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What’s The Difference Between Interior and Exterior Paint?

Painting is a great way to make the environment of your home or office eye-catchy and beautiful. House painting has been practiced for thousands of years. The first cave painting was done 40000 years before now. If you are going to work on a project in the future it’s crucial for you to know which paint is better for which surface.

So it is vital for you to know the differences between the kinds of paints. Do you want to know the difference between interior and exterior paint? Then you have come to the right place. In this article, we are going to talk about the difference between interior and exterior paint.

What is Paint?

Before learning about the difference between interior and exterior paint you should know what paint actually is. Paint is basically a substance that has to be composed of three crucial ingredients. Those three crucial ingredients are solvents, resins, and pigment.


The liquid part of the paint is known as a solvent. The latex paint has waster as a solvent and oil paints have mineral spirits as solvents. Solvent helps to hold all the ingredients together while the paint is being applied to the surface. 

It evaporates so that it can leave the dried paint behind. Oil takes much more time than water to dry and also creates a pungent smell.


The pigment is the reason for the color of the paint. Only a few drops of dye are required to tint the paint to your favorite colors. The colors don’t have any effect on the paint’s behavior.


Epoxy or acrylic substances are known as resins that chip and peel off over time. Resins are the parts that are recognized as paints. Different kinds of paints produce paints that come with different hardness.

 This helps the paint to act differently. The percentage of resin can be the main difference between interior and exterior paint.

Characteristics of Exterior Paint

Exterior paint has several characteristics. They are: 

  • These types of paints are manifested in different weather conditions. So it’s crucial to protect them from moisture.
  • These paints are resistant to mildew and fading.
  • The resins of these types of paints are soft. Which are the reason behind their flexibility.
  • They release more volatile organic compounds

Characteristics of Interior Paint

Interior paint has several characteristics. They are:

  • These are used for aesthetics or decoration purposes.
  • These paints can withstand abrasion
  • This sort of paint is stain-resistant, scrubbable, and also easily washable.
  • They contain a lower amount of volatile organic compounds.

Difference Between Interior and Exterior Paint

Difference Between Interior and Exterior Paint

Now it’s the time to know what’s the difference between exterior and interior paint. 

Type of Binding Resins

The binding resin percentage is the parameter of how well the paint will bind to a surface. Exterior paint has acrylic that acts as binding resin. This has a strong bond and offers the most durability.

 Arcylic also can have harsh odors. Interior paint will easily stick to epoxy and silicone.


Interior paints have organic pigments so the mixing of extra chemicals can be avoided. These have comfortable odors and are completely safe for the environment. But exterior paints don’t have organic pigments.

As a result, they have intense odors and need more durability than they are needed to keep away from harsh chemicals. Also, they don’t fade quickly.

Different Additives

As interior paints don’t need to face many potentially harmful conditions, they don’t contain many additives. But on the other hand,  exterior paints need to meet all kinds of different weather, debris, temperatures, and many more. Additional additives help the paint avoid fading, handle the changes in temperatures and even protect from cracking.


Interior paints are not recognized for dealing with complex or bad weather conditions. So they have a lower temperature and water resistance. Also, they fade very fast when they come in contact with sunlight.

 But exterior paints are renowned for their withstanding characteristics against all of these. So they are superior in weather resistance to interior paints.


Exterior paints are made in that way so that they can withstand all the bad conditions for years. Also, it’s much tough enough so they can’t chip off from contacts such as wind or bugs flying into the wall and throwing twigs against your house.

So it’s more durable than interior paint. Although interior paint is less durable than exterior paint it also can withstand occasional scrubbing and cleaning.

Resistance to Physical Damage

Your interior paint will easily chip off if it is hit directly. Exterior paint will also get chipped off but it is much harder as the binding resins of exterior paint have a stronger bond. So the exterior paints are more resistant to physical damage than interior damage.

Levels of VOCs

VOC is the abbreviation for volatile organic compounds. They produce fumes that are harmful to the environment. Interior paints are lower in VOCs But exterior paints are not lower in VOCs. 

As they are not used inside exterior paints have a higher amount of VOCs. But it is very risky to use exterior paint inside of your house.

Temperature Resistance

Exterior paints are made so that they can withstand several temperatures. They can survive winter, summer, or any season in between. So they can withstand any temperature. 

But interior paint only can withstand a small scale temperature between 60℉ to 90℉. Most people like to live at this temperature.

Dry Time 

Oil-based paints casually dry slower than water-based paints. But paints outside the home will dry faster than the paints inside the home. So exterior paints will dry very quickly in comparison to interior paints. 

Heat also helps to dry the paint quickly. But if the exterior paints are water-based then they will dry more quickly.


The concept of interior vs exterior paint cost is one of the biggest differentiating factors between exterior and interior paints. The cost difference between these two paints isn’t that much.

Exterior paints are more expensive than interior paints as they have more additives and more chemicals. Interior paints are more cost-effective although they are not that durable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. When to Use Each Paint Type?

Answer: There’s no reason to use interior paint outside or exterior paint inside, given their various compositions for application on different surfaces and in different situations. Using outside paint products indoors can, at worst, be harmful to your health. Exterior paint’s resins, at the very least, make it unsuitable for interior surfaces.

When applied to outside surfaces, however, interior paint has a short lifespan. It is not resistant to temperature changes or UV light. Because it contains hard resins, it will crack and peel rather than expand and contract in extremely hot or cold weather.

2. How Long Does It Take to Dry Interior Paint?

Answer: In addition to the benefits of water-based paints over solvent-based paints, such as the lack of toxic ingredients, simplicity of application, and wide color spectrum, the drying time is also quite low. Depending on the temperature of the application setting, season, and weather conditions, water-based paints are ready for the second coat application within 2-3 hours.

It takes 5-7 days for the paint to dry completely and acquire its final qualities. Within one day, the interior wall paint will be dry and ready to use.

However, it should be remembered that it takes an average of 7 days for the paint to reach its final quality, and the paint should be covered within that time frame.

3. Is it possible to use exterior paint on an interior wall?

Answer: If desired, an outside paint can also be utilized on the interior. The inside paint, on the other hand, is not suited for outside usage. Interior paints perform better than exterior paints. These are paints that can withstand the elements better.

Rain does not touch them, and they do not fade. It contains higher performance binders and additives to match these characteristics.

As a result, they are more expensive than interior paints. As a result, using the same external paint on the internal walls will raise the cost.

Final Words

In this article, we have tried to give you a proper idea of the difference between interior and exterior paint. We hope that you will consider the facts mentioned above and buy the best kind of paint for your house or business projects in the future.

Brian Pierce

Brian Pierce is a professional gardener who has vast experience in gardening and home decorating. Being cultivating his skills, he has been to many home and garden related seminars of typical fashion. So, now he has decided to share his years of knowledge, experience, opinions, tips, and above all his hobby on the internet. Find him on Twitter here. Happy Reading!

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