Pro picks: go-to exterior coatings for a wide range of surfaces

by inPAINT

Most painting professionals have a go-to exterior paint brand or specific coating preference for most jobs. These preferences are likely driven by some combination of pricing, quality, customer preferences, as well as other regional factors such as weather. We spoke with five painting professionals around the country to learn which exterior coatings serve their needs the best and why. Here’s what they had to say:

1. PETER BERKE, North Atlantic Painting Company:

The owner of North Atlantic Painting Company in Maine does primarily residential work, and finds himself usually painting wood, composites and Boral, the latter of which has grown increasingly popular through the years for its ability to resist moisture and last for decades.

For wood and Boral applications, he prefers Sherwin-Williams Duration Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint, which he says offers “excellent coverage and longevity,” but will turn to the company’s SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint if the customer is on a tighter budget but still wants a good quality and value offering.

He also uses Sherwin-Williams Resilience Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint for the Northeast’s punishing high humidity and lower late-season temperatures. “The set-up time on it is really fast. I’ve used it for 15 years and haven’t gotten a single callback,” he said.

For composite surfaces, he prefers Benjamin Moore Regal Select Exterior REVIVE for Vinyl Siding. “It has a lot of elasticity and bonds to the PVC very well. Plus, I don’t have to prime; just scuff up the surface and put it straight on.”

For exterior colored stains on handrails or wood doors, he turns to Sherwin-Williams WoodScapes Exterior House Stains.

2. CHARLIE SILVERIA, Silveria Painting:

This Florida-based contractor does a lot of work on high-and mid-rise condo buildings, most of which have stucco exteriors. For this type of work and customer, Silveria Painting’s choice is Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec EXT. The 100% acrylic, water-based coating is a mid-grade offering that goes on nicely whether by brush, roller or sprayer. It also offers good hide for the price, Silveria said.

If a customer requests a more premium product, his next step up is Benjamin Moore Regal Select Exterior Paint. “This is our go-to paint. It goes on beautifully. It dries really fast and you can get going on the second coat pretty quickly,” he added.

Benjamin Moore Aura Exterior Paint is an even higher-grade product that he uses from time to time. It comes with a 10-year warranty, offers mold and mildew resistance, and there’s no need for priming in most situations, Silveria said.

For a durable finish on metal and wood doors and railings, he turns to Coronado Rust Scat Waterborne Acrylic Enamel. “I use a semigloss or high-gloss, and it’s just a really good all-purpose enamel,” he said

3. SHANE WOODS, Custom Paint Works:

The owner of Custom Paint Works, in St. Louis, MO, does primarily residential work. Wood, HardiePlank lap siding and Masonite or similar hardboard siding surfaces are common substrates for the painting-industry veteran. For all three of these surfaces, his first choice is Sherwin-Williams Duration Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint with a satin sheen.

“It goes on about seven mils thick and dries three or four mils thick,” he said. “It covers well and self-primes, which I really like. It also blocks out tannins.”

For exterior wood doors and railings, he turns to Fine Paints of Europe Marine Yacht Varnish, a classic alkyd varnish formulated to Dutch standards, which offers an extremely glossy finish that can withstand harsh weather while providing a long-lasting shine.

“It handles UV rays really well and there’s nothing like a European coating for its durability and ease of use,” Woods added. “It flows out of the brush like glass and all the brush marks disappear, and then it stays clear and glossy.”

4. RAUL LIZARRAGA, Lancaster Painting:

Lizarraga is the trainer for Lancaster Painting, in Turlock, CA. The bulk of the company’s work involves residential repaints. In this area of California, the weather tends to be hot and dry and most of the exteriors are made of concrete stucco. There’s some wood fascia and siding his teams handle as well.

The go-to paint for stucco and wood trim for Lancaster Painting is Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint. It provides good value for the money, he says, and it sprays on easily while offering great hide.

“In this market, people want something that’s better than just average. SuperPaint does the job and it’s still affordable, too,” he said.

For some stucco, his teams also use Seal-Krete Original Waterproofing Primer/Sealer prior to applying SuperPaint for “a better shine and sheen,” he added. For raw wood, before SuperPaint is applied, his painters use Kelly-Moore Kel-Bond Interior/Exterior Universal Primer.

For jobs where the stucco has more hairline cracks, his painters will sometimes turn to the thicker Sherwin-Williams Duration Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint. His teams also work with a lot of fiberglass, metal and wood doors on homes. For those applications, Sherwin-Williams Solo Interior/Exterior 100% Acrylic Paint, a low-VOC semigloss coating, performs well. “It dries with a hard shell and it’s really durable,” he added.


The co-owner of Columbus-based FORJAK Industrial works predominantly with concrete tilt-up exteriors and structures built with CMU block. The company’s work portfolio covers a wide range of climate types in virtually all regions east of the Mississippi River.

Typically, his team uses Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint, which sprays on easily and offers great hide and good mid-grade quality and value for customers, he says. Some jobs also spec for the company’s

ConFlex XL Smooth High Build Coating. “Those are environments where customers might see wind-driven rain and harsh, wet weather,” he added.

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