Is Flat Paint Good for Exterior Walls?

When painting your exterior walls, you want a finish that will stand the test of time. You want your paint to be weather-resistant and durable for years to come. So, with all the options on the market, is flat paint your best choice?

Flat paint has quickly become the go-to option for anyone applying a stylish and practical finish outdoors. The smoothness of the paint creates an even surface that perfectly hides minor nicks and flaws. At the same time, its non-reflective nature creates an eye-catching, deep finish. 

This article will teach you:

  • The pros of flat paint
  • The cons of flat paint
  • How to ensure a lasting paint job

4 benefits of using flat paint on exterior walls

Flat paint has been used on exterior walls for years, and several benefits make it an ideal choice. Let’s explore why flat paint is a great option for painting the outside of your home. 

Easy to apply

Flat paint is easy to apply, making it an ideal choice for DIYers who want to give their home’s exterior a fresh look without breaking the bank. This type of paint spreads easily, meaning less time and effort are needed when painting large areas like exterior walls.

Plus, because flat paint dries quickly, you can start with another coat immediately if needed.


Flat paint offers aesthetic benefits as well. It gives walls a smooth finish that will not reflect light like other paints, creating an even look across the entire wall surface without any glare or shine.

In addition, this type of paint is available in a wide range of colors that can be used together or with other types of paints for more creative designs. 

Affordable price point  

Flat paints are usually much more affordable than other types, like semi-gloss or high-gloss paints. Not only does this make them more accessible, but it also means you can purchase enough paint to cover your exterior without breaking the bank.

Hides imperfections better 

Flat paints have a lower level of sheen and can help to hide minor imperfections on your exterior walls. The low-sheen finish helps to disguise any cracks, bumps, or other blemishes that may be present on the surface.

This makes it an ideal option for those who are looking to freshen up the look of their home without spending a fortune on repairs.

4 cons of using flat paint on exterior walls

There are several cons to using flat paint that you should consider before making your decision. Let’s take a look at why you should be wary of using flat paint on the exterior walls of your home. 

Durability issues 

One of the most obvious drawbacks to using flat paint on the outside of your home is its lack of durability. Flat paints don’t contain any added resins or binders that help protect against the elements like sun, rain, snow, and dirt.

This makes them more prone to fading over time and cracking or flaking off, leaving your home shabby and needing repair. Flat paint may not be the best choice if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions.

Additionally, if you have small children or pets, their activity could cause further damage to the paint over time due to scuffing, scratching, and other wear and tear.

Low resistance to mildew and mold growth 

Exposure to moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth on surfaces painted with flat paint. Unfortunately, this type of paint does not provide any resistance against these types of organisms.

They can easily take root in damp areas or places where there are high humidity levels, such as bathrooms or kitchens. It can also be difficult to remove because the finish doesn’t provide any protection against them. 

Difficult cleaning process 

Another downside to using flat paint on exterior walls is that it can be difficult to clean without damaging the paint job. Because there is no sheen or gloss, there is no protective layer.

Dirt and grime can easily accumulate and become embedded into the surface. Trying to scrub this away could cause further damage or even rub off pieces of the paint itself.

No shine factor 

The shine factor is up to the homeowners’ preference, but some people may prefer something other than that flat paint that has no shine or reflect light. If you’re looking for something with more of a sheen, there are better choices than paint won’t be your best choice.

Finally, flat paints tend to have a chalky appearance depending on the weather conditions. This can give an undesirable look to the exterior of your home.

How does flat paint compare to other finishes? 

Flat vs. eggshell

Eggshell paint has a higher sheen than flat but not as much gloss as semi-gloss or high-gloss paints. This makes cleaning eggshell paint easier and more resistant to dirt and mildew buildup than flat paint. It still hides imperfections better than glossier finishes, making it the most popular choice for exterior walls.

Flat vs. satin

Satin paint offers a little more shine than flat but still provides a muted matte look. It’s slightly more durable than flat, so it’s less likely to need frequent touch-ups. Unlike flat paint, satin needs more coats to cover the surface. It can also be harder to apply and require more time and effort.

Flat vs. gloss (semi-gloss and high-gloss)

Gloss paint has an ultra-shiny finish that helps to reflect light effectively while also giving surfaces an elegant sheen. It’s also highly durable and resistant to scratches. However, the gloss does tend to magnify wall imperfections, unlike flat paint.

How to get a long-lasting paint job

Painting the exterior of your house is an investment in its lasting value. But it’s not enough just to paint it. You must ensure the job is done correctly and with quality products to get years of use. Here are some tips for ensuring a long-lasting paint job on your home’s exterior walls. 

Choose quality paint and primer

The quality of the paint and primer you use will greatly affect how long your paint job lasts. For exterior walls, you’ll want to use high-quality paint designed specifically for outdoor use.

You’ll also want to choose a primer that will help protect the wall from weathering and block any stains, such as watermarks, that may be present on the surface.

Prepare the surface properly 

This is important in ensuring that your paint job turns out right and lasts for years. Start by cleaning the surface with soap and water, then sand any rough areas until they are smooth.

Once this is done, apply the primer using a roller or brush. Allow it to dry before applying the first coat of paint. It’s also important to remove any loose or peeling paint from the surface before painting. This will ensure no gaps or bubbles when you apply new coats of paint later. 

Take your time applying the paint 

Take your time and be meticulous about each coat you apply so you can achieve an even finish without any visible streaks or brush strokes. Use multiple thin coats rather than one thick one, which will help prevent cracking or bubbling over time due to temperature changes.

Be sure to let each coat dry completely before applying another one so that they stick together properly.

Joshua Milton

I want to share everything I know about home improvement in order to help you. Whether you're a home enthusiast or an industry professional, I have the information that you need.

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