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Can You Use Exterior Paint Inside?

by | May 2, 2023 | Exterior Painting, Interior Painting

With over 30 years of exterior and interior painting experience, we’re happy to answer questions about the process and painting materials. Let’s begin by answering if you can you use exterior paint inside…

Can You Use Exterior Paint Inside?

Customers often ask us if they can use exterior paint for an interior painting project. The answer is yes but it is not really recommended.  Exterior paints are made for outdoor elements and have additives that are not great or healthy inside your home.  Interior paints are formulated with less odor and VOC’s so they are much better inside your home.    

Risks of Using Exterior Paint Inside

Paint companies make exterior paint to stand up to the elements such as freezing cold and blazing hot temps.  They add resins that help them expand and contract with the hot and cold temps so they won’t come apart under harsh conditions.  They also put mildewcides in the paint to help prevent mildew growth on them.  All of these additives have an odor to them which can be bad inside your home.  They also have much higher volatile organic compounds which are not meant to be in your home.  Breathing these fumes can cause health issues for some people with certain medical conditions.  Paints can put off gas for weeks so it could smell bad for a long time if you are not careful.  

What is the Difference Between Interior and Exterior Paint?

Interior paint is made with low VOCs and less odor so you won’t get sick using them on the inside of your home.  Interior paints are not made to be used outside as they are not meant to expand and contract with the elements.  Exterior paints are made specifically to hold up to the changes in temperature and will expand and contract much better than an interior paint will.      

Can You Use Interior Paint on Exterior?

Again there is no law that says you can’t use interior paint on the exterior but it is not meant to hold up and will likely have problems in the future.  Interior paints are likely to crack and peel on exterior surfaces.  We always recommend spending the extra money to purchase the correct paint for each situation.  Saving money using the wrong type of paint on the wrong surface will cost more in the long run.  

Your Painting Partner in Portland, Oregon

We are always happy to help you find the correct paint for your painting project even if we are not doing the painting for you. Thank you for reading and if you are looking for painting services in the Portland metro area please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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