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You may have leftover exterior paint from a past or current painting project, and you have an interior painting job to do. As a result, you may wonder "Can I use exterior paint inside my house?" The fact is that the chemical nature and inherent risks of interior and exterior paint are pretty different.

This post considers the difference between interior and exterior paints and discusses whether you can use exterior paints inside and vice versa. You can also learn what to do after wrongly using interior and exterior paints and how painting contractors can help. Read on!

The Difference Between Interior and Exterior Paints

You can already understand the difference between interior and exterior paints from their names. Interior paints are designed for use inside homes and living spaces. In contrast, exterior paints are designed to cope with outdoor environmental changes. Overall, it would be best if you didn't use exterior paint indoors or interior paint outdoors.

Can You Use Exterior Paint Inside Your House?

It is essentially a bad idea to use exterior paint indoors. First, you must consider that you can only use paint designed for a specific purpose for precisely that purpose. This can help you avoid errors that may be costly to correct.

In addition, exterior paints contain a blend of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), additives, and binders that is quite potent. Also, the finishes of exterior paints tend to produce toxic fumes even with longer dry times. These toxic fumes are released during the curing and drying process, and indoor use would not allow for easy dissipation.

Can You Use Interior Paints Outdoors?

You may think that since there are benefits to using interior paints inside your home, you should also use them outside. However, it would be best if you thought again. Here are some reasons to use exterior paints outdoors instead of interior paints.

  • Exterior paints contain chemicals more resistant to moisture, rain, high temperatures, and insect infestation.
  • Exterior paints can expand and contract with the changing temperature of seasons. This is unlike interior paints that do not have this elasticity.
  • Interior paints on exterior walls react poorly to UV rays/direct sunlight.
  • Interior paints will eventually crack, peel, and ruin the finish of exterior walls. As a result, this can lead to structural damage.

Why Only Use Interior Paints Indoors?

You should not use exterior paints indoors but stick with interior paints for the following reasons:

  • The manufacture of interior paints is such that they do not have enough durability for outdoor use. Instead, they are manufactured for indoor use.
  • Interior paints are washable, splatter resistant, and have low odor.
  • The organic pigment in interior paints tends to fade and flake off upon exposure to sunlight. This is because they give off a minimal amount of VOCs.
  • The release of other harmful chemicals is also minimal.
  • Interior paints cannot withstand outdoor weather conditions like rain and snow. This is due to a lack of mildewcide and other chemicals.

Implications of using interior paint outdoors

On the plus side, painting the outside of your home with interior paint poses no health risks. However, the paint is not likely to last. Interior paint has less durability compared to exterior paint.

Similarly, when used outdoors, interior paints can deteriorate quickly due to high temperatures, rain, and snow exposure. The paint color will appear faded and cracked with time. As such, it is better to use exterior paint outside your home.

Why Use Exterior Paints Outdoors?

Here are some reasons why you should restrict exterior paints to outdoor use.

  • Manufacturers design exterior paints to be more durable.
  • Acrylic latex paints are a common type of exterior paint. These paints are water-soluble and, therefore, weather resistant.
  • Acrylic latex paints and exterior paints tend to adhere quite well to different surfaces, such as cement, brick, and stucco.
  • Exterior paints contain additives that prevent the color from quickly fading.
  • Nonetheless, it would be best if you took note that exterior paints contain toxic chemicals. Exterior paints may release chemical fumes which are dangerous when used indoors.

Can you use exterior paint inside your garage?

You may think using exterior paint inside your garage is alright. After all, you open it frequently, and it has proper ventilation. However, it is better to use interior paint. This is even more so if you regularly work in the garage.

What to Do After Using Exterior Paints Inside

You would not want to use exterior paint inside your home since it can release toxic fumes. However, people do accidentally use exterior paint indoors. You don't have to worry too much about it. You can make use of exterior paint primers.

Simply prime the interior walls and paint them over with interior paint. As a result, you wouldn't have to face any risk from the harmful chemicals of the exterior paints.

Alternatively, you may want to remove the paint. In that case, first know that there are different types of paints.

You need to confirm the type of paint – if it is oil-based or water-based. Depending on the result, you can use mineral spirits or thinner to weaken oil-based paints. On the other hand, you can remove water-based paints using rubbing alcohol and elbow grease.

Should You Mix Interior and Exterior Paint?

You may wonder if mixing exterior paints with interior paints is okay. There are situations when you can. For example, you may have interior and exterior paint but not enough of each. One way out is to mix them and get a usable blend. However, you have to keep the following in mind.

Paints of the same base

Confirm that the interior and exterior paints have the same base. For instance, you can mix oil-based exterior paint with oil-based interior paint.

Paints of the same color

Confirm that both paints have the same color or are of similar color.

Well-ventilated area

Interior and exterior paints contain VOCs. That is why you should mix them in a well-ventilated area. Otherwise, the chemical fumes can be overwhelming.

Account for density

You may use a drill or paint mixer to mix the paints. This is because you double the paint formula when mixing both paints. The resulting density can make the mixing process tasking. You wouldn't want to pull a muscle after all.

Remove lumps

If you're mixing interior and exterior paint together, you must remove any lumps. You can make use of a sifter.

Interior Paint Options for Home Projects

You may think using exterior paint inside your home makes sense since it is more durable and fade-resistant. Again, it would be best to recall that exterior paint contains acrylic latex as an additive.

Even though this additive increases the paint's weather resistance, it is potentially harmful when released indoors. In other words, even though interior and exterior paints may have the same color, it is still a bad idea to paint the interior of your home with exterior paint. Instead, you can make use of high gloss.

It is an excellent option for interior paint with a finish that is straightforward to clean and highly durable. Besides, interior paints are designed to have a pleasant odor and to stick correctly to interior walls. Furthermore, they have different paint color options for a great look and feel.

Health Risks of Volatile Organic Compounds

The significant levels of VOCs in exterior paint products have associated health risks to humans. These health risks that occur when you are consistently exposed to them include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Damage to the Central Nervous System
  • Liver and kidney problems
  • Eye, nose, and throat irritations
  • Nausea

Using exterior paints outdoors helps to reduce the adverse health risks of high levels of VOCs. However, you still have to maintain caution when using exterior paint. Staying away from the area is good until the paint dries and settles. At this point, the fumes are virtually gone. Likewise, you should keep others away from that space and provide proper ventilation during drying.

Experts Can Help Sort Painting Problems

Professional painting contractors know precisely what areas of your home can take the interior painting. For example, they can use exterior paints on sites you do not use for long periods or that share indoor and outdoor properties.

Such areas include detached garages and sheds. Thus, they can take advantage of the increased durability of outdoor paints in these interior spaces. In all cases, painting contractors know to choose paint products wisely. They know better than to use poor-quality paints or paints with polyester resins.

They understand the nuances of painting building interiors and exteriors and what painting means for sites. You can be sure they'll always use the right painting tools, such as paint sprayers, rollers, and brushes.

Hire Professional Painting Contractors

Now you know the differences between paints meant for outdoor surfaces and interior spaces. However, you may not be entirely confident choosing the correct paint for indoor and outdoor spaces. As such, you can hire a professional painter to avoid the extra stress and cost you may incur if you use the wrong paint. This way, you can be sure of a professionally done painting project.

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