Can You Use Exterior Paint Inside The House? (Outdoor Paint Indoors)

Have you ever wondered whether you can use exterior paint inside the garage, bathroom, kitchen, or another room of your house? Here’s the short answer: Yes, you can, but it is not recommended.

A do-it-yourself project is all about saving money or using materials as effectively as possible. When people do a DIY project in their home, they want to use exterior paint for interior decoration, even though they’re unsure if this is a good or bad idea.

This article will answer the most common question: Can you use exterior paint inside the house? 

Also, we will share some valuable tips for exterior interior painting.

You can technically use exterior paint indoors and interior paint outdoors, but we’ll explain why you shouldn’t. But first, you should know about exterior or interior paints.

Exterior Paint vs. Interior Paint

Exterior paint inside

You must understand some of the differences between the two kinds of paint. Once you have a clear idea of the differences, you can choose which one to use in different projects.

Exterior paints are designed for the outdoor environment. In extreme weather fluctuations from warm to icy cold, acrylic resins expand and contract with a home’s siding.

Water-resistant paint contains ultraviolet-blocking additives that prevent breakdown when exposed to direct sunlight for hours a day. The outside paint was treated with weatherproofing and a color-lasting combination for enhanced durability. The exterior paint is available in many colors and can be dried indoors.

However, the interior paints are water-soluble and emits minimal VOCs.  The purpose of interior paint is to withstand regular bumps and scratches against wood furniture and walls. 

Acrylic latex is the most popular interior paint, despite the fact that it contains no latex. A lot of varieties are designed to be washable and scratch-resistant. 

A homeowner might think that using exterior paint inside will ensure the paint’s longevity. So, you may ask yourself;

Can I use exterior paint inside?

You can use it, but it is not suggested to apply exterior paint on interior walls or kitchen cabinets because of the following reasons:

  • Acrylic latex paint formulated for the outdoors contains more volatile organic compounds than paint designed for indoor use.
  • In confined spaces, mildew-preventive agents in exterior paint could cause odors and allergic reactions.
  • Acrylic latex will continue to release volatile organic compounds even when it dries.
  • The additives necessary to provide exterior paint with resilience are not intended to be used indoors.
  • It is not a good idea to use enamel or oil-based paints inside since they emit toxic fumes. Even though exterior paints are durable outdoors, they tend to scratch and scuff more easily indoors.

Can You Use Interior Paint Outdoors?

It is not dangerous to use interior paint on a house exterior, but it is not very efficient either. The reasons are as follows:

  • Since interior paint does not contain the same fungicides, resins, or additives as exterior paint, it will not withstand the elements, even when applied in a sheltered area.
  • It has not been formulated to allow expansion and contraction with temperature changes, so interior paint is prone to hairline cracks. 
  • Interior paint is not intended for exposure to direct sunlight, so it will fade faster outside. 

Things to consider before using exterior paint on the interior

Paint Fumes

When painting outdoors, fumes pose the greatest risk. Volatile organic compounds, are the main chemicals present in paint fumes and can be extremely harmful if inhaled. It can cause lung damage. 

VOCs are used as binders in paint to hold the pigment in place. Therefore the use of an outdoor coating depends on this harmful component.

Is exterior paint safe to use inside?

Lightheadedness, nausea, and headaches are some of the symptoms of VOC inhalation. In fact, VOCs can harm the respiratory system of those with a weaker immune system. Thus, proper precautions must be taken when using exterior paint.

Flammability of Exterior Paint

You should also consider another factor before painting inside with exterior paint. Most exterior paint is oil-based. It is, therefore, considerably more flammable than interior paint. 

Although house fires aren’t usually caused by paint. But, if you want to build a safe living environment, you should avoid using exterior paint in places where there could be dangerous substances.

Exterior Paint Costs 

It is more expensive to paint the exterior than the interior. So, it would be a waste of money to buy too much exterior paint and then apply it to your interior. Paint for exteriors is more expensive because it shields your home from harsh weather.

Can I use exterior paint for interior? (TIPS)

Yes, but with extreme caution!

  • You may use exterior paint indoors if you have the proper ventilation by opening windows and doors, using multiple fans, and wearing a respirator. 
  • Poor ventilation is the foremost risk factor when working with outdoor paints. Therefore, you should not work in enclosed areas without proper ventilation.
  • Also, ensure that the lid is always sealed, as fumes can easily escape, causing further harm.
  • After the paint dries, more fumes are released into the air, so let the area have plenty of time to ventilate after the job is finished.
  • You should pick the right paint for the job. Water-based latex is made naturally with smaller quantities of VOCs. In contrast, oil-based coatings emit higher levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Thus, research the most suitable paint for your house before you buy it.

Bottom line:

Can you use exterior paint inside your home? Though you can use exterior paint indoors, it’s only your second option. Interior paint is suitable for indoor environments, and it has some practical benefits for home decors, whereas exterior paint is designed for challenging outdoor conditions. Moreover, you can save yourself a great deal of time and effort by choosing tough, weatherproof paint for the interior of your home.

However, if you don’t take proper measures, the fumes from this process can be dangerous to you and your family. 

FAQs: ( Is it ok to use exterior paint inside?)

Can you use Sherwin-Williams outdoor paint inside?

You can use Sherwin-Williams exterior paint either inside or outside. Their excellent durability, self-priming, stain resistance, and low VOC content make them a suitable choice for painting.

Is it possible to paint my garage with exterior paint?

The use of exterior paint in your garage is not recommended, as it is believed to be more resistant to stains, scratches, marks, or moisture. Exterior paints contain toxins that can be harmful when used indoors. However, high-quality interior paints can be used to paint garage walls.

Can you use water-based exterior paint inside?

You can, but it isn’t always the best option. Almost all exterior paints are also acrylic latex, meaning they are also water-soluble when wet. but they contain resin which make them weather-resistant.

Can exterior paint be used inside a shed?

You can use outdoor paint in a shed where no one sleeps.

Is it possible to paint the bathroom with exterior paint?

Generally, exterior paint is treated with fungicides and UV-blocking chemicals to make them better resistant to weather conditions, though they are not approved for indoor applications. Exterior paint should only be used per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can outdoor paint be used on furniture?

Exterior paint is best suited to outdoor furniture. In addition, exterior paint often lasts for a longer time than that of interior paints.

Can you use Weathershield paint or Masonry paint indoors?

Yes, both interior and exterior paint (including Weathershield paint or Masonry paint) can be used outdoors and indoors. Each variety of paint has its own formula, making it suitable for use in its specific environment. Weathershield provides protection against outdoor weather conditions for the exterior of your home. So, It requires a great deal of adaptability rather than a seamless transition.


Meet Your Hola Paints Author

Jennifer is an experienced professional working with paint sprayers, painting tools, and other supplies. She provides valuable painting tips for visitors according to her experience.