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The Secret Culprit Behind Fading Paint
Tips to Extend the Beauty of Your Exterior Paint Job

When paint starts to fade, it’s easy to attribute it to the usual suspects — UV exposure, harsh environments, low-quality paint, etc. — but there’s another culprit. It’s the quiet one. And it’s often right in front of you.


Color selection.



It’s true! While it may not be widely known, color has a considerable impact on the life expectancy of paint. Let’s investigate further:


How Color Affects Longevity


Color is a powerful tool in enhancing curb appeal. However, it is critical to look beyond aesthetics and make durability a high priority when choosing exterior colors. This is why your first meeting with a client or owner provides the perfect opportunity to discuss the following:


Light or Dark? The reality is that lighter colors last longer and fade less than darker colors, as the latter absorbs more sunlight, which accelerates fading. Therefore, if longevity is the goal for a paint job, choosing a lighter shade is the best bet.


Pigments (aka colorants) can make a world of difference when it comes to color retention. When advising clients or property owners, consider discussing the role of inorganic versus organic pigments. Explain colors made from inorganic pigments — such as beiges, tans, browns, and other earthtones — are far more resistant to fading than those with organic pigments, such as blue, green, yellow, red, and other brighter/richer colors.



Additional Considerations

In addition to color, other factors that contribute to the wear and tear of exterior paint include:


Low-quality paints have fewer of the all-important ingredients — such as binders and prime pigments — that allow paint to hide better and last longer. As a result, they are more susceptible to the elements, which requires maintenance much sooner.


Applying paint at a lower-than-recommended film thickness can accelerate the aging process of the coating system, allowing more UV to penetrate through the film, causing it to degrade rapidly and change color.


The coastal environment can wreak havoc on exterior paint. Salt-laden mist blown in off the ocean creates a layer of salt on all nearby surfaces, which is known as “ocean breeze corrosion.” These salt deposits have a damaging effect not only on paint film, but also substrates such as metal, concrete, and wood.


Extreme application temperatures can be detrimental to paint. If it’s too cold outside, paints cannot properly form a film, which makes them vulnerable to premature failures such as peeling and fading. The same is true in hot weather — except that the inability to form a film is due to the dry conditions, which cause water to evaporate much faster, resulting in rapid dry times. This is especially true when paint is applied by spray.



Extending the Paint Lifecycle

Thankfully, there are ways to prolong your exterior paint job’s aesthetics and longevity.


Color Choice: Have a discussion with your client/owner and suggest they consider color schemes that offer optimal fade protection. Tips on color selection can be referenced above.



Proper Preparation: Thorough surface preparation is the cornerstone of a successful paint job. This includes using a quality primer. Excellent options for both residential and multi-family exterior projects include:


  • BEHR® Multi-Surface Stain-Blocking Primer & Sealer — A versatile acrylic that provides excellent stain-blocking, adhesion, and sealing. It’s also tintable, which makes it ideal for color changes.
  • BEHR® Metal Primer — An innovative, water-based primer for clean and sound rusty metal surfaces that effectively prevents corrosion.
  • BEHR® Bonding Primer — Designed to bond to a variety of “tough-to-paint” surfaces, providing a powerful base for topcoats, while reducing the need for sanding dense and glossy surfaces.


Paint Quality: Recommend high-quality paints for better overall long-term durability. High-quality paints are made from high-quality ingredients, so they stand up to the elements more effectively, providing a longer lasting finish. In addition, ensure the paint repels UV and is formulated for exteriors.


For multi-family and HOA communities, consider choosing quality exterior paints such as:


  • BEHR PRO® e600 Exterior Paint — Providing superior hide and uniformity, this professional-quality, 100%-acrylic exterior paint offers high-level dirt pick-up resistance and can be applied in temperatures as low as 35°F.
  • BEHR PREMIUM PLUS® Exterior Paint — Durable and long-lasting, this low-VOC paint and primer resists fading and staining, as well as mold and mildew. It is also tintable to a wide array of colors.
  • BEHR ULTRA® Exterior Paint — A stain-blocking paint and primer that delivers excellent durability and hide in fewer coats. It also provides rain resistance as quickly as 60 minutes after application.
  • BEHR MARQUEE® Exterior Paint — With expanded durability and adhesion, this 100%-acrylic paint and primer includes antimicrobial properties that protect against mold and mildew. Tintable to a full range of colors, it can be applied in temperatures down to 35°F.


For residential projects:


  • Consider BEHR premium paints such as BEHR PREMIUM PLUS, BEHR ULTRA, BEHR MARQUEE (described above).
  • Be sure to take a look at BEHR DYNASTY® Exterior Paint — A game-changing, fade-resistant, and long-lasting paint that boasts UV and early rain-resistance. BEHR DYNASTY takes color longevity to a new level with its 10-year color fade protection*.


Scheduled Maintenance: Establish a consistent inspection and service plan. It should include exterior surface cleaning, as well as spotting and tackling common paint problems, such as peeling and mildew growth, before they become big issues. In addition, routine upkeep is time- and cost-effective, as it eliminates the need to start from scratch every time.



In the world of paint, knowledge is power. By guiding your clients or property owners in making good color choices, you can not only extend the longevity of their exterior paint job, but also expand your reputation as a dedicated and valued painting professional.



 *Valid only when tinted to colors from the BEHR DYNASTY® specially curated Exterior Color Fade Protection Palette. Based on predictive lab testing with a color shift less than Delta E of 5 as measured by CieLAB. A primer coat may be needed. Two coats of BEHR DYNASTY Exterior Paint are recommended for optimal durability. Individual results may vary. See back label instructions for details. Behr Paint Company can provide project-specific warranties. Ask your BEHR Pro Rep for details. The Lifetime Limited Warranty does not apply to or cover BEHR DYNASTY 10-Year Color Fade Protection or professional projects.


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