Can You Use Exterior Paint Inside?

Sometimes, all you need to bring something back to life is a nice lick of paint.

Whether it’s your bedroom, the walls of your home, or even your backyard decking, a coat of paint can to wonders to give some color and life to your home. 

Can You Use Exterior Paint Inside?

And when you’ve just finished painting your garden fence, you probably have a lot of paint left over. So, can you use exterior paint inside? It would have everything looking cohesive. 

In this article, we discuss if you can use exterior paint inside (see also “Does Paint Go Bad?“). No one wants to waste paint or money when you can use the same product.

However, opening the purse strings a little might be necessary if using exterior paint inside is dangerous. 

Let’s find out! 

Exterior & Interior Paint: What’s The Difference?

Despite doing essentially the same job, there are many vital differences between interior and exterior. Both types of paint were created for different environments.

This can make it difficult to use them in different areas of the home. 

Interior Paint 

inside paints are designed to have qualities for an inside setting and are not strong enough for use outside.

They have a low VOC and other dangerous chemical emissions, are washable, scratch and spatter resistant, and have a low odor. 

The absence of VOCs also implies that when exposed to sunshine, the organic pigment in the paints would deteriorate and flake.

Interior paints are also deficient in mildewcide and other substances that make paint resistant to moisture, heat, and cold. 

Exterior Paint 

On the end of the spectrum is exterior paint. This is designed to be durable, long-lasting, and provide better coverage to the surface.

Most exterior paints are made of acrylic latex, which is water soluble and weatherproof. Stucco, wood, cement, and brick are among the exterior surfaces that acrylic latex paint is effective on (see also “How Much Does A Brick Weigh?“).

Due to being designed for exterior work, exterior paint contains chemicals that release over time. If these chemicals were released in the home, it would become hazardous and even lead to extreme health conditions. 

The ingredients resist physical damage like chipping, are weather resistant, durable, and keep the color from fading quickly.

Many people prefer to have a professional complete exterior paint work to ensure it is used correctly and no one is harmed. 

Using Exterior Paint Inside The Home 

Even though you may have a railing or door that would look perfect in the color of paint you have, exterior paint should not be used inside the home.

As mentioned above, exterior paint contains harmful chemicals that can make the home dangerous for anyone to live in. 

Now, if you get your paints mixed up and accidentally use exterior paint inside the home. Don’t panic. Simply, let it dry, prime the surface, and paint over it with interior paint.

You are protected from the damaging chemicals in the external paint by priming and repainting the walls.

It takes a little bit of work but there is nothing to worry about. Once the top layer of interior paint is dry, you and your family are safe in the home once again. And it looks fabulous!

Exceptions To The Rule 

Overall, exterior paint should not be used inside the home under any circumstances. The harsh chemicals can have damaging effects on the body and even cause hospitalization. 

However, there are a few exceptions to the rule. You can use exterior paint on areas of the home that share indoors and outdoors or where people regularly linger.

For example, sheds, detached garages, and pool storage rooms can all be decorated with exterior paint without the worry of hurting someone. 

We recommend using interior paint for any area humans or animals may be exposed. But, if you are in a pinch for paint or are tired of painting every few months, you can use exterior paint on these special areas. 

Results Of Using Exterior Paint Inside

If you haven’t got the gist, using exterior paint inside is a rather big no no.

However, if you need more convincing, here are some possible results of doing so:

  • Headaches 
  • Nausea
  • Potential cancer in animals 
  • Loss of Coordination 
  • Liver, Kidney, and Central Nervous System Damage
  • Irritation of the Eyes, Nose, and Throat  
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Can Interior Paint Be Used Outside?

Now that you know not to use exterior paint inside, you may be wondering if you can interior paint outside. While it is possible and will not pose any threat to any humans or animals inside the home.

It is useless. 

Because interior paint is designed to be safe for persons living within a house, it doesn’t have the same chemicals or durability as outside paint.

If interior paint is left outdoors, it will swiftly deteriorate due to extreme temperatures, snow, rain, and sunlight. 

The paint’s color will deteriorate in the sun, and temperature variations will make it crack. If you want the paint on the outside of your house to last and remain in good shape, you must use exterior paint.

Final Thoughts

Your home, inside and outside, is not complete until the paint is dried and everything looks sleek.  However, you most definitely want to pay attention to the type of paint you use in certain areas. 

Exterior paint should not be used inside the home as it continues to release chemicals that can be dangerous for humans and animals. Stick to using the outside paint on the outside of your house. 

Get to decorating and enjoy the home you create!

Frequently Asked Questions 

Does Exterior Paint Give Off Fumes?

Yes, exterior paint does give off fumes. Exterior paint expands and contracts with the weather to prevent cracking and this is done through chemicals that are released into the air. 

Can You Use Exterior Paint In Your Garage?

It is not advisable to paint walls, ceilings, or furniture in a garage using durable exterior paint. It takes a long time to dry, and the residual fumes might be dangerous to your health. Instead, choose durable latex paint made for busy areas.

Luke Powell
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