Barn Paint vs Exterior Paint: Durability, Cost, and Aesthetics

Barn paint vs exterior paint: A comparison of durability, cost, and aesthetics to help you choose the right paint for your project.

When it comes to painting the exterior of your home or barn, you have two main options: barn paint and exterior paint. Both types of paint have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to understand the differences before you make a decision.

Composition and Ingredients

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Barn paint and exterior paint differ significantly in their composition and ingredients. Barn paint is specifically formulated to withstand harsh agricultural environments, while exterior paint is designed for residential and commercial buildings.

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The key differences lie in the types of solvents, pigments, and binders used in each type of paint.


  • Barn paint:Typically uses mineral spirits or aliphatic hydrocarbons as solvents, which provide excellent durability and resistance to moisture and chemicals.
  • Exterior paint:Often uses water-based solvents, which are more environmentally friendly and have lower odor.


  • Barn paint:Employs inorganic pigments such as iron oxide and titanium dioxide, which provide excellent color retention and UV resistance.
  • Exterior paint:May use both inorganic and organic pigments, with organic pigments offering a wider range of colors but lower durability.


  • Barn paint:Typically uses alkyd or polyurethane binders, which provide excellent adhesion and durability.
  • Exterior paint:Often uses acrylic or latex binders, which are more flexible and less prone to cracking.
Table Comparing Ingredients in Barn Paint and Exterior Paint
Ingredient Barn Paint Exterior Paint
Solvents Mineral spirits, aliphatic hydrocarbons Water-based
Pigments Inorganic (iron oxide, titanium dioxide) Inorganic and organic
Binders Alkyd, polyurethane Acrylic, latex

Durability and Longevity

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Barn paint and exterior paint exhibit varying levels of durability and longevity, influenced by factors such as environmental exposure, paint quality, and proper application.

Exterior paints are typically formulated to withstand harsh weather conditions, including exposure to sunlight, moisture, and temperature fluctuations. High-quality exterior paints employ advanced technologies, such as UV-resistant pigments and moisture-repellent additives, to enhance their durability and longevity.

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Resistance to Weathering

  • Exterior paints are designed to resist weathering effects, including fading, chalking, and peeling. They contain UV-resistant pigments that prevent color degradation and protect the underlying surface from sun damage.
  • Barn paints, while less resistant to weathering than exterior paints, provide adequate protection for barns and other agricultural structures. They often contain mildew-resistant additives to combat moisture-related issues common in barns.

Resistance to UV Rays

  • Exterior paints are formulated with high levels of UV-resistant pigments to shield surfaces from harmful ultraviolet radiation. These pigments absorb and reflect UV rays, preventing fading and discoloration.
  • Barn paints typically have lower UV resistance compared to exterior paints. While they provide some protection, they may require more frequent reapplication to maintain their appearance and integrity.

Resistance to Moisture

  • Exterior paints are designed to resist moisture penetration, preventing blistering, peeling, and rot. They contain hydrophobic additives that repel water and moisture, keeping the underlying surface dry.
  • Barn paints are formulated with moisture-resistant additives, such as silicone and acrylic resins, to protect against moisture damage. However, they may not be as effective as exterior paints in areas with high humidity or frequent rainfall.

Application and Coverage

Barn paint vs exterior paint

The application and coverage of barn paint and exterior paint differ based on their respective formulations and intended uses.

Barn paint is typically applied using a brush or roller, while exterior paint can be applied using a brush, roller, or sprayer. The choice of application method depends on factors such as the size of the surface, the desired finish, and the experience of the applicator.

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Surface Preparation

Proper surface preparation is crucial for ensuring good adhesion and coverage for both barn paint and exterior paint. Surfaces should be clean, dry, and free of any dirt, dust, or debris. For best results, it is recommended to sand or scrape the surface to remove any loose paint or imperfections.

Paint Thickness

The thickness of the paint film affects the coverage and durability of the paint. Barn paint is typically applied in thicker coats than exterior paint due to its higher solids content. Thicker coats provide better protection against the elements and extend the lifespan of the paint job.

Coverage Rates

The coverage rate of paint is measured in square feet per gallon. The coverage rate of barn paint and exterior paint can vary depending on the brand, color, and application method. It is important to refer to the manufacturer’s specifications for accurate coverage information.

Application Techniques and Coverage Rates for Barn Paint and Exterior Paint
Paint Type Application Method Coverage Rate (sq. ft./gal)
Barn Paint Brush or Roller 100-150
Exterior Paint Brush, Roller, or Sprayer 200-400

Cost and Availability

Barn paint vs exterior paint

Barn paint and exterior paint differ in terms of cost and availability. Understanding these factors can help you make an informed decision based on your budget and project requirements.

In general, barn paint is more economical than exterior paint. The cost per gallon of barn paint typically ranges from $20 to $40, while exterior paint can cost anywhere from $30 to $60 per gallon. However, the coverage area of barn paint is often less than that of exterior paint, meaning you may need to purchase more gallons to cover the same surface area.

Availability, Barn paint vs exterior paint

Barn paint is primarily designed for agricultural use and may not be readily available at all retail stores. It is commonly found in farm supply stores or online retailers specializing in agricultural products. Exterior paint, on the other hand, is widely available at home improvement stores, hardware stores, and even some general merchandise stores.

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Aesthetic Considerations

Barn paint and exterior paint offer a diverse array of colors and finishes, catering to various aesthetic preferences and architectural styles. Barn paint typically features a rustic, weathered look with a matte or flat finish, evoking a sense of traditional charm and authenticity.

Exterior paint, on the other hand, encompasses a broader spectrum of finishes, including glossy, semi-gloss, satin, and eggshell, allowing for a wider range of aesthetic expressions, from classic to contemporary.

Colors and Finishes

  • Barn Paint:Earthy tones, such as reds, greens, and browns, dominate barn paint’s color palette, reflecting its agrarian roots. Finishes range from matte to flat, contributing to its rustic appeal.
  • Exterior Paint:Exterior paint offers a vast selection of colors, from bold hues to subtle neutrals, catering to diverse tastes and architectural styles. Finishes vary widely, allowing for customization based on desired sheen and durability.

Architectural Styles

  • Barn Paint:Best suited for traditional architectural styles, such as farmhouses, barns, and rustic cabins, where its weathered aesthetic complements the surrounding environment.
  • Exterior Paint:Versatile for various architectural styles, including modern, contemporary, and traditional homes, as its finishes and colors can be tailored to match the desired aesthetic.


Ultimately, the best type of paint for your project will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you need a durable and long-lasting paint that can withstand the elements, then barn paint is a good option. If you’re looking for a more affordable and versatile paint that can be used on a variety of surfaces, then exterior paint is a better choice.

Popular Questions: Barn Paint Vs Exterior Paint

What is the difference between barn paint and exterior paint?

Barn paint is a type of paint that is specifically designed to be used on barns and other agricultural buildings. It is typically made with a higher concentration of pigments and binders than exterior paint, which makes it more durable and resistant to weathering.

Is barn paint more expensive than exterior paint?

Barn paint is typically more expensive than exterior paint, but it can last longer and require less maintenance.

Can I use barn paint on my house?

Yes, you can use barn paint on your house, but it is important to note that it may not be as durable as exterior paint and may require more maintenance.