The Best Exterior Paint for Sun Exposure

Eddie Shekari
August 8, 2023
Your home’s exterior is not just a facade; it’s a testament to your style and a shield against the elements. And when it comes to battling one of the most formidable opponents—the sun—choosing the right armor is crucial. The sun’s unrelenting rays can fade colors, weaken surfaces, and dull even the most vibrant finishes. The right exterior house paint can mean the difference between a vibrant, long-lasting finish and a faded, weathered appearance. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the key factors to consider when selecting the best exterior paint for sun exposure.

Understanding the Sun’s Impact on Paint

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can weaken exterior paint over time. Prolonged sun exposure causes colors to fade, surfaces to degrade, and can cause the overall appearance of your home to lose its luster. This is due to a process called photodegradation, which is when UV rays break down the chemical bonds in paint pigments. Photodegradation fades paint and compromises the paint’s protective properties, leaving underlying surfaces vulnerable to moisture, cracking, and other weather-induced wear and tear. 

Essential Qualities of Exterior Paint for Sun-Exposed Areas

UV Resistance

Opt for exterior paints that boast high levels of UV resistance. These paints are formulated with special additives that mitigate the impact of UV rays, slowing down the photodegradation process and preserving the color of the paint.

Heat Reflection

The sun’s rays also provide heat, which can cause the exterior surfaces to expand and contract, leading to cracks and peeling paint. Paints designed for sun exposure often have heat-reflective properties that help to minimize temperature-induced stress on the paint and the substrate.

Durability and Longevity

Look for high-quality paints with superior durability and longevity. A high-quality exterior paint should be able to withstand the rigors of sun exposure, rain, wind, and other environmental factors without deteriorating quickly.

Mold and Mildew Resistance

While not directly related to sun exposure, areas with ample sunlight often experience humidity and moisture—ideal conditions for mold and mildew growth. A good exterior paint should offer resistance to these issues.

Ease of Maintenance

Sun-exposed areas tend to accumulate more dust, dirt, and debris. Choosing a paint with easy-to-clean properties or dirt resistance can make your life easier and help maintain the paint’s vibrancy.

light paint being applied on a wall

Best Types of Paints for Sun Exposure 

Acrylic Paints

Acrylic paints are known for their excellent UV resistance and durability. They form a protective barrier against the sun’s rays, making them a popular choice for sunny regions. Additionally, acrylic paints are known for their flexibility, which helps them endure the expansion and contraction caused by temperature fluctuations.

Silicone-Based Paints

Silicone-based paints are gaining popularity due to their exceptional UV and water resistance. They create a breathable yet water-resistant barrier that can withstand prolonged sun exposure without compromising the paint’s integrity.

Elastomeric Paints

Elastomeric paints are specially formulated to stretch and contract with the substrate, making them ideal for areas that experience significant temperature variations. They offer impressive UV protection and are known for their longevity.

Mineral-Based Paints

These paints, often made with natural minerals and pigments, provide excellent UV resistance and can create a breathable surface that allows moisture to escape, reducing the risk of peeling and cracking.

Hybrid Paints

Hybrid paints combine the best qualities of different paint types, often incorporating UV-resistant properties along with enhanced durability and flexibility. They can be an excellent choice for areas with intense sun exposure.

Oil-Based Paints

Oil-based exterior paints offer protection against sun exposure due to their inherent durability and resistance. Their strong adhesion and flexibility ensure that they can withstand the expansion and contraction caused by temperature fluctuations, which is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the paint layer.

person analyzing paint swatches for their home's exterior

Best Paint Colors for Sun Exposure

When choosing a color to paint your home’s exterior, it’s essential to consider the potential effects of sunlight on pigments. Some colors are more resistant to fading and degradation by UV rays than others. Some examples of the best exterior paint colors include: 

Light Colors

Light colors—such as whites, creams, pastels, and light grays—tend to reflect sunlight rather than absorb it. This can help mitigate the heat buildup on surfaces and prevent the color from fading faster when compared to darker colors.

Cool Colors

Cool colors like blues and greens are often more resistant to fading than warm colors. Their pigments are better able to withstand the degrading effects of UV radiation.

Earth Tones

Natural, earthy tones like browns and beiges can also be good choices for exterior walls in sun-exposed areas. These colors blend well with outdoor surroundings and can maintain their appearance for an extended amount of time.

Fade-Resistant Formulations

Some paint manufacturers offer fade-resistant or UV-resistant exterior paints across a wide range of colors. These paints are engineered to withstand the sun’s impact and can be a good choice if you have a specific color in mind.

Tips for Application and Maintenance

Surface Preparation

Properly prepare the surface before painting. Clean, dry, and smooth surfaces ensure better paint adhesion and longevity.


Consider using a high-quality primer that is formulated for sun-exposed areas. Primers create a strong bond between the paint and the substrate, enhancing the paint’s overall performance.

Number of Coats

Apply the recommended number of coats as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Multiple thin coats with ample drying time between each coat are often more effective than one thick coat in achieving a lasting finish.

Regular Inspections

Periodically inspect your painted surfaces for signs of wear and fading. Early intervention, such as touch-ups or repainting, can prevent extensive damage.


Regularly clean your painted surfaces to remove dust, dirt, and pollutants. Gently washing the exterior can help maintain the paint’s vibrancy and extend its lifespan.

Choosing the Best Paint With the Pros

Whether you opt for UV-resistant acrylic paint or a steadfast elastomeric paint, remember that your choice is not just about color; it’s about providing your home with the paint that will give it beauty and longevity. We hope that with this guide, you can use this knowledge to help elevate your home’s curb appeal for a long time. 

Choosing the best exterior paint for sun exposure can be easier said than done, though, so if you’re in the Houston area and need help with your next painting project, you can contact The Pros. Pro Painters offers expertise, professionalism, and attention to detail when it comes to painting your home. Call The Pros at (832) 838-4984 or visit our website today.

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Eddie Shekari

Eddie founded Pro Painters in 1995 to meet the growing need for high-quality residential and commercial painting needs in Houston. In nearly 20 years, Pro Painters has exponentially grown our client base, serving residents across the greater Houston area. Our core principles have helped us achieve the highest standard of workmanship and customer satisfaction. Our years of experience have allowed us to become an extension to our customers as the all-in-one solution for home makeovers.