Interior paint has low or no VOCs. VOCs are volatile organic compounds – solvents that help the paint go from the can to the wall.
As VOCs dry, they release gas into the air. Since interior paint has such low VOCs, they generally aren’t harmful.
Aside from the low chemicals, interior paint has more indoor durability than exterior paint. It stands up to furniture and everyday wear much better than exterior options.
Exterior paint has much higher VOCs. This is why you’ll sometimes see house painters wearing respirator masks – especially if they’re using a paint sprayer.
The higher VOCs in exterior paint don’t generally pose a health risk outdoors. However, depending on the paint, it may release VOCs long after it’s dry, which is a strong reason not to use it in your home.
Exterior paint also has different additives than interior paint. For example, it has mildewcides, fungicides, UV blockers, and more resin.
The result is paint that will withstand harsh weather conditions, resist mildew, and flex in extreme temperatures. But because of the makeup, when applied to interiors, the chemical fumes can cause health problems like asthma, sinusitis, and more.
Can You Use Exterior Paint in the Bathroom?
It makes sense that exterior paint would work in the bathroom. After all, it’s weather-resistant and can withstand rain and extreme temperature fluctuations.
But, as logical as it may seem, you shouldn’t use exterior paint in your bathroom.
The chemical composition of exterior paint makes it unsuitable to use anywhere in your home – especially if you have family members who suffer from respiratory issues or weak immune systems.
The better solution for a bathroom is to use moisture-resistant drywall and interior latex paint in a satin or semigloss finish.
Can You Use Exterior Paint in the Garage?
Interior latex paint is best suited for a garage. It will be more scuff and stain resistant and won’t emit harmful chemicals into the air.
Even if your garage is well-ventilated, it’s still better to go with interior paint.
While you may want to use exterior paint indoors, you shouldn’t. The formulation for exterior paint is quite different from interior paint.
Not only does it emit toxic fumes, but it doesn’t stand up to scuffs as well.
If you’re working on interior walls, always use interior paint.