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Can You Use Exterior Paint Inside?

Have you ever wondered, “Can I use exterior paint inside?” It’s a question that has been on the minds of many homeowners. After all, paint products are engineered for specific uses, but some can serve multiple purposes. Let’s explore whether or not it’s safe to use exterior paint indoors and find out if it’s worth the risk.

A deeper understanding of interior and exterior paint is essential to answer this question. So, in this blog post, we’ll talk about interior and exterior paint in deeper detail so you know how to use them correctly.

Can You Use Exterior Paint Indoors? Is It Recommended?

It can be tempting to use exterior paint indoors because it’s durable, fade-resistant & shiny. And yes, you can paint your house interior with exterior paint. 

But wait, don’t rush it; now you may think that the answer to the question “Can I use exterior paint inside?” is Yes, but it is not that simple. Remember that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

While it is possible to utilize exterior paint for interior applications, the question remains: is it safe to use exterior paint indoors? In light of recent studies, it has been revealed that the use of exterior paint indoors may pose more disadvantages than advantages.

But why?

We could say that the reason is because of the health risks of exterior paint indoors. Yes, there are many reasons, and one of them is that exterior paints release harmful chemicals into the air, leading to health issues. 

Additives are often used in the production of materials to enhance their resistance to mildew, mold, and fading. However, it is important to note that these chemicals can pose potential risks when used in indoor settings, particularly in residential homes. The toxicity of these additives may lead to various health issues for individuals living in the house.

Money is another reason. Yep, it is more expensive than interior ones because of the protective ingredients. So, spending more money on a product not intended for painting indoors will be worthless.

Interior vs. Exterior Paint Differences

Characteristics of Interior Paint

The main difference is that interior paints were created to suit the aesthetical needs of your house indoors, especially in areas like bathrooms, offices, and rooms. 

Interior paint was designed for decoration and aesthetic purposes. Unlike exterior paints, interior paints do not contain harmful substances to human health.

Interior paint is specifically designed to resist moisture and can be easily cleaned in instances where children or pets leave marks or other blemishes on the walls. This feature enables the removal of pencil marks or any other unsightly markings with ease.

By utilizing interior paint, you can maintain the appearance of your walls while ensuring that they remain free of unwanted markings or stains. Since interior paint was designed to be used indoors and will not be exposed to the sun, it doesn’t have fade-resisting properties.

Characteristics of Exterior Paint

Exterior House Painter in San Diego, CA

Exterior paint was designed to withstand harsh & varying weather conditions and UV radiation. Exterior coats will protect your house from the sun, rain, wind, dust, and more. So, in other words, a fresh coat of exterior paint on a house is like healthy skin for us humans.

UV radiation from the sun is the most damaging factor for paint. So, the first and most notable difference between exterior and interior paint is its fade-resisting properties.

According to our article, satin vs. semi-gloss paint, satin is the ideal paint sheen for outdoors. You can hire a licensed painter like AMK Painting to add subtle elegance to your house exterior.

Exterior paint also prevents mildew, mold, and general fungal growth. To achieve that, paint manufacturers include additives like pesticides and fungicides. These toxic additives and the release of more volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as paint cures make exterior paint unsafe for indoor use.

As we said, products are designed and manufactured for a specific use. And guess what? The differences that we addressed above make it difficult to use interior paint outdoors and vice versa.

What Happens If You Accidentally Used Exterior Paint Indoors?

Well, as we said, exterior paint was formulated with chemicals that are harmful to humans. However, if you accidentally used exterior paint indoors, the best you can do is let it air out for at least 2 days, being 3 days a better decision. 

Exterior paint is smelly at best and potentially hazardous at worst. Even after it cures, exterior paint continues to emit VOCs. 

Studies have shown that they can continue emitting them for several months, but the higher level of VOCs is generally released within the first 48 hours. 

So, if someone in your family suffers from allergies or breathing problems, the pungent smell of exterior paint inside can trigger allergic reactions. So, you better fix the issue as soon as possible.

So, if you accidentally used exterior paint indoors, then you can prime your walls and add a new coat of interior paint, and then you’ll be at no risk since the harmful chemicals will be covered up by interior paint. And it will last long without any issues.

Best Practices for Indoor Painting: Use the Right Paint!

house interior painting
Previously, we created an article about the paint sheen chart, explaining the different types of paint sheen and their intended use.
According to our meticulously written article, eggshells and satin are the best indoor paints.
Eggshell has little sheen, so it works fine, hiding blemishes, and flaws on walls, and even woodwork. It’s recommended for moderate-traffic areas like living rooms, dining rooms, home offices, and interior woodwork.
Satin paint has a soft sheen finish and high durability. In our experience, satin paint is one of the most versatile and best paints for indoor walls. Also, it is easier to clean than an eggshell finish.
The recommended use of satin paint is in high-traffic areas like kid’s bedrooms, hallways, entryways, family rooms, interior doors, interior trim/baseboards, living rooms, playrooms, and woodwork.

So, Can You Use Exterior Paint Inside?

You shouldn’t use exterior paint indoors because it’s harmful to humans.

While curing, exterior paint’s liquid ingredients start to evaporate. Here is where you can notice the smelly characteristic of it, and also, this is when it releases fumes containing harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air.

Thus, it’s a bad idea, especially if some of your loved ones suffer from allergic reactions.

Instead, you should stick to the intended use of each paint type. Using interior paint for indoors and exterior paint for outdoors.
If you are about to tackle a painting project, you can count on AMK Painting; with 22+ years of experience as a professional painting company, you can rest assured that we’ll use the right and best type of paint as well as the best techniques.
We offer painting services in San DiegoLa JollaCarmel ValleyCoronado, Del Mar, Encinitas, Miramar, Pacific Beach, and North Park. Don’t hesitate to call us; it will be a pleasure to help you!

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