Can You Use Exterior Paint Inside – Here is Why You Shouldn’t

interior of the house

I finished painting the outer walls of my house, and now it was time to begin redoing the interior paint. Even though I had ordered a stock of interior paint, I did not want the leftover paint to go to waste. I decided to utilize that before I opened the new paint cans. I encountered a severe allergic reaction.

This was when I realized that you could not use exterior paint inside due to its harmful volatile compounds. These additives in the paint make it resilient to the outdoor environment and protect it from chipping off too quickly. The chemical compounds present in exterior paints release fumes that harm the human body. Exposure to such chemicals can lead to allergies and various respiratory disorders. 

I don’t want any enthusiastic painters to undergo what I experienced. Thus, you should know why you can not use exterior paint inside and what will happen if you accidentally use exterior paint inside.

What happens if you use exterior paint inside?

Just as using interior paint outside has its drawbacks, using exterior paint inside comes with disadvantages too. Therefore, exterior paints are used strictly on exterior surfaces only. While they are long-lasting and using them indoors might be tempting, the health hazards they pose might make you reconsider. Exterior paints contain additives such as fungicides, mildewcides, and UV blockers, making them unfit to be used inside the house. 

The VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) used in exterior paints are also considerably higher than in interior paints. The fumes from these chemicals are dangerous and can cause serious health issues.

When exterior paint is used outside, the volatile compounds evaporate quickly and do not cause any harm. The inside of the house does not provide adequate ventilation for this kind of paint, and if these fumes are inhaled, they can irritate the skin and respiratory system and trigger allergies.

Best Exterior Paints


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Behr is one of the most affordable yet premium-quality paint brands. They manufacture and sell interior and exterior paints following the standard VOC limitations.

Most of their exterior paints have primer mixed in paint color, making it easier for you to paint the exterior of your house yourself. The consistency of the paint is thick enough to provide full coverage in a single coat.

Using Behr exterior paint inside is not a great idea; thus, we recommend you stick to using this paint only for exterior surfaces.


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Valspar is known to manufacture excellent quality masonry paints. It has an excellent elastic formula to provide coverage on the roughest surfaces.

Valspar promises that the paints are UV resistant and do not bleach out even under harsh sun rays for years. The paint also contains active ingredients preventing mold and algae build-up.

Additionally, the brand provides a 15-year warranty for peeling, cracking, and flaking.

Many people wonder; can you use Valspar masonry paint indoors? The simple answer is no; you cannot use Valspar exterior paint indoors as it is not specialized to give the interior the finish it requires. It instead works best on coarse surfaces generally found outdoors.

Rust-Oleum Zinsser Perma-White

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Guaranteeing a tough and durable, chip-free, and bleach-free coating for up to 15 years, Perma-White exterior paint is an excellent choice to revamp the exterior of your house. The brand manufactures paints in 1500+ color variants, so you have a never-ending list of shades to choose from.

The paints are weatherproof, quick drying, and have antifungal properties to prevent paint degradation. The best part is that they are self-priming, cutting down on cost and painting time.

However, these exterior paints must be used on the exterior walls only. As per the company, inhaling fumes can injure the health and cause multiple respiratory illnesses.

Prestige Paint and Primer in One

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If you haven’t heard of Prestige paints, you are missing out on premium quality exterior paints available in the market. Gaining immense popularity over the past few years, prestige has proven to be one of the most environment-friendly paints manufactured in America.

They have a vast variety of exterior paints most of them coming with a primer in paint bucket making it easier for nonprofessionals to paint their house.

Unlike other paint companies, they offer many shades of exterior paint so that you can choose one depending on your taste. Flat paints, Satin paints, and semi-gloss paints are available as exterior paints, each of which is weather and bleach resistant for up to 15 years.

Since their interior paints are sold separately, prestige does not recommend their exterior paints be used inside the house. Despite having low VOCs, they can still cause respiratory tract illnesses.

Diamond Brite – Latex Gloss Enamel

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I have seen multiple people recommending Diamond Brite exterior paints to those who wish to paint their house themselves.

The brand manufactures a variety of oil-based, latex-based, and special-purpose paints and gives you a long list to choose from. Their customer support will also assist you with the paint type and color selection.

Even though they may cost you slightly higher than other kinds of paints, their ease of application and longevity covers the cost. Diamond Brite manufactures paints that can be used indoors and outdoors, so you can use most of their paints anywhere you wish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use exterior paint inside a kitchen?

Exterior paints are strictly not to be used in confined places due to the toxic fumes that is released from them. Therefore, you cannot use it to paint kitchen walls. It will affect your health and may cause respiratory problems especially when the environment is all heated up. 

Can I use exterior paint on the inside of my front door?

Exterior paints have toxic chemicals that are dangerous to health. In many states, exterior paints have now been illegalized for indoor use. This eliminates any possibility that you may consider using leftover exterior paints for the interior. 

However, the front door is considered an exterior surface widely exposed to environmental and climate factors daily; you can use exterior paint inside your front door.

Can I use exterior paint inside my bathroom?

It is not advisable to use exterior paints in bathroom, infact it is strictly discouraged.

Bathrooms are high-humidity areas, and therefore you might consider applying a coat of exterior paint for extra protection. However, its chemical formula and the VOC components make it unfit for using on bathroom walls.

Can you use exterior paint inside a garage?

Even though it is not recommended, exterior paint can be used on garage walls only if they are adequately ventilated and detached from the house. 

Apart from this, exterior paint is not suited for garages as they are challenging to clean. Exterior paints may be weather resistant but not to stains and scratches. 


Exterior paints are specialized to be used on outdoor surfaces. Unlike interior paints, they can withstand direct sunlight and changing weather conditions. Nonetheless you can also know if you can use interior paint outside in this article from our website. 

Outdoor paints are specifically designed to have additional chemicals that give them high durability and longevity. However, these chemicals produce toxic fumes which are harmful to health and that’s why can’t you use exterior paint inside.

I hope you found this article helpful and if you want to know more, please comment below.

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