March 4, 2021

How Long Should Exterior and Interior Paint Last

How Long Should Exterior and Interior Paint Last

There is a multitude of reasons why getting a new paint job can freshen up a home or building. But the question many ask right after the paint is applied is “how long does a paint job last?”. The answer depends on quite some different factors, including whether or not you’ve just had your home painted or whether you have a commercial property that was just painted.

In this article, we’ll go through the factors that influence paint lifespan so that you can learn how to get the most out of your investment in quality paint and the process of getting an exterior or interior paint job. There are different answers to the questions of “how long does interior paint last” versus “what is the exterior paint life expectancy,” and we’ll get into all of the details below.

At Oahu Pro Painters, we believe it’s important for any homeowners, business owners, or building owners to be as informed as possible when it comes to painting life expectancy, so let’s dig into the details now!

How Long Should House Paint Last?

If you’re wondering, “how long does paint last?”, you should also be thinking about whether the paintwork is interior or exterior. Interior paint, in general, will last for about 5 to 10 years depending on humidity and sun exposure. Exterior paint life expectancy is a little different as it is much more affected by climate conditions, but it should last about 5 to 7 years. Even a high-quality paint job will eventually need refreshing, but there are different considerations relating to painting lifespan indoors and outdoors. Let’s take a look at some of them.

How Long Does Interior Paint Last?

First, let’s focus on your interior paint job and the question “how long does wall paint last?”. As mentioned above, interior paint jobs last quite a while (up to about 10 years) depending on various factors. But, most homeowners and building owners decide to switch up their paint well before the signs of peeling or fading show up, since it’s one of the easiest ways to freshen up a room and make it look almost entirely new. Let’s take a look at the most important factors when it comes to the longevity of your interior and ways to make your paint job last longer.

Paint Quality and Type

how long does wall paint last

Skimping on the price of your interior paint is not going to do you any favors, because you’re simply going to end up paying for it in the end anyway. Cheaper paints are more likely to peel away and fade more quickly, so finding a higher-quality paint that fits your budget is essential.

Here are some ways to determine whether or not paint is of high quality to ensure the highest quality house painting:

  • Price: A decent rule of thumb when it comes to finding high-quality interior paint is a price point of about $30 or more per gallon. 
  • Splatter: If the paint doesn’t splatter as much when you’re rolling it on, you know you have a higher quality paint. The lesser the splatter, the better the paint.
  • Abrasion Resistance: Look for paint with high abrasion resistance. This means the paint is more durable and can handle a little more wear and tear.
  • The Manufacturer’s Range: Probably the easiest way to tell if a paint is of high quality is simply by looking at the specific range of that particular manufacturer. Each manufacturer typically has several ranges, including lower-budget ones and premium ones. Opt for the highest level within the range that you can afford. 

You also need to examine the different types of paints to see which is right for your interior, including the following:

Oil Based Paints

Oil-based paints are probably the most durable, but many have been taken off the market due to their higher levels of volatile organic compounds that give off strong odors and may cause health risks. The drying time for an oil-based paint is 6-8 hours, and it’s far more difficult to clean than the alternatives. 

Water Based Paints

Water-based paints are more environmentally friendly and better for your overall health than oil-based paints, as they contain much lower levels of volatile organic compounds. Water-based paints are less expensive as well but are still quite sturdy.

Latex Based Paints

If you live in an especially humid or rainy area, latex-based paints can be a good option because of their especially quick drying time. The only downside is that these paints are far less durable than the other interior paint options.


how long does interior paint last

Color has a huge impact on your paintwork’s durability in an indoor environment, too. Lighter colors will more easily show marks, scuffs, and dings in your paintwork. And while a dark color might feel like the obvious alternative to avoid more frequent repainting, you’ll then face the problem of colors fading more quickly. That’s particularly true in places like Hawaii where the sun shines and fills any room with even a small window.

Right Primer

You should never skip the priming stage! A good-quality primer will prepare the wall for paint and help it stick. Without primer, your first layer of paint may simply be absorbed by the plater or wood, and the second layer of paint will not look as bold as it should.

If you’re using acrylic latex paint, make sure you choose either an oil-based or water-based primer before you start painting. And if you’re using oil-based paint, you’ll need to use an oil-based primer as well.

With a solid foundation of primer, your paint will be well prepared to last for years without peeling or flaking.

Surface Condition

Primer isn’t the only variable when it comes to surface conditions. Whether you’re painting a wall or wooden features in a building, the surface you’re painting will need to be properly cleaned and prepared before applying paint. Failure to do this could result in trapping moisture and dirt beneath the paint, leading to a higher likelihood of chipping and peeling.

Take the tape to sand, scrape, clean, and then prime the surface before painting, and you’ll maximize the paint lifespan.

Room Conditions

Indoor paintwork is more susceptible to direct damage from scuffing, particularly if you have children or young people in your home. If you own a business, the sheer amount of foot traffic that can come through your commercial building means that your paintwork is more likely to be scuffed or marked fairly frequently.

Repeated abrasions and knocks can mean that your paintwork will last significantly less time than you might originally expect for an interior paint job.

Wash and Dust The Walls on a Regular Basis

One way you can actively improve the lifespan of your interior paint is to keep ahead of dirt and grime buildup, especially in high-traffic areas. Use a microfiber cloth or even a vacuum to remove dust build-up from the walls, and in areas with dirt and grease (like the kitchen), wash your walls with a natural sponge and non-abrasive soap and water solution.

How Long Should Exterior Paint Job Last?

Painted house exterior.

Exterior paintwork can also last between five and ten years (although more likely seven) and it depends on several factors as well. This includes the quality of work, the quality of paint, and weather conditions. Let’s look at some of the specific factors that influence exterior paint life expectancy.


Exterior paint is specifically designed to be durable and handle the conditions of the outdoors, it’s inevitably going to fade over time. Let’s break down some of the overall environmental conditions and other factors that will impact your exterior paint lifetime over time.

Ultraviolet Radiation

The sun’s rays have an enormous impact on the life of your paint job. This UV radiation causes paint to fade and crack, and in areas with a lot of harsh sunlight, the sun can significantly shorten your exterior paint lifespan.

Right Paint

Choosing the right paint is important for the type of environment your exterior is exposed to. Latex-based paints over an oil primer might be a good option because they don’t harden with time, which can prevent blisters. These paints are also more environmentally-friendly, which is important if you’re near a lot of plant life. However, be prepared to replace your paint often, as this paint can fade more quickly. If your highest priority is repelling water and wear, oil-based paints should still be an option for you.

Changes in Weather and Temperature

Rapid weather fluctuations can also wreak havoc on a paint job. Very high temperatures followed by very cold temperatures can make a huge impact on the overall lifespan of your paint.

Using the Right Primers

Making sure you select the correct type of primer for the type of paint you’re using for the exterior is crucial. For example, if you’re going to use latex paint, you can select either oil-based or water primers. But if you’re going to paint with oil-based paint, you need to select an oil-based primer.

Three Coat System

When it comes to the question “how long does paint keep?”, the number of coats also plays a major role in paint lifespan. Since you’re also using paint as a shield to protect your home from the elements, it’s best to utilize the three-coat system. This means the first coat should be a primer, the second coat will be your paint, and then the third coat will be an additional layer of paint after the second coat dries. This will help to retain color and improve the longevity of your paintwork.

Painting Process Conditions

Painting Process Conditions

The timing of when you complete your paint job is also another critical factor that can affect your exterior paint lifespan, for a variety of reasons. Let’s examine each of them below:

High Temperatures and Direct Sunlight

Avoid very high temperatures or excessive direct sunlight during an exterior paint job. If your paint dries too quickly, the brush strokes will be visible and your surface will look uneven. Always start by painting in the opposite direction from where the sun is facing and choose a milder day to complete your paint job.

Chance of Rain

Always check the weather forecast before starting exterior paintwork. You don’t want the surface of your building or home to be damp and wet due to rain, or else your paint will not adhere properly. Definitely aim for a 24-hour window with no rain, even after you complete the work. Even though your paint may take only about 6 hours to dry, you want to allow it to cure for at least 24 hours.

Level of Humidity

Humidity factors are almost as important as rain. Even though it may not have rained, very high humidity will have the same negative effect on your exterior paint job. So be sure to check the weather for humidity levels even if it doesn’t look like rain is coming.

Keep a Clean Surface

Just like keeping your interior painted surfaces clean, it’s important to do so on the exterior as well. Rainwater can certainly help, but it won’t do the job on its own. You’re going to need to keep your exterior surfaces clean to make sure you get the most out of your exterior paint job.

Quality of Your Previous Paint Job

It doesn’t matter how good your new paint job is if the previous paint job was low quality. If your building or home has a shoddy paint job, make sure you sand, scrub, and otherwise remove and prepare your surface for an optimal exterior paint lifespan.

Choose a Right Color

Darker colors may be trendy, but lighter shades have a lot more longevity to them due to the fact that they won’t show fading as much. In fact, estimates are that choosing a lighter color will add up to five years to your exterior paint lifetime.


Ready for a paint job that leaves your home or business looking great for years?

Oahu Pro Painters utilizes the talent of local painting professionals in your part of Hawaii. With years of experience, color consultants and specialists, and access to all the right tools and great quality paint, we always do a fantastic job.

For a free quote or consultation, call your local Oahu Pro Painters team today at 808-468-5604!

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

Sign Up For A Free Estimate Online Today, Or Call Us At 808-468-5604

How Long Should Exterior and Interior Paint Last
Written By:
Karl Van Zadnt

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