What Is The Difference Between Interior And Exterior Paint?

Do you have something you wish to paint? Is it confusing to choose between interior and exterior paint? If so, then we have your back. We know how important it is for your furniture and walls to look good, which is why we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide that details what interior and exterior paints are, and when you should use them.


Before we go into interior and exterior paint, we’re just going to talk about paint. First, you need to decide which kind of paint you’re looking to buy because this will determine what your solvents, additives, pigments, and resins are. In latex paint, for example, you’ll find that the solvent is water; however, oil-based paint uses mineral spirits.

When your paint dries, these solvents will evaporate and you’ll be left with the other factors which stain the wall or piece of furniture with colors and pigments. The resin is what keeps the color stained into the wall.

Most often, oil-based paints are used to paint things like bedroom walls

Interior Paint


All right, now we can talk about interior paint. Interior paint is used with a different resin than exterior paint. Interior paint is made to be resistant to anything that could scuff or mark it. Not only this, but they are made with zero or fewer VOC’s.

For those of you who don’t know, VOC’s are volatile organic compounds. These are essentially toxins which can damage the overall health of people who are exposed to the paint for a long period of time, which is why interior paint is made without or with a little amount of them.

You should know, however, that paints which are considered to be zero VOC are actually more likely to be damaged. While they have a minimal impact on air quality, you also have to be more careful when you’re using these paints.

Exterior Paint


Exterior paints are created with the purpose of being resistant to natural elements like sun, wind, and water. Obviously, you don’t want to paint your patio and have it wear off within a few weeks because of a day that was particularly rainy or sunny.

This makes them especially strong; however, they do contain extra VOC’s. When you put your first layer of paint, it will take forty-eight hours for the VOC’s to exude completely from your paint and when you apply your second coat, it’ll be an additional forty-eight hours after that.


There are some paints which are both interior and exterior paints. Not only this, but these dual-purpose paints are able to be used for both indoors and outdoors. For this paint, however, we suggest that you contact a professional because the amount of VOC’s vary from brand to brand. Not only this, but there are some which are less reliable than others, as well as some which can be used inside or outside, but should only be used for one of those options.

When Should You Use Which?


Now that you know the difference between interior and exterior paints, it’s time for you to learn about when you should be using them.

  • Mainly, you should not use exterior paint indoors. This is because it can cause outgassing, which is an excessive amount of a certain gas or vapor in an environment. In general, more volatile organic compounds are found in exterior paint.
  • If you’re planning to paint a piece of furniture or something that will go in your backyard, then make sure you paint it outside. Make sure that the surfaces or materials can breathe, because this will allow the VOC’s to escape.
  • Like the name suggests, you should consider using interior paint if you’re working inside rather than outside. For interior paint, however, you should be aware that you’ll most likely need a glossy finish paint if you’re planning to paint a surface because they are more resistant to being scrubbed.
  • Hand Pointing Right
    If you’re planning to paint stucco or masonry, then you should paint with exterior paint. This is because a flat paint will cause any rain water to escape from these surfaces; thereby, allowing them to breathe.
  • Hand Pointing Right
    For anything that is metal or highly trafficked, then we suggest you use paint that is semi-glossy because this will make the surface both resistant to wear and abrasion, as well as preventing water from being absorbed by your home or surface.


If you have something that you’re looking to paint, or if you’re simply interested in interior and exterior paints, then you’ve come to the right place. Here, we have provided you with all of the information you could possibly need about interior and exterior paints, as well as when you should be using either of them.

That being said, what are you waiting for? Go out there and get to painting!

I am Vera Watson. Drawing The House is a dream that was conceived when I saw a niche in consumer guide on almost everything in our homes. My main aim is to help you save money by testing the products you need and recommending you the best of them all. I believe in the family as an institution and the first way to make a family happy is providing the best for them.

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