With several products available in the market, It is not so hard to get confused while picking the perfect paint. Exterior paint is formulated to endure inclement climate while resisting mildew, mold, fading, chipping, cracking, and more. On the other hand, the formulation of interior one is to avoid stains and be rubbed to clean with no damage. Companies made Interior paint with chemicals that are not harmful to breathing.

Understanding the difference will make for a more successful painting task. Though, if you’re hiring interior or exterior painters for the task, then they hopefully will have a better understanding of them. If it is not the case, then before purchasing paint, you need to know the main differences between them.

Here are the reasons that how exterior paints are different from interior paints:

Exterior Paints vs Interior Paints

1- Weather-Resistance:

You can not expect interior paints to endure harsh or varying weather conditions. Therefore, they possess low water resistance, low-temperature resistance. Also, they fade quickly in daylight. On the other hand, exterior paints can undergo all of these situations. Thus, they possess excellent weather resistance.

2- Levels of VOCs:

VOCs (volatile organic chemicals) release fumes that can be risky if you inhale them. Fortunately, interior paints have very low VOCs and are sometimes devoid of them completely. Therefore, external paints should not be applied inside. Often, exterior paints are full of VOCs that will outgas into the open air outside. 

3- Moisture Resistance:

Since rain is a relatively common event in most places. Exterior paint needs to withstand thunderstorms, rainstorms, basic showers, and more. But, in the case of interior paint, it only needs to deal with casual washing. Generally, it makes exterior paint to be way more water-resistant.

4- Cost:

The difference between the cost of these two kinds of paint isn’t huge, but it’s there. Exterior paint has more chemicals, more additives, and holds up better. Therefore, it’s normally the more costly option. Besides, interior paint is a bit more inexpensive. Though, it doesn’t give the same protection and durability.

5- Temperature Resistance:

Exterior paint is formulated to undergo a difference in temperatures. It needs to withstand winter’s cold and summer’s heat. Moreover, it must endure every temperature in between. However interior paint is just intended to be in a little window of varying temperatures. Therefore, exterior paint is more temperature resistant than interior ones.

6- Drying Time:

Several factors make a painting dry faster or slower. One of them is the location of the painted wall. External walls dry faster due to sunlight as compared to the walls that are inside. But, there are also chemical differences that make the drying faster. For exterior walls, water-based paint is usually used. But for inside oil-based paints are used, which makes it dry slower. 

Can I Use Interior Paint Outside?

As explained earlier, the components of every painting are not equal.  Particularly, when you throw some harsh weather into the mix, the differences get more prominent.

Most of the interior paints have a variety of organic pigments. But clearly, these are what provide the paint with its specific color and hue. Although these colors seem vibrant and new inside, the outside portrays a different statement.

If interior paints are applied to exteriors, the paint probably fades. The prime reason for this is the formulation of both of these types according to their purposes. The interior is for prioritizing richness of color, while the ultimate aim of the exterior is weatherproofing.

When to Use Each Type of Paint:

As per their particular formulations for application in different environments and on different surfaces.  Undoubtedly, you should not use exterior paint indoors or interior paint outdoors. Also, at the worst, applying exterior paint products inside can be dangerous to your health. At the least, the polishes in exterior paint make it badly suited for interior walls.

Besides, if you apply interior paint on exterior surfaces, it will have a short lifespan. Because it can not withstand UV rays and temperature changes. Moreover, because it has harsh resins, it will peel and crack in really cold or hot weather, rather than contract and expand.


No matter if you are employing a professional to paint walls or you are thinking of doing the job yourself. It is crucial to understand the difference between both kinds of paint and if you intend to hire somebody. One way to make sure that a professional knows their work is if they recognize the differences between the two kinds of paint. But, If they fail at it, they are not reliable and not a skilled painter.

Also, to make sure that your paint task is performed with the right equipment and performed professionally. The best would be to hire an exterior and residential interior painting services provider. No one can do your task better than reliable professional painters.