The Best Coatings for Your Exterior Painting Projects

To ensure a quality, long-lasting paint job, you need to choose the right topcoat. For best performance, proper preparation is critical. Here are our recommendations for the best exterior coatings to use based on your project and environmental conditions.

1. Best overall performance

Emerald® Exterior Acrylic Latex and new Emerald® Rain Refresh™ Exterior Acrylic Latex offer best-in-class overall performance in exterior paints. Its exclusive cross-linking 100 percent acrylic technology provides exceptional durability and hide, and offers extreme resistance to blistering, peeling, chalking, and dirt pickup.

“I noticed the crew moved faster as a direct result of the improved coverage and ease of application while using Emerald,” said Karl Zierfuss after his company Zierfuss Painting & Restoration completed the repaint of a 200-year-old town hall in Maryland. “That provided a big savings on our labor costs.”

“We believe that Emerald offers us the best value-to-quality ratio on the market,” adds Peter Buttenwieser of CertaPro Painters of Westchester, New York.

In 2020, Sherwin-Williams introduced Emerald® Rain Refresh™ Exterior Acrylic Latex with Self-Cleaning Technology™. This new ultra-durable coating is formulated to shed dirt upon rain or water contact, minimizing maintenance.

In addition, Emerald Rain Refresh can be tinted in VinylSafe® paint colors, formulated to resist warping or buckling when applied to a sound, stable vinyl substrate.

2. Best choice for temperature extremes

Another new product for 2020, FlexTemp™ Exterior Latex is formulated with Extreme Temp Technology® that adapts to temperature extremes so you can paint down to 35°F (1.7°C) or up to 120°F (48°C) with no need to adjust application techniques or add extenders.

FlexTemp offers excellent flow and leveling in extreme conditions, extending the painting seasons for pros working at these temperatures. It is available in more than 1500 colors including VinylSafe® paint colors.

3. Best choice for moisture resistance

Resilience® Exterior Acrylic Latex with MoistureGuard™ Technology resists moisture quicker than standard exterior latex coatings and has improved resistance to early dirt pickup. Exteriors newly painted with Resilience develop resistance to moisture in as little as one hour, rather than the four-hour minimum most coatings require. So you can paint later in the day with confidence and less concern about dew or impending rain. Resilience can also be tinted in VinylSafe® paint colors.

4. Best choice for exterior doors

SnapDry™ Door & Trim Paint is another innovative coating that will help you turn jobs faster. Since it dries in a fraction of the time of other trim paints, it will help you increase efficiency and reduce downtime.

“SnapDry allows me to paint doors and close them an hour later and not worry about it,” says Noah Kanter, owner of Nth Degree Painting in Burlington, Vermont. “That really increases my efficiency on exterior projects. I don’t have to prop the door open for three hours and let all the flies in the clients’ homes. I can spray out a beautiful-looking factory finish and walk away after an hour.”

5. Best choice for severely weathered siding

Rejuvenate™ Siding Restoration Coating is a high build coating ideal for application to sound, marginally prepared, alligatored, and peeling siding and trim. Its SmoothFill Technology™ gives aged and weathered siding a uniform appearance, offering dependable bonding and a smoother finish compared to applying a traditional paint and primer over less-than-perfect surfaces.

“This product absolutely saves time,” says Delaware painting contractor Mack Irwin. “After we applied the first coat of Rejuvenate to the entire structure, trim and the windows, we started to see a surface improvement. I was impressed with how Rejuvenate enabled us to hide the appearance of chipped paint. The rough surfaces were nearly gone.”

6. Best high-performance and specialty coatings

The Pro Industrial™ line offers a comprehensive array of exterior and interior high-performance coatings especially designed to withstand the harsh conditions of busy commercial and institutional environments.

There are also coatings designed specifically for concrete and masonry surfaces, as well as wood finishes for siding and decks. Your Sherwin-Williams rep can help you determine the best coating for your job.


For a complete guide to exterior coatings, with data sheets, ratings, customer reviews and more, please visit the Sherwin-Williams contractor website.