Time to Refresh Your Office? Here’s What You Need to Know About Outdoor Paint

Time to Refresh Your Office? Here's What You Need to Know About Outdoor Paint

When was the last time you’ve painted the exterior of your dental office?

If you had to count back on your fingers, it’s time to refresh your exterior. Most outdoor paint jobs only last 5-7 years.

The outside of your dental office is the first impression that patients get from your practice. If the building looks run down, patients are more likely to take their business elsewhere.

If you’re a DIY kind of person, it can be overwhelming to tackle a project like this.

Thankfully, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn how to revive your office’s exterior.

What Sort of Outdoor Paint Should You Use?

There are two different exterior paint types: oil and latex. Each have their own benefits and drawbacks, but you must be careful not to mix them.

If you put latex paint over oil, it will peel. Not only will you waste money in the long run, but patients will turn their nose up at a building that looks so run-down.

To test what type of house paint you currently have, peel off a paint chip and bend it a little. If it bends before cracking, then it’s latex. However, if it snaps right away, it’s oil.

If you still aren’t sure, a paint shop or home improvement store can test a paint chip for you.

Unless you’re willing to do massive prep work, it’s usually best to use the same type of paint that’s already on your exterior. Oil with oil, latex with latex.

If you are painting a brand new surface, here’s some key differences between oil and latex.

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paints are very durable because of their chemical makeup. They are also water-resistant, making them perfect for metals that rust.

This type of outdoor paint is also ideal for stained materials and woods that bleed tannin or sap. It adheres better than latex and it covers chalky or stained surfaces very well.

However, water-resistance makes oil-based paint a disaster for masonries like brick and stucco. The paint traps water, causing the masonry to crumble.

If you use oil-based outdoor paint, you must use a specially designed brush and roller. You must also stir the paint frequently, as it will quickly separate.

Latex-Based Paint

Latex-based paint is much easier to work with than oil-based paints. It dries more quickly and some brands are as durable as oil.

Acrylic latex is the highest-quality latex paint out there. It’s perfect for masonry and primed metals, as well as most other materials. It will expand in warm weather, contract in cold weather, and won’t trap water.

These exterior paint types can are easily cleaned with soap and water. It’s lower-VOC, meaning that it’s less toxic (and smells better) than oil-based paints.

Be mindful that you must use exterior paint, not interior, with latex.


Primer is used to smooth out surfaces and to give paint something to grip on to.

It’s crucial to use primer over unpainted wood and chalky surfaces. If you have a wood surface that bleeds, all oil-based primers and some latex-based primers will prevent it from bleeding through to your color.

There are different latex primers, depending on what type of surface you’re painting. Be sure to pick up the appropriate type for your project.

Of course, remember that oil primers go with oil-based paints and latex primers go with latex-based paint.

Which Finish Should You Choose?

Gloss and high-gloss are ideal for high-traffic places like doors because they’re durable. You can also use gloss for shutters and window trims for a nice contrast to the siding.

Beware that gloss and high-gloss are not ideal for walls or siding because they bring attention to the imperfections of the material.

Semi-gloss has many of the same properties as gloss but it’s less shiny. Use semi-gloss for trim and window casings.

Satin has a slight gloss to it, making it good at hiding imperfections. It’s easier to clean than a flat finish, but it’s not as easy as glossier finishes. This is one of the best outdoor paints for cement or wood.

While not easy to clean, flat/matte finishes are the best at hiding imperfections. Additionally, they don’t splatter as much during the application, making clean-up easier. They’re usually used for siding.

Remember, you want your office to look as professional as your practice, so opt for the finishes that hide the most imperfections and are easiest to clean.

What Are the Different Qualities of Paint?

Hiding power is how well the outdoor paint will cover the surface it’s applied over. The color you choose, as well as how thick the paint is, contributes to its hiding power. If you prime your surface first, you may not need to worry about this.

When the paint binder breaks down, it produces a chalky substance. Chalking resistance is how prone the paint is to deterioration.

If your building is prone to extreme weather, color retention may be an important element. Exposure to direct sunlight and the rain causes some paints to fade more quickly than others.

Finally, when water seeps underneath paint, it can cause it to blister. Blister retention paint can help keep your surface from bubbling.

For more information on the best exterior paint for your project, A Touch of Color Painting is an excellent resource.

When is the Best Time to Paint?

The ideal temperature for painting is between 50 and 90 degrees. If it’s too cold out, the paint won’t dry. If it’s too hot, the paint will dry too quickly, causing lap marks.

If you can’t avoid painting during the cold season, there are exterior paint types that are meant for cold weather.

Of course, make sure that it’s not sprinkling or too humid when you paint. You should always paint onto a completely dry surface.

Try to paint in the shade if you can, and keep a wet edge to avoid lap marks. Also, work from the top down to avoid drips.

Paint Your Office Like a Pro

There’s a lot to consider when picking out the best paint for your exterior, but with these tips, you’ll be able to make an informed decision. Now that you know what type of outdoor paint to use, we’ll leave it up to you to pick out the perfect color!


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