Can Exterior Paint Be Used Inside

Can Exterior Paint Be Used to Paint the Interior of Your Home?


We can’t help but answer this question with a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’, but we’ll explain why a little later. A lot of homeowners are tempted to use exterior paint for their home interiors simply because it is far more durable and long-lasting than other types of paint. While this is true, there are also a couple of reasons why many opt against it.

Before we go into that, let’s bring you up to speed on what makes exterior paint different from interior house paints.


What is Exterior Paint?


In simple terms, exterior paint is weatherproof paint. This means that even some of the harshest weather conditions will not damage the finish which, in turn, saves you the trouble and money of having to re-paint the outside of your house.

In fact, the premium selection of these paints can last a lifetime! This isn’t to say that the colour won’t fade a little after several years of sun exposure, however, when compared to any other type of paint, those made for exteriors top the list for most durable. 

While a paint job that lasts pretty much your entire life may sound like a dream, you should know that the same thing which makes exterior paints durable and longlasting, also causes mild/severe health problems. Outdoor paints contain active chemicals that release a solvent or fume known as Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs.

When breathed in, the health risks involved include nausea, respiratory problems, headaches, dizziness, eye irritation, and even some life-threatening diseases. With this in mind, it’s a rather simple conclusion; when VOCs are released in an indoor setting, it will have a direct effect on members of the household, while using these paints outdoors will not because the fumes become airborne outside. 

So, why do people still consider using outdoor paints for their house interiors? Well, the benefits of wall paint which contain VOCs are hard to ignore; it is the reason why paint clings to the wall so well, and why the colour lasts for years on end. Still, is it worth risking your health over an interior paint job that will last this long?

The obvious answer is no; however, there are ways to prevent these harmful side effects from getting to you when using exterior paint for your interiors.

This, of course, it will cost you a little more money, and require some sacrifices to be made. If you are willing and determined to do this, you best believe that there is a right way of going about it!


How to Safely Use Exterior Paint for Your Interiors


When painting your home interiors with outdoor paints, it is imperative that you understand the safety measures one must take in order to avoid the health risks that come with them. As inconvenient as it may be for you and your family, you can never be too careful when paint fumes are involved.

Below are six critically important measures to take when using exterior paint for your interiors.

  1. Before, during, and after painting; the house must be properly ventilated. If you have small windows and poor cross ventilation in your home, avoid using outdoor paints inside.
  2. Choose outdoor paints with a lower percentage of VOCs. In some cases, this may cost a little more but it is highly recommended.
  3. Move out of the house before the painting begins; find a temporary place to live for a minimum of six months after the house has been painted. Gasses emitted from outdoor paints can last up to this long.
  4. Use a high-quality face mask anytime you are entering the house within the time frame mentioned above.
  5. Run fans as often as possible with all the windows and doors open when you are in or around the house.
  6. To reduce fumes wherever possible, make sure that all the tins are properly covered with the lids when not in use, and avoid leaving paint lying around in trays.




Now that you have all the relevant information you need, as well as safety precautions regarding the use of exterior paints inside your home, the choice is yours.

However, as a reminder or to answer the question of whether exterior paint can be used to paint home interiors, it is a unanimous ‘NO’ among health experts and experienced paint contractors UNLESS you can follow the six safety precautions that are mentioned above. Although they may seem extreme, you can’t ignore the old saying – ‘better safe than sorry’. 

On a final note,  we cannot stress enough on the dangerous fumes that are associated with outdoor paints and advise homeowners to exercise extreme caution when choosing to paint their home interiors using them.  

Karen Saunders

Karen Saunders

Karen Saunders is the content marketing manager at PaintMates. With extensive experience in the home and garden space. Karen researches and writes about home improvement.

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