You want an exterior paint that stands up to the elements—the sun, the rain, the snow—and also resists dirt and mildew. To see which last the longest, Consumer Reports tested 15 paints, including some from Benjamin Moore, Behr, Valspar, and Sherwin-Williams.
Technicians apply the paint to pine boards and put them up on the roof of Consumer Reports’ testing headquarters. Conditions are so harsh that one year of exposure simulates three years on a wall, door, or fence. The boards are inspected periodically to see how well they resist cracking, fading, dirt, and mildew.
After three years on the roof, some of the boards are in bad shape. Some are flaking or the wood is cracking. Others are coated in mildew and some have changed color significantly.
In the end, Consumer Reports has just two paints to recommend. Either should last about nine years on your house.
Behr Premium Plus Ultra from Home Depot, about $40 per gallon
Clark and Kensington from Ace for about $35 per gallon.
If you’re a Lowe’s shopper, Valspar DuraMax Exterior paint is an option. Consumer Reports finds it’s just as good as the Behr Premium Plus Ultra and the Clark and Kensington for resisting cracking and dirt, although it’s not as good at resisting mildew.