Best Exterior Paints For Wood 2019 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Best Exterior Paints For Wood 2019 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

If you’ve never done it before, painting exterior wood seems like an incredibly easy task. Simply pick your favorite option and then brush it on, right? Wrong!

Before applying any paint to a piece of outdoor wooden furniture or deck, you’ll likely need to clean the surface, strip and sand it. After that, the priming is recommended. Much of the process described above depends on whether the wood is already primed and painted or raw.

If that seems like too much work, don’t worry. There are many exterior paints on the market that allow you to skip these steps by including them in one simple process. There are also so many styles and finishes you can choose from, from a matte or glossy finish! In this article, we’ll explore 10 best exterior paints for wood that are currently on the market.

Best Exterior Paints for Wood in September, 2019

#Paint for woodCoverage (quart)Dry time (minutes)Colors 
1Kilz Porch and Patio Floor
Editor's Choice
50-100 sq ft602 Check Price
2Rust-Oleum Latex
Editor's Choice
up to 120 sq ft3018 Check Price
3Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Sprayup to 12 sq ft (1 can)208 Check Price
4Kilz Exterior 50-125 sq ft120-1802 Check Price
5Rust-Oleum Satinup to 120 sq ft302 Check Price
6Prestige100 sq ft60-1207 Check Price
7Montage Signatureup to 100 sq ft3020 Check Price
8New York Botanical Gardens100 sq ft60-1209 Check Price

1. Kilz Porch and Patio Floor Paint – Best Deck and Wood Floor Paint

A great product by Kilz, specifically geared at painting decks, wooden porch and patio floors that easily get worn out. If you haven’t painted your porch or patio floor for fear of the incredible amount of maintenance, you’re missing out on the added style and protection that painting the floor can give you. If you have invested the money to make a beautiful outside extension of your home, you need to protect your investment with this product.

Kilz’ Porch and Patio Floor paint protects your wood flooring from scuffs, scratches, fading, cracking or peeling. While it can be applied to any hard surface like cement, metal or masonry, the true beauty of this product is seen when painted on wood.

This latex enamel product is really easy to apply. It dries within one hour (however, wait 4-6 hours to apply a second coat) and is available in the popular slate gray or silver gray colors. One gallon covers between 200-400 square feet and can be rolled, brushed or sprayed on to your porch or patio flooring.

Keep in mind, any painted surface can get slippery when wet. So if it rains, proceed with more caution than normal, and do not use it anywhere a motorized vehicle would be traveling.
  • Specifically created to protect outdoor decks and flooring but can be used for furniture, siding and other projects
  • Can be applied to other surfaces like cement and metal
  • No priming necessary
  • Lengthy application process takes 4-6 hours to apply two coats

2. Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Latex Paint – Great Paint for Outdoor Wood Furniture

Rust-Oleum’s Painter’s Touch latex-based paint is extremely versatile, with many possible uses. Going to refresh exterior furniture? The Rust-Oleum is for you. If you’re in the midst of a massive renovation or just working on multiple outdoor projects, Rust-Oleum makes painting much easier. Plus, the beautiful glossy finish can be used on much more than just wood. You can use it on glass, metal, ceramic, plaster and canvas (so long as they are not walking surfaces).

Painter’s Touch is made with “double cover” technology. This means you’ll deal with less wear and tear and chipping of the paint. It provides a fresh, clean look to worn-out surfaces and most projects are completed in one to two coats. It’s also a low-odor, safe product that’s easily cleaned up with soap and water should any messes occur during its application.

Before using this product on your indoor or outdoor wood project, you’ll want to make sure you sand the item down with a 180-200 grit piece of sandpaper to ensure the best application.

If you’re applying it to another hard surface, like metal, it does not need to be sanded down. Additionally, this formula is incredibly fast-drying. You can apply one coat and come back and repaint another in just 30 minutes!

  • Can be used on interior and exterior surfaces
  • Quick drying
  • Easy application, easy clean-up of spills during the application process
  • Lasts longer than most other products
  • Sanding required before application on wood surfaces
  • Cannot be used on walking surfaces

3. Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Spray – Top Outdoor Spray Paint for Wood

Rust-Oleum has a number of paints on this list, and it is for good reason. They put out such a high-quality product, and it’s not just limited to traditional paint. This Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover spray is a fantastic choice if you need quick, even application of color on items that would be difficult to evenly cover with paint due to their size or intricacies. It can be used on nearly all outdoor pieces, adhering to everything from wood, to metal, ceramic and even plastic!

The oil-based formula sprays on evenly and dries very quickly, within 20 minutes or less. This enables you to quickly see the level of coverage from one coat and finish your project quickly, anticipating how many more coats you will need within just minutes. Unlike other sprays, it is low odor and has a beautiful satin finish that will create a look similar to that of what a professional painter would create.

This product is both a paint and primer, so you do not need to apply anything to the wood prior to spraying on the Ultra Cover. However, it is in your best interest to sand down any wood project that you are applying it to for better adhesion.

This product is also popular amongst car enthusiasts as the clear coat can repair headlights that have turned cloudy with age. If you are using the paint for that, you should also sand down the headlights somewhat before application.

  • Can safely be used on a variety of surfaces
  • Quick drying
  • Perfect for small exterior projects
  • The application can be uneven if a can is not prepped (shaken) before use

4. Kilz Exterior Siding, Fence & Barn Paint – Top Exterior Paint For Fence and Siding

If you’re looking for an exterior paint that will protect your outdoor wood project from the elements for a long time, then Kilz Exterior Siding, Fence & Barn paint is the right choice for you! Kilz brand has been a top producer of paints and primers for 40 years. They know what they’re doing, and they do it right!

This product is specifically formulated to protect against wear and tear, mold and mildew, rust and more. It resists cracking, drying, peeling and blisters caused by the sun on your outdoor painted wood. It is self-priming, which means you just have to clean and sand down the wood before you apply this product.

The water and oil-based formula sticks well to almost anything and lasts for long. You won’t have to reapply year after year, even in the toughest of conditions. Use this on stucco, cement, wood, metal or whatever surface you have outside that needs some protection.

The product’s application does take more time than other paints, however. Expect it to dry in about 2-3 hours’ time. Do not apply a second coat until 6-8 hours have passed for optimal results. While it can be brushed, rolled or sprayed on, you also need to be careful in your application, always doing a back-brush or back-roll when applying.
  • Extremely long-lasting once applied
  • Protects surfaces from wear and tear in all weather conditions
  • Self-priming formula
  • Long application process
  • Back-brush or back-roll application can lead to uneven coverage

5. Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Satin – Satin Paint for Outdoor Wood Furniture

This multi-purpose latex paint has a ton of benefits, besides the trusted Rust-Oleum name behind it! It’s great for all of your exterior painting needs including painting outdoor wood furniture. It offers a beautiful satin finish that does not chip easily and works well in high traffic areas. The paint can be used on a wide variety of surfaces besides wood, like metal, ceramics or earthenware, plaster and cement. Unlike a lot of paints, the Painter’s Touch Satin is low-odor. It’s really easy to use and very easy to clean up. You just have to wipe it down with soap and wet washrag before it dries.

This one not only goes on thoroughly and evenly but because it is a satin finish it also hides any imperfections; you need not worry about being an expert when using this product! Prior to using this paint, you should sand down your wood project with a 180-200 grit piece of sandpaper and then apply a degreaser. After that, wait about 2 hours (or more) for the wood to be dry and then apply this paint. While it does take a bit more time and effort than other paints, the final result will stun you!

One thing to note about this product is what a fantastic value it is. It costs less than half of some other varieties and one can covers more than 120 square feet! You’ll also end up getting your project done in less time, as it takes just about 30 minutes for one coat to fully dry, and you’ll likely only need one to two coats.
  • Great value for the cost
  • Can be used on a wide variety of surfaces
  • Must sand, prime and de-gloss before applying this product to a piece of wood

6. Prestige LifeTime – Both Exterior Paint and Primer in One

This ultra-premium paint from Prestige Paints makes your wood project much easier to complete by combining paint and primer in one product. Prestige also offers a match to some Sherwin-Williams paints making it easy for you to touch-up old projects and give them new life! Application of this option is extremely easy. The formula’s smooth finish provides even coverage and hides blemishes or mistakes made by the most novice of painters. It also does a fantastic job on wood, cement, stone works, masonry, metal, and even vinyl siding!

The paint will look great when applied with a high-quality brush, and usually, at least two to three coats are needed to achieve the best look. It usually takes about 2-3 hours for one coat to dry, so this product might take longer to use than others.

For best use, any glossy areas must be sanded down and though it this product appears to have primer and paint all wrapped in one can, you do need to apply an initial primer if the wood you’re using on your project is raw.

Each color is intended for interior or exterior use only. Read carefully before purchase.

  • Easy application
  • Matches some Sherwin-William paints
  • High-quality coverage masks blemishes
  • Need to sand most projects before application

7. Montage Signature – Eco – Friendly Paint

Montage a very versatile water-based paint that comes in several versions. You can get a low-sheen version if you prefer a smooth, flat finish, or you can get the semi-gloss variety if you want the wood to shine a little. This paint is available in a bunch of different colors, but all of them are light pastel shades. This presents a slight problem for those who don’t like pastel colors, but their muted nature does make them an ideal choice for home decor. After all, you don’t want your home decked out in a loud color like neon green or hot pink.


This is an eco-friendly paint, which makes one feel good about supporting the company with your business.

After all, they are not under any legal obligation to produce eco-friendly paint, though there is an obvious marketability incentive to do so. Still, environmental protection is very important, and this also makes the paint much less vile on the senses.

Long lasting

One of the more unusual features of this product is a ten-year warranty.

I say that it is unusual because most paint doesn’t come with any kind of warranty, let alone a warranty with such a long term. This indicates that the company is very confident in the durability of their product.

This paint applies very smoothly, having no real tendency to chunk up and form clumps. If there’s one thing I cannot stand, it’s finding clumps in the paint. You will get pretty good coverage out of a single can of this stuff, and the thick consistency should do an excellent job of hiding whatever it is that you are painting over.

Protects mold and mildew

Another good thing is that this paint contains substances that are meant to fight mold and mildew. This makes it great for wood in wetter areas that would normally be quite prone to mold/mildew issues. If this paint resists mold and mildew as well as advertised, it wouldn’t be a bad choice for your next bathroom job.

  • Available in semi-gloss or low-sheen
  • Subtle, muted colors
  • Eco-friendly
  • Ten-year warranty
  • Applies smoothly with good coverage
  • Fights mold and mildew
  • Not good for those who hate pastel colors
  • Not available in full gloss
  • Water-based paints require more coats

8. New York Botanical Gardens – Warm Tropical Colors for Exterior Wood

This is a lovely pastel paint from the people at New York Botanical Gardens. This is not just one kind of paint, but an entire line of paints designed around a tropical theme. A wide variety of colors are offered, such as “Bird Of Paradise,” “Lagoon,” and “Caribbean Blue.” Obviously, this line of paint isn’t necessarily a good choice for those who don’t like a tropical theme, or for those who have chosen a dark-colored theme for their home or place of business.

Paint and Primer in One

One of the best things about this paint is the fact that it is also a primer. This line of paint includes both paint and primer in one can.

Depending on the size of your painting job, this can save you quite a few hours of work. If you are hiring contractors to paint your home, paint like this will mean fewer work hours, which means a lower bill for you when it’s all said and done.

Covers imperfection

This paint is advertised as containing a new “high hide” formula. Upon doing a little more research, I see that this kind of paint is intended to do a better job of hiding whatever color or surface lies beneath.

When you are painting wood, this might be a good thing or a bad thing. If you want to preserve the woodgrain to any extent, this might not be your best choice. However, those who wish to preserve the grain of a wooden surface should use a stain and/or shellac rather than use any kind of paint.

This is a somewhat environmentally friendly paint and has very little odor. It is low in VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), and this makes it less unpleasant to use.

  • Available in a wide variety of nice, appealing colors
  • Great for those who live in Florida, where tropical colors are almost mandatory
  • Does a good job of hiding old colors and finishes
  • Low odor
  • Primer and paint all in one
  • Not suitable for those who don’t like tropical colors
  • Might provide too much hide for some wood-painting applications

Buyer’s Guide

best paints for wood buyers guideAs seen in many of the options above, to achieve the best look, there is a process that must come before painting any exterior wood. Though some products include a primer, most advise that you sand and finish wood before it is painted. Why? Let’s walk through the process.

Wash the Wood

Hair, dust mildew and other particles can get mixed up in your paint. This will cause visible blemishes, bumps and imperfections. Washing down the wood with mild soap and water or tri-sodium phosphate (found at your local hardware store) will save you from future headaches.

Sand the Wood

Even if the wood came from a hardware store, sand it down with a 180-200 grit sandpaper and then wipe off the dust with a cloth. Sanding the wood gives the paint something to attach itself to.

Prime the Wood

Primer chemically bonds to problematic areas of the wood and gives the paint an even surface to rest on, so that the end result is more uniform. I’ve put together great primers for the wood so that you can pick up exactly what you need. After applying primer, lightly sand the wood one more time and wipe it down. Now, you are ready to start painting.

Seal the Wood

Remember if you’re painting wood which is going outside make sure the paint has a built-in sealer or add a sealer once the paint is dry.

While many paints say that they include a primer, be wary about skipping all of the steps above before applying, even if it is high quality. While washing, sanding and priming the wood can be time-consuming, each step gets you closer toward your goal of having a project that is painted in the most professional manner and ensures the longevity. Ultimately, decide what kind of paint to purchase based on what you are painting, where it will live (indoor or outdoor), how much time to have to complete the project and what color and finish you want the project to have. The great projects are those that keep their beauty with minimum maintenance.

8 thoughts on “Best Exterior Paints For Wood 2019 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide”

  1. Hi good article. I need the best exterior wood paint, I read your article and now I’m choosing between kilz and rustoleum. What’s the better choice?..

    • Hi, Michael. First of all, there are Rust Oleum paints on the list that are not to be used outside. You could pick up multi-purpose latex paint or Premium latex paint but chalk paints are only for interior use. Furthermore, I need to know what you are trying to accomplish exactly to give you some advice. If it’s something like pressure treated wood, decks or patio that experience a lot of traffic then I definitely recommend KILZ porch. I’m afraid no other option on the list could provide such great protection for pressure treated wood as Kilz do.

      If you’re going to refresh thing which got a large area such as siding, barn or fence then choose KILZ exterior siding. It’s made especially for these kinds of projects. By the way, if you haven’t known yet I will tell you that you need to prime the project before you paint it to hide spots and make the paint stick to the surface more evenly. But Kilz exterior is self-priming so you don’t need to waste money to buy a gallon of primer to prepare you siding.

      Okay, KILZ options are great to paint large projects that require great durability and longevity. On the other hand, KILZ will be excessive if you’ve got something like an outdoor chair, table or some little piece made of wood. In this case, Rust-Oleums are much more appropriate options. Furthermore, KILZ goes with gallon sizes which I think you will find excessive for a moderate project. So Rust-Oleum latex paints are great for outdoor furniture. Bear in mind that all Rust-Oleum latex paints require wood to be sanded before painting using 180-200 grit.

      Hope this helps.

  2. Hi there! Last October I painted my fence gates with Behr exterior. I liked the results, so far paint looks great, there are no peelings off or rives. I want to paint interior stair rails this spring. I have a half a gallon of Behr left over and I wonder if I could use it to paint the rails. Or maybe I need to buy another tin of paint, especially for the interior? Your answer will be very helpful.

    • Nice to see you on my blog, Chris.

      Basically, you are right. Purely exterior paint should not be used for interior uses. I’ve never used Behr brand but if it says that it’s intended only for exterior then use it only for the exterior.

      Exterior paints designed especially for outdoor to resist harsh weather conditions: aggressive sunbeams, wind, heat, cold, moisture etc. Exterior paint has to ‘soft’ so that it can enlarge/shrink depending on temperature outdoors so if you use it inside you will get a little bit tacky surface.

      Furthermore, exterior paints have harsh chemicals and strong odor (since they have to deal with the weather as I mentioned) which will stay in your house for a long time, much longer than interior paints that often got no odor at all. And what I find the most important is that some exterior paints may outgas which means you will breathe polluted air on a daily basis.

      So each paint’s recommended to be used for certain conditions whether exterior and interior or even both. If you want to break the rules then at least contact manufacturer to make sure you’re doing it in a safe manner.

  3. Love your article, William. I want to paint my outdoor bare wood table, but the problem is I’m living in Mobile. It’s very rainy town so I think protecting the table against moisture is a good idea. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any waterproof brands on your list. Can you please tell me if there are waterproof paints for wood I can use? Thank you in advance.

    • Thanks for your question, Mila. Actually, all paints designed for exterior use withstand moisture well. I can definitely say that chalk paints are not the best choice for waterproofing, therefore, they are used for painting interior furniture mostly. Exterior paint kind of seals the wood by itself so in most cases, you won’t need any additional wood finish to protect wood against humidity. But for you, I think using some top coat wouldn’t be a bad idea. I think using a sealer will be the best solution here.

      Sealers are specially designed to protect wood against the moisture, mold and rotting particularly exterior wooden protects. So if the only thing you need is waterproofing then sealer is a ‘must have’ for you. Several months ago I wrote the article where I listed top sealers on the market in my opinion I think Agra-Life Lumber Seal will be a great choice for you. Remember that sealers work better when applied over water-based paints. Also, it’s worth mentioning that you will need to refinish your table each 6-12 month depending on weather and utilization conditions. Of course, you may apply something more durable like polyurethane but I think it will be redundant.

      So, sand your table using a fine grid, then prime it (choose one of the water-based primers here Then paint it preferably using water-based paint. Wait for it to fully dry and finally apply a couple of coats of wood sealer. Hope, you will be pleased with the results.

  4. I am looking for a recommendation for paint to use for a horse drawn wooden cart. It has been previously painted, and I do not know what kind of paint. I want it to be shiny when finished 🙂

Leave a Comment