Avoid mistakes and achieve the perfect finish with the best exterior paint
Maybe you have bought a brand new home and are trying to settle on the exact look to make it your dream home, or you have bought a home that someone else mistakenly thought should be painted marigold. Or maybe you just want to spruce up your house and bring it back to its glory days. If done right, a lick of exterior paint can take your house from drab to fab, update it to the modern era, and really bring it to life. If done wrong, a lick of paint can be a costly and unappealing mistake.
And it isn’t just the colour scheme – do not choose outdoor paint, especially exterior wall paint, without considering the ravages of the Australian climate and sunshine or it will fade, flake, and peel.
Choosing the right outdoor paint means knowing what the paint needs to withstand (rain, sun, mould, maybe even fruitbats!), which paint is right for your building material (wood, masonry, brick), and finally which colour scheme will truly make it pop. Here we provide you with the Buyer’s Guide to All Things Outdoor Paint, from the top brands and products for different applications to the tried and true colour combinations that work. So before you head down to Bunnings or get too attached to Dulux’s WeatherShield in Bold Yellow, read our tips to make sure you choose the best exterior paint.
First things first: Choosing the best outdoor paint for the substrate
Whether you have a house with timber weatherboard, brick, masonry block, fibro cement, concrete, or a rendered exterior, you need to make sure that the paint you choose will work for the substrate. Though you may think that any paint that works for brick would work for wood, the formulations of these paints may be different. You don’t want to paint a wooden surface with a high build render and masonry repair paint and end up with a scaly house.
Helpfully, most outdoor paint is clearly described by its purpose on the tin. What you do need to keep in mind is:
- Surface preparation is key – It may be tempting to skip the cleaning and just plow through but you are just going to pay for it later. Underprepared surfaces are one of the biggest reasons for a coating failure – follow the paint manufacturer instructions you get the best results. A clean, dry, sanded, and sound substrate is the foundation you need for the results you want – do not cheat yourself.
- Does it need a primer? – After all that work is done, it is still important to make sure whether your exterior wall paint needs a primer. Some exterior paints are self-priming, you can apply them as soon as the preparation is done. Others require a primer to perform their best. For example, Dulux Weathershield products with ChromaMax pigments need a primer.
- Doors and windows are not walls – This may seem obvious, but trim, doors, and windows require different paint to the one on your walls. Windows, doors, trim, and skirting boards are more prone to knocks, scrapes, and damage than walls because we use them every day. Paints formulated for these surfaces are hard wearing, and tend to come in semi-gloss or gloss.
“Marge, the rains’re ‘ere”: Outdoor paint prepares for the elements
As anyone who has stood outside for ten minutes in the height of summer can attest – Australia’s climate is not a gentle one. The purpose of coating with outdoor paint is not just to give your property colour – it protects the substrate from the harsh elements and strengthens it, increasing the lifespan of the building. Throughout its life your coating will face sun, extreme heat, torrential rain, ice (as hail or snow), and winds, not to mention whatever our wildlife will throw at it. Interior paint is not exterior paint, and doing something on the cheap now will only cost you more later. Much like roofs are coated with heavy-duty architectural coatings, so must walls be protected with the best exterior paint for the situation.
For homes in coastal areas it is particularly important to protect your substrate from the extra damage of salt and sand. Woodwork and metalwork in coastal regions need high performance exterior paints to deal with the environment. For metalwork, a rustproofing primer will be needed, while for woodwork like decking and railings a polyurethane lacquer or varnish has the high weathering properties and UV resistance that you need.
The most popular paint colours for house exterior
So you understand the demands of your substrate and your environment. Now, to colour. Before you dive on in and get lost in swatches, there are some things you need to remember:
- Do not look at your paint swatches in artificial light – This one is a simple one. Sunlight and artificial light are different colours, and the way a colour looks will change when you take it outdoors. Ditto for computer screens – take yourself to your local hardware store and get some colour samples and then take them outside. You may be surprised by the results.
- Paint colours do not look the same on the wall as they do in the tin – Do not just go for it. You may love the colour in the tin but on the wall, where things like drying and the tone of the substrate will alter the colour, you may have a very different response. Always do a test patch.
- Look beyond your front yard – Your house is not alone on an island (unless you are very lucky). It is part of your neighbourhood. Painting it a clashing colour will jar once you see the house from other side of the street.
- Think about the future – That Millennial Pink may be your favourite colour now but tastes change – as do life choices. You may not always be in your house, and making the expensive decision to paint it is not something you want to regret when trends change and no one wants to buy it.
Timeless colour schemes for any Australian situation
Once all the above has been taken into account, it is time to choose a colour scheme – after all, they aren’t called decorative coatings for nothing. With dozens of shades available just within the grey range, it can be hard to choose the right one. So let’s look at some of the timeless colour combinations that can elevate any home:
- Monochrome – There is a reason that black and white is a classic look. From Tudor-style housing to highly modern styles, monochrome is used to highlight the architecture of a house. Using black to accentuate the attractive features of your home such as the trims and windows, or using white trims with a deep deep grey will make your house pop, both classic and modern at the same time. And of course it doesn’t have to be flat white and black – grades of both those colours will work, and always check against differing light conditions and substrate colours.
- Pastels – Though you may associate pastels with a fibro beach house look, a pastel wall with a white trim can really bring the country or the coast home with you. Weatherboard houses in particular look great in pastel. They are unique and fresh looking, and a muted pastel is soothing to the eye. There is a reason these colours are used for holiday homes. Colours like celery greens, sky blues, even happy yellows work for a pastel home.
- Earth tones – If you want to bring out the countryside with your home, earth tones are for you. These are also good for homes where council rules dictate a less striking contrast with the environment in which your house is set. Earthy tones are warm, comfortable, and appealing, really connecting your house back to the nature around it. Aubergines, burgundies, taupes, ochres, rusts, and khaki greens fall into this category.
Do not forget to use sample pots, and do not make rash decisions! Take a few days to really see how a colour develops before you go the whole hog. Once you have the main colour, you can let the rest fall into place. If too much colour seems a big commitment, pick a focal point and go wild – colourful doors make a real statement on the personalities inside.
The best exterior paint for all building materials
Below is a table outlining some of the best exterior paint brands and products available in Australia. Whether you need an exterior wall paint or an exterior window and door paint, there are both local and international companies with paints for your needs. Companies like Haymes, Solver, Dulux, Wattyl, and British Paints all have excellent exterior paint ranges.
Do you have special requirements for your exterior paint, or a larger project that your need to source coating for? Get in touch! Our experts are here to help. Simply use the “Request a Quote” button beneath this article and tell us about your project so we can connect you with the coating partner to match your needs.
|Outdoor Paint Product||Description||Price/Coverage|
|British Paints 4 Seasons Low Sheen||A water-based acrylic paint for exterior use that is self priming on most surfaces.||$63 / 4L at 16m2 per litre|
|British Paints PREP 4in1||A water based, multi-purpose preparation coat which works as sealer, primer, undercoat and stain blocker all in one.||$60 / 4L at 12m2 per litre|
|Dulux Aquanamel Gloss||A durable, non yellowing, water based exterior gloss enamel that is low odour and is easily washed up with water. For timber, steel, weatherboard, MDF, concrete, masonry, plasterboard and more.||$50 / L at 16m2 per litre|
|Dulux Weathershield Low Sheen||A water-based acrylic paint for exterior use which is self priming on most surfaces. For masonry, brick, concrete, metal, timber, weatherboard, fibro, and more.||$80 / 4L at 10m2 per litre|
|Dulux Weathershield Render Refresh||A high build exterior render and masonry crack bridging paint that helps to bridge fine cracks.||$85 / 4L at 6m2 per litre|
|Taubmans Endure Exterior Paint||An exterior paint with Nanoguard – it is formulated using a mix of large and small particles which bond together to form a tougher shield. For weatherboard, masonry, concrete, cement render, and more.||$70 / 4L at 16m2 per litre|
|Taubmans Sunproof Exterior Paint||A water based, 100% acrylic exterior paint formulated with UV barrier – specially designed for protecting from the sun. For weatherboard, cement render, fibro, brick, timber.||$55 / 4L at 16m2 per litre|