Most paint companies have the option to buy satin or gloss exterior water-based paint.

Very rarely do I find matte exterior paint. There's lots of interior matte paint, but exterior matte paint is much more rare.

When I ask companies or people about this, the argument is that matte paint gets dirty easier and is harder to clean than satin and gloss paint.

But I find this kind of a weird argument, I see lots of old houses with old paint that that has no shine and is completely matte. Sure, that paint was probably old oil based paint that lost its initial shine, but I prefer the look of matte paint.

I read somewhere that matte paint contains more pigment and is costlier to make, could that be one of the reasons? That it is a cost-cutting measure by manufacturers to not offer matte exterior paint?

Is it because matte paint doesn't hold up as well outside as glossy paint?

Or is it really because no one wants exterior matte paint anymore because it's harder to clean?

Thank you.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to StackExchange. I've covered the title query a couple of times previous and it is that matte paint weathers less well than a glossier paint, as well as more easily getting dingy. "I read somewhere that matte paint contains more pigment and is costlier to make" No that's false. Matte paint can be as pigmented as they choose to make it (down to whatever minimum they think they can get away with LOL). Matte paint can be more pigmented than an 'equivalent' gloss paint, but it isn't to say it will always be so. I've used plenty of matt paints that had dreadful coverage!
    – Graphus
    Aug 7, 2021 at 9:57

4 Answers 4


Yes, I think it's mostly a demand issue. Matte exterior wood paint does exist:


(If you look at the Technical Data it shows a "Matt" finish)

But this producer as far as I'm aware mainly sells to industry. Having worked in the wood window and door industry I think we only got asked for a matte finish a couple of times in 10+ years, and we shipped 1-2 houses worth of windows/doors per day (probably 3000+ orders in that time). The company's representative also said that they don't have much demand for matte.

One thing to bear in mind is that it's not only the finish that affects paint durability - the colour does too. The darker the paint, the more/faster it will degrade in sunlight. White will last the longest, and lighter off-whites or very light shades of green, grey, blue etc. will last almost as long. Of course shelter from the elements, particularly the sun will also extend the life of the paint finish.

Our standard finish was a "satin" with a 60% sheen level - so, far from a full gloss. I'm unsure of how often you have to recoat full-gloss, but the satin paints we used (top-quality paint from Teknos), if white, would last up to 7 years before needing a sand and recoat. And I know that wasn't just marketing because I would often go out to buildings which had had our products fitted 5, 6, 7 or more years ago and see the condition of the paintwork. Black paint would last more like 2 years before a recoat, if in direct sunlight, so we would generally advise our customers not to have black / very dark colours for this reason.

As far as cleaning, my personal opinion is that the satin paints are a happy medium. Both true matte and full gloss finishes show up greasy marks which can be difficult to remove, and while satin surfaces hold more dust than gloss, they don't have the "sticky" surface that gloss paint does and therefore it's relatively easy to wash off with water and/or some mild (dish) detergent.


I think there is very little demand , most want semi-gloss. Matte would add nothing to durability. The way it was done that I know of, is to add diatomaceous earth . Years ago , I made some semi gloss by adding diatomaceous earth to gloss (exact color match). Surface appearance and cleanliness is a function of "chalking" . Chalking is more an affect of the resin. Acrylics have strong resistance to UV so do not chalk much; so they tend to be dirtier. When paint chalks, the chalk washes off in rain and takes dirt with it. We painted a couple steel refinery storage tanks with urethane , they were gloss and looked great. But the urethane did not chalk and held dirt, so a couple years in a refinery and they looked so bad ( dirty) the manager had them repainted although the paint itself was good. And, in general, it is more expensive to make gloss than matte paints.


I don't know for a fact, but my experience is that matte finish doesn't hold up well to the elements, it looks dirty/damaged all the time, and it doesn't clean as well as a gloss or semi-gloss. Matte finishes typically aren't as tough as a gloss either, at least that I've seen.

So, as you said, I believe it's because matte finishes just won't work well in the elements and people won't be happy with the paint so not that many companies make them.


Matte paint is not more expensive. There is a reason what flat paint is the go-to for cheap contractors. It has absolutely no protection against the elements, but it’s cheap. You look at it wrong and you have a permanent stain. Exterior flat paint is impractical. Which is why you don’t see it. If you want a flat durable paint for outdoors, look into milk/chalk paint. If you are looking to replicate old world paint, this is the best option since this was old world paint. It will cost more and will need to be waxed. However they have low sheen waxes to preserve the flat look. It also looks nice and is thixotropic. Which means it will work well undiluted in a sprayer as well as go on nice and smooth and thick with a brush or roller.

Good luck.

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