The following eco-friendly paints are made for the exterior of the home. They are more durable than interior paints.
Exterior paints are always more potent in odor than interior paints – these are the top no-VOC and low-VOC options.
Exterior paints are used on wood, cement and vinyl siding, and concrete porches and decks.
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1. ECOS Paints
ECOS Paints makes one of the only 0-VOC exterior paints. I’ve tested out of very of their options. ECOS has a general exterior paint which was very low odor.
All exterior paints are usually more potent in their odors compared to interior paints, and these ones definitely are when wet. But they offgas to 0-VOC rather quickly.
Their Low Luster Paint, another exterior paint of theirs, is lower odor than their Gloss Interior Paint. It’s common for a glossy paint to be higher in odor (with ECOS I estimate it’s double the level of odor).
2. AFM Safecoat
AFM Safecoat exterior paint is a high-quality paint and multiple sources claim this is as durable over time as a conventional brand when used to paint siding. This paint is low-VOC at 17 g/l.
They also make an exterior paint for concrete patios.
3. Green Planet Paints
Green Planet Paints lists the polymers in their AgriPaint as bio acrylic (based on waste soy ester oil and waste tree saps) and an acrylic polymer made from post-cosumer recycled acrylic. They claim it has 40% biobased content.
Odor-wise and VOC-wise AgriPaint doesn’t seem any different than a regular zero-VOC paint. The reasons to go with this brands would be to limit petrochemicals or to add more recycled materials. If your main motivation is the environmental impact of paint this is certainly an option to consider.
4. Sherwin Williams
In terms of conventional brands, Sherwin Williams Duration Exterior is not as low-VOC as the above brands but most people find it does offgas quickly. It’s 20 g/l VOC.
Their Emerald Exterior is 0 VOC.
5. Benjamin Moore
As of fall, 2023, none of the Ben Moore exterior paints are 0-VOC.
6. Romabio Masonry Paint
Romabio masonry paint is a breathable paint for exterior masonry like brick. It’s made with a silicate binder which chemically binds to masonry while keeping the surface permeable.
There is no specialty paint for repainting wood decks/porches. If it’s new wood, a wood sealer is best. If you really wanted the painted look you can use AFM paints with their EXT sealer on top.
Corinne Segura is a Building Biologist Practitioner with 8 years of experience helping others create healthy homes.