PRO PICKS: Five pros weigh in on their top exterior paints
Homeowners take pride in their homes, and when they hire you for an exterior painting job, they’re looking for a painter who understands that—and uses high-quality products.
Exterior paints need to stand up to the elements; resist mildew and dirt; retain color; and last for years without blistering, flaking and peeling.
We asked five pros about their favorite exteriors paints. Here’s what they had to say:
1 CHRISTIAN MILITELLO: Sherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior Acrylic Latex is the go-to paint for Christian Militello, owner of Militello Painting & Powerwashing, outside of Philadelphia.
With more than 15 years in business, Militello does mostly residential work with some small commercial projects in the mix.
“I like the Emerald,” he says, “because it’s self-priming.”
While painters might commonly use an oil-based primer before painting, that’s not necessary with this paint, Militello says. “The Emerald has extreme adhesive properties,” he says, noting that the paint’s cross-linking technology creates an extreme bond for exceptional durability and coverage.
It’s a higher-end product, he acknowledges, but it’s worth the spend. The Emerald resists blistering, peeling, fading and dirt, and contains antimicrobial agents to help prevent mold and mildew. Plus, because you typically won’t need a primer, you won’t spend time doing that extra coat, Militello notes. But, he advises, be sure to let the paint to dry for 24 hours between coats.
“Following the directions on the can and giving proper dry time,” he says, “is what’s going to give the product the best chance to do what it says it can do.”
2 KURT DWYER: When they lived in Massachusetts, Kurt Dwyer and Jenn McSharry, owners of Burnett 1-800 Painting, were introduced to Benjamin Moore.
“In the northeast, Benjamin Moore is really big in the residential market,” Dwyer says. When they moved their family and business to Venice, FL, the husband-and-wife team remained loyal to their exterior paint of choice, the Benjamin Moore Regal Select line.
“It’s easy to work with,” he says. “And as far as performance, you always know what you’re going to get. We’ve never had any issues.”
The colors are great, he adds, and it spreads nicely.
“Our painters like to use it because of its quality,” he says. “It’s a good, good product.”
The paint boasts a durable finish resistant to fading, cracking and peeling. Its mildew-resistant properties are appealing in humid Florida, and while the low temperature application no longer matters as much to Dwyer’s team, it gives painters in cooler climates an extended painting season.
Dwyer, whose company focuses on providing outstanding customer service, believes that an exterior paint job should last upward of eight to 10 years.
3 RYAN MUNN: With about 90% of their work in residential, Greenleaf Painters uses both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams exterior paints, says Ryan Munn, operations manager for the Lawrenceville, NJ-based company.
“There’s no single solution for everyone’s needs,” he says. “It depends on the application.” The project parameters and the client’s preference and budget will ultimately help determine Greenleaf’s exterior paint selection.
The Greenleaf team frequently does work on older, historical homes.
Munn says, “We need something that’s going to be durable and stand up to the elements here in the Northeast.”
Benjamin Moore MoorGard Low Lustre Finish is a definite go-to, Munn says. “We use that for siding and even trim work,” he says. And their MoorGlo Soft Gloss Finish, he adds, is great for trim and accents. “These products have some sheen, they’re durable, and mildew resistant,” he says. “The higher sheen will help repel water and prevent staining, versus a flat paint.”
Going with Benjamin Moore, he notes, means spending a little extra money, but the quality of the paint is well worth it.
A third option for Greenleaf, Munn says, is Sherwin- Williams SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex.
“It’s a pretty versatile paint,” he says. “And the quality is up there—we’ve gotten great results. It’s resistant to cracking, fading and peeling.”
4 JOHN PEEK: Since 1981, Peek Brothers Painting has been painting Southern California residences (and a few churches and schools along the way too). In the process, owner John Peek has zeroed in on two favorite exterior paints: Sherwin-Williams Duration Exterior Acrylic Latex (satin sheen) and Dunn-Edwards EVERSHIELD Exterior Paint (eggshell or velvet sheen).
“Both are very, very high-quality paints,” he says. “I go back to homes 10 to 15 years later, and they look like we just did them. There’s definitely a difference.”
Peek notes that even with SoCal’s heavy sun exposure, the paints keep their sheen; and with their good adhesion, aren’t going to peel and crack like lower-quality paints.
Even when most painters might opt for a flat, Peek prefers more sheen. The smoother surface, he notes, is less likely to attract any organics that might cling to the surface and is more likely to resist mildew, as well.
The Duration and EVERSHIELD are higher-end paints, he says, that are worth the money, regardless of the surface.
“No matter what the substrate is,” he says, “a better-quality paint just lasts longer.”
5 NICK SLAVIK: With 24 years as a painter and 10 years in business, Nick Slavik of Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co., spends six months of the year inside and six months outside, due to the weather in New Prague, MN.
A lot of his exterior work is residential repaint. And for those jobs, he opts for Benjamin Moore Aura Exterior Paint about 90% of the time, he says.
“I finish all of my exteriors by hand with a brush, and Aura’s consistency is better,” Slavik notes. “Plus, it has a little better open time.”
He prefers the low lustre finish. “I found it holds color better,” he says. The product also boasts fade resistance, low temperature application, durability, mildew resistance, as well resistance to cracking, peeling, blistering and dirt.
“I’ve used every single paint I can get my hands on,” Slavik says. “And this is a very good general, all-purpose paint.”