Pro Picks: 5 pros weigh in on their go-to exterior paints
Harsh, cold winters. Hot, humid summers. Torrential rains and blustery winds. Snow, sleet, hail.
Yes, exterior paint has to be able to hold up to a wide array of elements. No one wants to see their property peel, crack or blister. And that means hiring a qualified painter—and choosing the right paint for the job.
We asked five paint professionals about their go-to exterior paints. And, after reinforcing the importance of proper cleaning, scraping, priming, taping, caulking and other prep work, here’s what they had to say about their top coatings picks.
1. TERRY BEGUE
Begue Painting, Inc.
2. JEFF SOMMERS
3. KRISTOPHER TOTH
Toth Painting Solutions
4. KEN BYRD
America Paint Company
5. RON RAMSDEN
1 FROM OUR PRO: Terry Begue has honed a specialized niche over the course of nearly four decades in business. He started Begue Painting, Inc. out of high school, and eventually found that focusing on residential repaints—primarily aluminum siding and cedar, which are prevalent in his service area—made the most business sense for the Akron/Canton, OH company.
Once siding is properly prepped, Begue likes Sherwin-Williams’ Duration Exterior Acrylic Coating in satin, which he and his painters spray on.
“Before this product came out, we had to use two coats of our previous paint,” he notes. “But we’ve had great success with this product. Just one coat of Duration produces the best results. It costs a little more, but it goes much further.”
Begue, who’s been using Duration since it came on the market, says homeowners are happy, too.
“Sherwin-Williams offers a limited lifetime guarantee, so if it peels or blisters, they’ll replace it,” he says. “I’ve been using it for 12 to 15 years and I’ve never had a homeowner complain.”
For those cedar projects, Begue turns to Sherwin-Williams’ Woodscapes Exterior House Stain (semi-transparent or solid). Peel resistance and rich color make this product his go-to stain.
2 FROM OUR PRO: When Jeff Sommers was 14, his grandfather hired him to paint the exterior of his home. His summer jobs were painting—and in college, he wrote the business plan for ESP Painting. For 20 years now, Sommers has owned and operated his business in Portland, OR.
The vast majority of his company’s jobs are residential—mostly repaints. And he and his painters like Sherwin-Williams’ Super- Paint Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint.
“It’s the best bang for the buck,” Sommers says, adding that his painters like it because it’s easy to spray, brush and roll. Two coats provide great coverage and a beautiful look.
For higher-end projects, he gravitates toward Benjamin Moore’s Aura Exterior Paint. Its price point can be prohibitive to some homeowners, he says.
“But it’s a high-quality product. It covers well, and it looks really great,” he notes. He’s noticed in his market that for the majority of residential repainting jobs, homeowners are choosing mid-range-priced paints.
“The repaint cycle doesn’t change that much,” he says. “Even if you have a lifetime-warranty
paint, you’re probably still having to repaint after about 10 years.”
That’s because trends change, colors fade, and people move.
And that’s where the SuperPaint offers a great value and look for homeowners—as well as a great experience for painters.”
3 FROM OUR PRO: Serving the Cleveland, OH area, Kristopher Toth, owner of Toth Painting Solutions is loyal to Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams. In business since 2000, his company does both interior and exterior work, primarily in the residential sector.
For new-wood projects and fiber-cement siding, Toth says, Sherwin-Williams’ Emerald Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint is a new favorite.
“We’ve tried it with great success on some high-end woodwork and cement-sided projects,” he says.
But his most frequent choice is the brand’s SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint.
“When I first started in the business, it was their best paint,” he says. And today, he remains confident in SuperPaint for lots of different surfaces—aluminum, masonry and older wood.
“With so many heavy-build, one-coat-coverage type of paints out there now, Super- Paint still works the best on multiple-coat types of situations,” he says. “And it bonds directly to the siding.”
Homeowners can rest assured their aluminum-sided homes will look great and shouldn’t peel for years to come.
4 FROM OUR PRO: With an equal mix of commercial and residential work, Ken Byrd of America Paint Company in Redlands, CA takes on a good balance of new construction and repaint jobs—both interior and exterior. And he isn’t shy about his favorite paint: He’s a Behr fan. His exterior pick? BEHR PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA Exterior Satin Enamel Paint.
He’s been using it for years, he says. But as a Southern California-based painter, his options changed when the state’s tougher green building standards were enacted in 2013. As a result, only paints with low or no VOCs can be used.
And while Byrd says a lot of brands worsened as a result, Behr’s Ultra didn’t.
“Its durability and performance have actually gotten better,” he says. “I liked it before the changes. And after they made the changes, I thought it was as good or better.”
It boasts resistance to moisture, fading and stains.
The one downfall with low- or zero-VOC paint, Byrd says, lies with darker colors.
“The first coat might seem kind of clear, so everything needs two coats,” he notes. “But you should be doing that anyway—especially in California, where steady sun speeds up fading.”
5 FROM OUR PRO: After nearly 16 years of running his business, Ron Ramsden of Ramsden Painting focuses largely on residential repaints. The paint choice, he says, really depends on the job.
Serving the Greater Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts, Ramsden says historic homes comprise a large percentage of his business.
“A lot of the houses we work on are more than 75 years old,” he notes. For those historic homes, he prefers California Paints’ 2010 100% Acrylic Exterior Paint in eggshell (two coats following an oil primer)—a preference he came to through trial and error after painting many, many older homes in the New England area.
“The California 2010 has characteristics of all of the leading exterior paints with color retention and great adhesion, but we also have to account for the flexibility and elasticity of the paint,” he says. That’s because temperatures in the area can change by as much as 50º in one day.
“Secondly,” he says, “California Paints has partnered with Historic New England to preserve and recreate the historic colors of America. When someone purchases a historic home, they want the colors to be exact replications of years gone by in most cases. California Paints has made a science out of recreating those exact colors.”
For newer homes, Ramsden often opts for Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select Exterior Paint (MoorGlo Soft Gloss Finish). “We use that for probably about 60% of our jobs,” he says.
Another top pick for Ramsden is Sherwin-Williams’ Resilience Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint.
“I like that it dries quickly and it has some flexibility to it,” he says. “It’s a beautiful product.”