Painting the exterior walls of your home not only makes it look nicer, but it also protects it against the weather. Paint provides a strong waterproof barrier, so rainwater doesn’t leak through the walls. However, not all exterior paints are the same, and some are far more effective than others.
Don’t worry if you aren’t sure where to start when choosing waterproof paints for exterior walls, this guide will tell you everything you need to know.
What’s the Best Type of Paint for Exterior Walls?
Acrylic paint is almost always the best choice for exterior walls. It has excellent waterproof properties but, most importantly, it allows moisture that is already inside the wall to evaporate to the outside. This is very important because it helps to prevent damp inside the home. Other types of paint are not as breathable so, although they stop water from getting in, they also trap moisture inside and increase the chances of damp.
Acrylic paint is flexible too, so it can expand and contract as the temperature fluctuates. This flexibility means that it is less likely to crack. Lastly, it is also very durable and long-lasting. Provided you use a good-quality product and apply it correctly, it will last for years to come.
Latex offers the same flexibility as acrylic, and it’s very easy to apply. It isn’t as durable and breathable as acrylic, but it’s a popular budget option as it is quite a bit cheaper.
As a general rule, oil-based paint is better used on exterior windows and doors, but isn’t great for walls. Ideally, go for a high-quality acrylic exterior paint or, if you’re trying to save money, you could go for a latex option. Just bear in mind that you will probably have to reapply the latex paint more often, so the overall cost won’t be much cheaper.
What to Consider When Buying Waterproof Exterior Paint?
Not all paint is created equal and you need to compare different products before making your decision. These are some of the key things to look for.
Durability, or how long the paint will last, is one of the main things to consider. Some paints are incredibly durable and will easily last decades, while others peel and crack much sooner. Exterior paint gets a lot of punishment from the weather, so it needs to be able to stand up to heavy rain and direct sunlight without fading.
Acrylic paints are much more durable than other types, and won’t fade or crack for a long time, even in very hot climates. If you use latex, don’t expect the same longevity.
Ability to Adhere to Different Surfaces
Consider the material that you are painting too. Are you going straight onto concrete or do you have wooden or vinyl siding? In most cases, acrylic is the best choice, but you should check the guidelines on the tin to see what materials the paint is designed to be used on.
The ingredients vary and the type of resin used will impact how well the paint bonds to certain surfaces. Pick a paint type that is specifically formulated for use on your walls.
Is it Actually Waterproof and Water Repellent?
There is a difference between water-resistant and waterproof. Standard acrylic paints will withstand water very well, but they are not necessarily waterproof. There are, however, specific waterproof paints that have added ingredients to make them completely hydrophobic, so water beads right off them. Knowing the difference between the two, so you can buy fully water repellent paint, is key.
Hydrophobic paints create a waterproof layer on the surface, as well as coloring the wall. You can also get clear waterproof coatings that go directly onto brick or concrete, and soak in. It’s important to check whether paint is actually waterproof or not before you buy it. The best thing to do is look at the guarantee. If it is fully waterproof, it will have a 10 or 20 year guarantee on it.
Is Primer Required?
Finally, check if primer is required before painting. There are paints available with a built-in primer, but be careful with these when painting exterior walls. If you are just refreshing the color, you can get away with not using a primer.
However, if you are painting for the first time or the wall is in poor condition, a primer helps to create a good surface for the paint. The end result will be much better and the protection will last longer. If you are painting old wood you should use one of these 10 primer options here to make sure your paint holds on well.
Some all-in-one products do work well, but they’re more expensive. A lot of them won’t give you the same finish you get if you use a separate primer. So, if you are going to use one, make sure it’s a good quality one. Either way, always check whether you need a primer or not before you get started.
10 Best Waterproof Paints for Exterior Walls
These are my top picks for waterproof paints for exterior walls.
The INSL-X WaterBlock Acrylic Masonry Paint is designed for use on all masonry surfaces like brick, cinder blocks, and concrete. This is a fully waterproof formula and it does an amazing job of keeping the water out. It can be used indoors in basements, and it’s perfect for painting your home exterior.
The directions say that it can be applied directly to bare masonry, as long as it is clean. However, you may want to use a primer before you apply, and then give it 2 coats for maximum protection. You can also apply a top-coat over the paint for added durability, but this is not essential because the waterproofing effect is already excellent.
This paint is also highly alkali-resistant. This is important because the alkali content in masonry surfaces can break down the binding agents in paint, causing peeling and discoloration. This is known as alkali burn and is more prominent on new masonry surfaces. But an alkali-resistant paint like this one will help you avoid this issue.
The biggest downside to this paint is that it is currently only available in white, so if you want any other color, you’ll have to find something else. But if you are happy with white, it’s an excellent choice.
2. Sherwin Williams Resilience Exterior Acrylic Latex
Standard masonry paint won’t give you a nice finish on vinyl or wood siding, but Sherwin Williams Resilience Exterior Acrylic Latex will. This paint is designed for use on a range of surfaces including aluminum, wood, vinyl, singles, and plywood, as well as masonry. It also comes in a huge range of 100 colors, so it can be used for pretty much any exterior wall.
Their trademark MoistureGuard Technology is designed to give moisture protection after just an hour, so you don’t need to worry about painting in the rain and your home is protected immediately. This is ideal if you live in a wet climate and unexpected showers are common.
The finish on this paint is excellent and it will last for years to come, as long as you prep properly first, especially if you are using it on wooden siding. Make sure that you have properly sanded and primed the wood before applying your first coat or you may notice issues with bubbling.
It isn’t as durable as some heavy-duty exterior paints and you will probably need to recoat in 3-5 years, depending on weather conditions. However, it looks great, you get an excellent range of colors, and it goes on very easily and dries incredibly quickly.
This KILZ Siding, Fence, & Barn Paint has a unique oil and water-based formula, as opposed to the primarily water-based formula that most acrylic and latex paints have. The combination of the two creates an excellent quality exterior paint that works on most surfaces including masonry, stucco, and wood. It isn’t ideal for vinyl siding, though.
As long as the surface is stripped and cleaned properly, you get excellent coverage without priming first, so it’s a quick job. Most surfaces will be fine with 2 coats, and the paint is very thick, so you won’t get any drips and splashes.
It absorbs particularly well into wood, creating a really strong protective coat. So, although this is suitable for a range of surfaces, it is most effective on wooden siding.
If durability is your priority, look no further than Rust-Oleum Zinsser PermaWhite Exterior Satin paint. It has a 15 year guarantee on it, so you won’t be having issues with peeling or cracking anytime soon. It’s an excellent exterior paint that is also mold and mildew proof. A lot of products claim to be mildew-resistant but it still grows through, but that isn’t the case here, so it’s perfect for moisture-prone areas of the house.
This paint is best used for trim, but can be used for exterior walls too. The only negative is the price. It’s quite a bit more expensive than other options, but it does give great performance for the price. It’s up to you whether you are willing to invest more money in a high-quality paint that lasts 15 years or more, or if you want to go for something cheaper than lasts 5-10.
KILZ Basement and Masonry Waterproofing Paint is designed to seal basements against moisture, so it’s perfect for protecting your home against the elements. This tough masonry paint uses nano-technology to form a strong barrier over porous masonry materials, blocking out moisture.
It’s a nice thick paint, so you get good coverage, but be aware that if you’re using it on bricks or cinder blocks, it will soak up quite a lot and you’ll need more. You can tint this paint too to get the perfect color.
If you are looking for a hard-wearing masonry paint for your exterior walls, this is a good reliable choice.
6. Valspar Duramax Exterior Paint and Primer
When painting a new wall, you don’t need to worry about filling cracks and covering imperfections. But on an old property that is likely to have some damage, exterior painting can be more time-consuming because you need to repair these issues first. However, if you use Valspar Duramax Exterior Paint and Primer, you can save yourself a lot of time.
This paint is designed to be incredibly thick, so it fills hairline cracks as it goes on and fixes small gaps. It won’t fix major damage, but it can brush over a lot of imperfections. The coverage is brilliant and a single coat, with no primer, should be adequate.
This is another product that is higher on the price scale, but it’s definitely worth it, especially for walls that have seen better days.
Water-based paints tend to be more eco-friendly than oil-based paints anyway, but if you want to be sure that you’re using something without any VOCs, Montage Signature Eco-Friendly Paint is great.
This is an excellent, affordable paint that is very versatile, so it can be used on pretty much any exterior surface with good results. You will struggle to find another paint that performs this well for the same price, and the fact that it is eco-friendly is an added bonus.
On smooth masonry surfaces that are in good condition, you may only need a single coat for good coverage. The only thing to be aware of is that the color isn’t always exactly as it appears on the tin. The colors are all nice and you get a good choice, but it may be slightly different to what you’re expecting.
Prestige Exterior Paint and Primer in One is a high-quality exterior paint for use on wood, vinyl, and acrylic siding. It’s a one-coat coverage paint with primer included. If you want a quick and easy application that still gives good results, this is a great option. There is a good range of colors and finishes to choose from as well. You can pick from satin, flat, eggshell, semi-gloss, and gloss.
One coat coverage is a big claim, but it is true for Prestige. If you’re trying to cover a dark color like black or brown, you may need 2 coats. Otherwise, a single coat will do just fine. The coverage is excellent too, so it’s good value for money.
9. BEHR Ultra Exterior Paint
BEHR Ultra Exterior Paint is another brilliant one-coat product that really lives up to the promise. It goes on very nicely and gives added protection against stains and mildew. The finish is long-lasting and the paint is specifically formulated to withstand the weather, especially cold temperatures. If you live in a particularly cold climate, this is the best paint to use because you can also apply it in low temperatures.
The pigment content in this paint is very high, and it has a thick consistency, so it may feel slightly different from other paints you’ve used in the past. But it does cover a lot and you get a great depth of color after just one coat.
Stormdry Masonry Protection Cream is a clear coating that blocks moisture without coloring the exterior. If you want to retain the natural color of the brickwork, this is the ideal product. It works brilliantly on any masonry surface, soaking deep into the pores to protect against moisture, while still allowing the surface to breathe.
The manufacturer promises 25 years of protection after just a single coat. That’s a big promise and only time will tell whether it lasts that long. But what is sure is that it gives you an excellent hydrophobic coating that can withstand even the harshest rains.
Protecting your home exterior is so important because if water starts leaking in, you will have a whole host of other problems to deal with. When choosing an exterior paint, don’t go for the cheap option. Good quality paint often doesn’t need a primer and you get much better coverage.
The longevity will be much greater too, so you can protect your home exterior for longer. Buying the cheap option just means you will be reapplying every few years.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.