Durable Exterior Painting Options for Homes in Michigan

Imperial Painting

Learn more about Imperial Painting’s recommended exterior painting products, the best colors to use, and why going with a professional is worth it.

An after image of a two-story home that's just been painted white.

Exterior painting isn’t just about aesthetic appeal—it’s about protecting your home from Michigan’s diverse and harsh weather.

A well-executed exterior paint job will not only elevate curb appeal but also provide elemental protection, help maintain the structural integrity of your home, and ensure the longevity of your siding and trim.

But what makes an exterior paint job “good?” It’s more than just slapping a coat of paint over siding—it’s about choosing the best colors, knowing how to select the best paints, and understanding which techniques will ensure longer-lasting results.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about exterior painting, starting with which colors are better suited for exterior projects.

The Best Colors for Exterior Projects

a bunch of cans of different colored paints

When selecting colors, you need to choose hues that meet your aesthetic preferences and are practical in terms of longevity, durability, and maintenance.

Let’s break it down further:

  • Fade Resistance: Dark colors, while bold and striking, can fade more quickly when exposed to direct sunlight. If you prefer darker colors, look for high-quality paints specifically formulated for UV resistance. Blues and greens are generally more fade-resistant than reds and yellows.
  • Clean Appearance: Lighter colors tend to maintain a cleaner look over time, as they show less dirt and wear. However, very light colors might show more dirt in areas with high dust or pollen. Medium shades can be a good compromise, offering both longevity and a cleaner appearance.
  • Heat Reflection: Lighter colors are also beneficial in reflecting heat, which can be particularly advantageous in sunny areas, helping to keep your home cooler during the warmer months.
  • General Longevity: Neutral and lighter colors, such as beiges, grays, and off-whites, tend to last longer. These colors are less prone to fading under UV rays compared to darker shades. They also do a better job of hiding dust and minor imperfections over time.

For more guidance, check out this table below:

ColorFade ResistanceHeat Reflecting CapabilitiesGeneral LongevityAbility to Maintain Clean Appearance
RedLow to ModerateLowModerateModerate
YellowModerateModerateModerateLow to Moderate
PurpleModerate to HighLowHighModerate
BlackLowVery LowModerateLow
Please note that characteristics may vary based on the shade of the color used.

Characteristics of Good Exterior Paints

Not every type of paint is ideal for exterior use. In addition to looking for paints that are labeled as weather-resistant or for exterior use, there are a few characteristics to look out for, including:

  • Quality Pigments: Pigments, like titanium oxide, are crucial for good coverage. A high percentage of solids content in the paint also indicates a denser, more durable coating.
  • Formulation: Weatherproof paints often come in acrylic or silicone-based formulas, which provide excellent protection against wind, sun, water, and other elements that can cause fading, cracking, peeling, or corrosion. Acrylic-latex paints are particularly favored for their ability to expand and contract with the siding, preventing cracking and blistering.
  • Binders: The binder, which holds pigments and other solids, is also a crucial factor impacting weather resistance. All-acrylic binders are inherently more weather-resistant than vinyl or vinyl-acrylic because they form a more durable film on the exterior surface.
  • Elongation Properties: Exterior paint must have the ability to stretch and flex without breaking because exterior surfaces may expand or contract with temperature fluctuations. Look for materials with high elongation properties.
  • Washability: Even if you choose a color that can maintain a cleaner appearance for a longer time, intermittent washing may still be needed to improve the appearance of your exterior. Because of this, you must choose paints that can withstand numerous cleanups without losing gloss or color richness.
  • Fade Resistance & Color Retention: Of course, if you want ever-lasting curb appeal, you want to ensure the colors you choose remain vibrant for years. Choosing fade-resistant, or UV-resistant paints, is key to ensuring this longevity.

Our Recommended Exterior Painting Brands & Products

At Imperial Painting, we personally recommend Sherwin-Williams products because we’ve had good experiences with them. Our favorite exterior products by Sherwin-Williams include Latitude™, Duration®, and Emerald®. Each product line is available in many colors, bases, and finishes, including a specially formulated range of darker VinylSafe® colors that help prevent warping and buckling when applied to vinyl siding.


A can of Latitude exterior paint, an acrylic-latex paint offered by Sherwin-Williams.
Image from Sherwin-Williams’ website

We typically use Latitude® in the early spring or late fall when temperatures are cooler. This acrylic-latex paint is specifically formulated to work in temperatures as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit and includes Sherwin-Williams’ ClimateFlex™ Technology to provide best-in-class protection against moisture and dirt buildup. It can even be applied just before a rainstorm, as it develops exceptional dew and moisture resistance in as little as an hour after application.


A can of Duration exterior paint, an acrylic-latex paint offered by Sherwin-Williams
Image from Sherwin-Williams’ website

Before Sherwin-Williams introduced Emerald®, there was Duration®. While it shares a similar formulation with Emerald, we consider it to be the second-best option. Aptly named, Duration® is an acrylic-latex paint featuring PermaLast® technology that ensures better durability and color retention over time.

It’s also incredibly thick, making painting jobs less time-consuming, and provides better protection from cracking, peeling, or blistering during temperature fluctuations. Duration® is also self-priming, mildew- and corrosion-resistant, and can be used on a wide range of exterior surfaces, from wood and stucco to aluminum and galvanized metal.


A can of Emerald paint, an exterior acrylic-latex paint option offered by Sherwin-Williams
Image from Sherwin-Williams’ website

In terms of good, better, and best, Emerald® takes the cake as the best exterior paint we’ve ever used. This self-priming acrylic-latex paint contains zero VOCs, which can be dangerous to the environment, and is exceptionally resistant to chalking, fading, dirt buildup, mold, mildew, blistering, and peeling.

Should You Opt for DIY or a Professional Job?

While DIY painting may seem cost-effective, it’s easy to make expensive mistakes—remember what we said earlier—exterior painting isn’t just about slapping a coat of paint over your siding.

Some of the most common mistakes we’ve seen happen with DIY jobs include:

  • Improper Surface Preparation: Cleaning, repairing, and priming surfaces before painting is essential for ensuring a long-lasting job. Many DIYers try to skip or rush these steps to save time, but all it does is result in a poorer paint job.
  • Improper Painting Techniques: Painting isn’t easy, especially when dealing with complex architectural features. Homeowners who don’t have a lot of painting experience will often find aesthetic flaws in the final job, like streaks, drips, and inconsistent layers. These flaws are usually caused by improper technique, like failing to remove excess paint from the brush, using shorter strokes, pressing too hard on a brush or roller, or making unsteady strokes.
  • Painting at the Wrong Time: Even if you choose high-quality paint, you still need to pay attention to the instructions. Applying during inclement weather or extremely humid or cold days can cause adhesion issues.

Skip the hassle and work with a professional—it’s the best way to ensure high-quality, long-lasting results and your own safety. Many people don’t realize this, but exterior painting often involves working at heights and handling hazardous materials. Professionals have the right tools and safety gear to handle these risks.

Schedule Exterior Painting Services Today

Save time and schedule exterior painting services with Imperial Painting today. We have over 25 years of experience handling exterior painting projects in Shelby Township, from brick painting to vinyl and aluminum siding painting, and are fully licensed and insured. We always use high-quality, lint-free rollers and durable paints and thoroughly prepare surfaces before painting. We also provide flexible financing options and transparent quotes, so you know exactly what you’re paying for.

Please visit our website to learn more about our painting process and how to prepare for an exterior painting job, or contact us today to request a quote.

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Imperial Painting Inc.

13900 Grandeur Ave, Shelby Township, MI 48315

Macomb: (586) 412-9040

Oakland: (248) 275-5657

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