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You wrapped up a home improvement project last year where the outside of your house was painted. Not wanting the leftover paint to go to waste you decide to do some touch ups on the inside of your house. However, exterior paint in your home poses a risk to you and your family. Interior and exterior paint have different qualities and chemical makeups that make them specially formulated for the indoors or outdoors. 

Whether you’re ready to paint the inside or outside of your house, GreenCal Construction has the experience to get it done right the first time. We can even assist with helping you find what color will look best on your home. Keep reading to gain more knowledge about interior and exterior paints and why each can only be used in the appropriate areas.

What is the difference between outside and inside paint?

Interior and exterior paints are different because one is designed for the environmental changes of the outdoors while the other is suited for a home and living space. These differences make it difficult to use interior paint outdoors and vice versa.

Interior Paint

Interior paints are manufactured to have characteristics for an interior environment and are not durable enough for the outdoors. They are low odor, washable, scratch and splatter resistant and emit a minimal amount of VOCs and other harmful chemicals. The lack of VOCs also means the organic pigment in the paints will fade and flake when exposed to sunlight. Interior paints also lack mildewcide and other chemicals that help paint withstand rain, snow and heat. 

Exterior paint

Exterior paints are more durable, provide better coverage and adhere extremely well to all surfaces. Exterior paints are usually acrylic latex which is water soluble and makes the paint weather resistant. Acrylic latex paint works on exterior surfaces including stucco, wood, cement and brick. It is best to use a qualified contractor when painting the exterior of your house.

However, exterior paints contain harmful chemicals that when released inside a home would be dangerous for the people living there. While dangerous indoors, the chemicals in exterior paint make it more suited to the outdoors. The additives keep the color from fading quickly, are weather resistant, durable and resist physical damage such as chips.

Can you use exterior paint on the interior?

It may seem appealing to use exterior paint inside of your home because of being durable and fade resistant. However, it is not recommended to use exterior paint inside of your home due to the harmful chemicals that can be released into the air. “The additives that are needed to make exterior paint resilient outdoors are not intended for use inside,” says Mark Savino, Strategic Remodeling Advisor at YouthfulHome.

If you mistakenly used exterior paint in your house and find yourself googling “I accidentally used exterior paint inside”, there is nothing to worry about. Simply prime your walls and paint over with interior paint. With the walls primed and repainted you are at no risk from the exterior paints harmful chemicals.

Another commonly asked question is “can I use exterior paint inside my garage?”. Because garages are frequently opened and ventilated it would be ok to use exterior paint here, but interior paint is still the better option. Also if you are regularly using or working in your garage it is best to stick to interior paint.

What happens if you use interior paint on exterior?

If the outside of your home is painted with interior paint, it doesn’t pose any risk or health concerns but it won’t last. Interior paint doesn’t have the same chemicals and durability as an exterior paint because it’s made to be safe for those inside a house. Extreme temperatures, snow, rain, and sun will cause interior paint to deteriorate quickly if it’s outdoors. The sun will fade the paint color, and temperature changes will cause cracking. You must use exterior paint on the outside of your house if you want the paint to last and stay in good condition.

Need an interior or exterior paint job? GreenCal Construction can help!

Whether you’re looking to get your house painted or just have questions on what paint to use on the exterior of your home give GreenCal construction a call at 714.790.1750. With years of experience in the industry we deliver high quality results every time and we’ll treat your house like it’s our own. We’re looking forward to working with you! Contact us today for a free exterior painting quote.

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