The best exterior gloss paint for wood

Posted Mar 18, 2024 | Product Advice, Professional insight | 1 comment

Gloss may be less popular inside the home than it once was, but as an exterior wood paint, it is still very desirable. It looks sharp! Like your home is wearing a new suit! However, paints have changed over the years, and choosing the best exterior gloss for wood takes a little bit of consideration.

After all, you’re asking the paint to do a lot! Not only does it need to look good and without defects, but it also needs to waterproof your wood, maintain its colour and protect against UV. It also needs to ‘flex’. Exterior wood is constantly expanding and contracting due to the changing weather conditions. Any paint you use needs to be able to cope.

As a Professional Decorator, I have used a wide variety of paint brands over the years, and I’m particularly fussy when it comes to exterior paints. For me, it isn’t just about it looking good when I’ve finished a job; I need to know it’s going to remain looking good over a prolonged period.

Choosing a cheap gloss paint may save you a few quid to begin with, but if you then need to repaint again two years later rather than 5 or 6 years, then it’s costing you more in the long run. Equally, your paint splits and allows water into your wood, resulting in rot, then you may have some very costly repairs to make.

In this blog, I’m going to list a few of what I believe are the best exterior gloss paints for wood. Choose any of these paints and you won’t go wrong.


The Best Oil-Based Gloss for Exterior Wood


Most Decorators now use water-based paints for inside the home, but a lot still use oil-based for outside. This is because there aren’t very many good water-based gloss products available yet (there is one that stands out, which I’ll get into later).


Dulux Trade Weathershield Gloss

Most Decorators I speak to love Dulux Trade Weathershield gloss, and it’s been an industry favourite for many years. The sheen level is fantastic, especially in darker colours.

The best thing about this exterior gloss is its durability and longevity. Dulux claim this paint will “last up to 8 years”. I can confirm what they say. Not only does it last, but it retains its colour and sheen, which means it looks brand-new for longer.

The opacity of the gloss isn’t great, so ensure you achieve a solid colour with the undercoat before applying the gloss.

Dulux Trade Weathershield gloss review - the best exterior gloss

Sandtex Flexigloss X-Tra

This is a little bit of a curveball, simply because Sandtex Flexigloss X-Tra isn’t as popular as some of the other trade gloss products available for exterior wood, but I really rate it. Again, mostly because of its superior longevity, which is the most important quality an exterior paint can have for me. The finish is great too!

The opacity of the primer/undercoat is unbelievably good. Sandtex recommends applying one coat of the primer, followed by two coats of gloss, so it’s an extra coat compared to Dulux. It isn’t very quick drying either, so allow plenty of time in between coats.

sandtex is one of the best exterior gloss paint products for wood

Tikkurila Miranol high gloss

Tikkurila is a relatively modern brand, and some of their products are fantastic. Miranol is their exterior gloss, and it packs a hell of a punch. It’s probably got the highest sheen level of any gloss I’ve used.

I prefer using this gloss when painting front doors. It’s thinner, so easier to avoid defects like roller marks. It’s fine on windows and soffits ect, but it comes into its own on doors.

You should use Tikkurila Akva as your primer undercoat when using this gloss.

Tikkurila Miranol high gloss for exterior wood

The Best Water-Based Gloss for Exterior Wood


There are loads of good water-based satinwood paints you can use in exterior wood (Zinsser Allcoat being the perfect example), but it’s harder to find a good water-based gloss.

You’re asking too much of the paint to cope with all the challenges of longevity outside, a good finish, and a high sheen level. That said, there are advantages to using water-based, including easier application, quicker drying time, and more ecofriendly.

If you do go for a water-based gloss, one thing to bear in mind is stains. Exterior wood can contain water, so stains seep through your paint finish over time, and nails in the wood can rust.

Oil-based paint blocks all the stains, so you don’t need to worry, but most water-based paints do not. For that reason, on things like soffits or gates, I like to use an extra product called Bedec All Prime for my first coat. I know it’s more work, but it goes on nice and quick, blocks stains, and stops rust. I know by using this paint that my work will last that bit longer. Click here to see prices.

With all that in mind, there is one water-based gloss paint that I have confidence in.


Dulux Trade Weathershield QD Gloss

This is the only gloss for exterior wood that I’ve tried, liked, and use on a regular basis. Opacity is good, it has awesome flow, the sheen level is good for water-based, and there are few brush marks.

The finish isn’t as good as an oil-based gloss, but it doesn’t look cheap and plasticky like some other water-based versions do.

As for longevity; at the time of writing this review, Dulux Trade Quick Dry Gloss has only been available for a couple of years.

I can report it lasts for at least that time and probably a lot longer, but I haven’t had chance to see how it ages over longer periods. It’s durable enough to last on a front door too.

Dulux Trade Weathershield gloss review - the best exterior gloss



What is the most durable exterior paint for wood?

The most durable exterior paint for wood is oil-based gloss. It stands up to its environment and won’t scuff if it gets knocked. It is important that you choose a good paint, otherwise the longevity of finish will be reduced.


Can I use interior undercoat with exterior gloss outside?

I wouldn’t personally, simply because the gloss needs to flex with the wood. If the undercoat doesn’t flex with the gloss, then over time the gloss will fail.


How many coats of gloss on exterior wood?

This depends on the brand of gloss you’re using, but I was always taught that applying an undercoat then two coats of exterior gloss will ensure your paint finish will last.


Does gloss yellow outside?

The yellowing of gloss paint usually happens when it is starved of natural light. Therefore, yellowing is never usually an issue if you’re working outside.


Final Thoughts


I hope this guide has helped you to decide on which products to use. It’s based on my honest experience as a Professional Decorator, but just to make sure, I asked other Decorators what they think is the best exterior gloss paint for exterior wood. The results are in the graphic below.

Happy painting

best exterior gloss paint for wood

The Best Exterior Gloss Paint for Wood – by Mike Cupit

Posted Mar 18, 2024 | 1 comment

1 Comment

  1. Craig Williams

    Sadolin superdec is the best wb exterior. Great coverage, self undercoating, incredibly flexible and durable


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