armor Paint

Oil-based paint is quickly becoming a thing of the past, but it can still be handy at times, especially if you need to repaint old oil-based painted surfaces. 

Valspar Anti-Rust Armor takes the best qualities of oil-based paint—a striking finish and an ability to keep out moisture—and packages it into a reliable and affordable product.

One gallon covers around 400 square feet, and you can also buy the paint in a quart if you’re working on a smaller project.

The product has received nearly universal praise, with most customers giving it five stars, but keep in mind that, no matter what brand you use, you may run into problems that are typical to oil-based paints, like quick yellowing and easy chipping.

Best Color Selection: Farrow & Ball Paint

British manufacturing company, Farrow & Ball, is often described as a luxury paint provider. They are known for their reinvented high-end formula, as well as the funky names they give their products. If you are willing to pay top dollar, their collection will have the perfect exterior paint for you, and in the perfect color.

With dozens of options, every F&B color is carefully curated to give you the home of your dreams. You can choose a timeless shade, like White Tie, or pick something more exotic, like Smoked Trout or Cook’s Blue.

Most of F&B’s exterior paints work best on masonry, but they still offer a variety of products designed for wood, metal, and more. You’ll likely have to purchase through their website, however, as the brand is difficult to find in-store. 

Best Budget: Glidden Premium Paint

Glidden Premium is not the cheapest exterior paint on the market, but its combination of quality and cost makes it a bang-for-your-buck pick. One gallon costs significantly less than most competitors, and you can even purchase a more cost-effective five-gallon bucket to maximize your savings.  

Available in flat/matte, satin, and semi-gloss, the paint has hundreds of positive online reviews, with the majority of customers awarding it five stars. It is 100 percent acrylic and designed to protect and restore a variety of surfaces: wood, concrete, stucco, vinyl, metal, and more.

Even though all customers can agree on the price, some have pointed out that Glidden Premium requires multiple coats to adequately cover a surface. Reviews indicate that a secondary primary helps the paint adhere better, even though it is meant to be an all-in-one paint and primer combo.

What to Look for in an Exterior Paint

Square Footage Depending on the paint brand, the color, the material of the surface you are painting, and the finish of the paint, the square footage a single gallon covers can vary wildly. In addition to considering price per gallon, consider the price per square foot of coverage, including multiple coats, when you're choosing a paint and deciding how many gallons to get.

Material Are you painting brick, vinyl siding, or wood? Are you using a primer, or covering another layer of paint directly? Make sure that the brand of paint you're considering is compatible with the surface you're painting, or you'll risk needing to repaint much earlier than you may have wanted.

Finish Paints come in four main finishes: flat, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss. Semi-gloss and gloss paints may be used on accents, like doors, window sills, or shutters, but are not well suited to large areas. Flat paints hide imperfections in texture and absorb light, but they are difficult to clean and may require more regular touch-ups. Satin finishes can be washed, but require more care when you're painting to ensure an attractive final result.

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