Painting the exterior of your house might sound like a benign task, but don’t be fooled. Paint is an investment, and you will want your investment to last as long as possible. There is a lot that needs to be considered when choosing what kind of paint is right for you, and nearly endless factors that can influence how long your paint lasts.

There are basically two categories of paint that are available, both with their own advantages and disadvantages. We will begin exploring these two categories.

Category #1: Water-Based or “Latex” Paint


  1. Water-based paint has the advantage of being able to expand and contract with a structure as the seasons pass, or as a house settles, without ever cracking.
  2. Water-based paint is also very breathable, meaning that water vapor is able to pass through it freely. This prevents moisture from building up inside a house, which would eventually lead to mold.
  3. Water-based paint has no strong odor when it is wet.
  4. Water-based paint is not flammable.
  5. Water-based paint dries quickly.


  1. If the water-based paint is going to be applied to steel or wood, it will require extra primer, which means more time and money
  2. Once water-based paint is dry, it is more prone to chipping and peeling than oil-based paint.

Category #2: Oil-Based Paint


  1. Once it has dried, oil-based paint is extremely hard and durable, so it will last a long time.
  2. Oil-based paint requires fewer coatings of paint to complete the job.


  1. The smell is terrible; from the moment a can of paint is opened, to the time the paint finally dries, it will smell bad.
  2. Oil-based paint releases fumes that are bad for your health, and contribute to air pollution.
  3. Over time, the paint will “yellow,” which refers to the development of a yellow-ish tint.
  4. Oil-based paint is very hard, so it is susceptible to cracking.

Water-based paint is a much younger product, and as technology advances, more and more people are choosing it over oil-based paint. At this point, about 80% of the residential housing market relies on water-based paint.

How Long Does Exterior Paint Last?

Just like the lifespan of a human, this depends on a number of different factors.

  • How much sun does the house get?
  • What is the climate? Is it humid?
  • What is the material on the exterior of the house?

To give you an idea of how exterior house paint performs in different circumstances, the graph below provides approximate lifespans for a coat of paint in a few different types of environments, ranging from intensely sunny to heavy on precipitation and/or wind.

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Stratton Exteriors

If you are going to be painting your house soon, Stratton Exteriors can help. Get in touch today to schedule a inspection and consultation.


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Urban Properties