Best Paints and Stains for Southern Outdoor Living Spaces

calander Apr 30 , 2021 user-icon Nash Painting

Well-maintained southern homes have a certain unrivaled charm. That said, the southern climate is bound to take a toll on your home’s exterior and outdoor living spaces, no matter how well you care for your property. While weather can be unpredictable and not all climates are the same across the south, sunshine, humidity, and rain are the three main forces that virtually all southern homeowners must contend with. The coatings you select to protect your siding, deck, and other outdoor features must be durable enough to withstand these various threats for the long haul. If you go with a low-quality exterior house paint or stain that’s not optimized for standard southern conditions, not only will your home’s curb appeal suffer, but so will its integrity. Conversely, purpose-built paint and stain will enhance your home’s appearance and provide additional protection from southern weather. With that in mind, let’s go over the specific challenges Nashville homeowners may face and which paint and stain options are best for these conditions.

Breaking Down the Nashville, TN, Climate

Many people flock to Nashville, TN, and surrounding areas due to the varied yet generally mild weather it experiences year-round. While there’s much to love about Nashville weather, there’s always plenty to be wary of. For example, It gets really hot and humid starting in June and stays that way until August or September; plenty of sunshine is also common during this time. Winters are relatively mild in Nashville, but some snowfall can usually be expected. The warmer overall temperatures found in Nashville also mean plenty of rainfall throughout the entire year, and the wettest period occurs between March and August, where flooding is a potential threat. Lastly, Nashville is no stranger to storms -- last year’s major tornado is a testament to that.

Simply put, residential and commercial outdoor spaces alike are vulnerable to various environmental threats year-round in Nashville and other southern regions, including moisture, heat/sunlight, and high winds.

What to Look for in Paints and Stains for Southern Conditions

Now that we’ve painted a basic picture of standard southern conditions (Nashville, TN, in particular), you might wonder what kinds of paints and stains are best suited to protect your outdoor living spaces. In truth, there are countless products made by various brands that can get the job done; all it takes is some online sleuthing with the proper search terms. What’s more important than listing different product names is breaking down the key features you’ll want to look for in a given exterior paint or deck stain. So, here are the properties to look for when browsing coating options for your southern home exterior.


Perhaps the first feature to prioritize when selecting paint or stain is its protection against moisture. When water lingers on your outdoor spaces, it can lead to a whole host of problems, including mold, mildew, rot, cracked surfaces, peeling paint, and more. Consider all the ways in which moisture poses a threat to your property, too -- rainfall, humidity in the air, snow and ice, leaking pipes, etc. There’s no way to prevent all of these forces from getting your home's exterior wet at various points, so the more you can do to protect your surfaces themselves, the better. A quality waterproof deck stain, for instance, penetrates deep into the surface’s pores, protecting it from moisture intrusion. This way, when water ends up on your deck, it remains on the surface and doesn’t go any further to do internal damage. Water-resistant paint essentially does the same but is often totally transparent and meant to go over an existing coating to provide a watertight seal.

Anti-Mold and Mildew

This special stain/paint property often goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. After all, mold and mildew tend to form on surfaces that have been overrun by moisture. That said, not all waterproof coatings are specifically built to combat mold or mildew. For these purposes, you’ll want to invest in stains and paints that contain mildewcide or other relevant biocides (chemicals or substances that kill targeted organic matter like fungi). These anti-mold coatings are especially useful in the warmer months when humidity levels are at their peak and fungi thrive on various exterior surfaces (wood, especially).

Protection from Heat, UV Rays, and Fading

The southern sun can be extremely harsh all year round, and particularly in the summer. If you don’t pick a paint or stain that’s built to put up with those powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays and high temperatures, don’t expect your coatings to retain their strength or color for too long. Think of UV-resistant coatings as sunscreen for your outside surfaces -- the special chemical properties of these products mitigate the effects of UV radiation to keep your surfaces cooler and to ensure that said coatings don’t peel away from the substrate or fade over time.

Pest Protection

The warm, muggy air found in many southern regions also makes them home to numerous pests, some of which like to eat, nest in, or otherwise poke holes in exterior surfaces (i.e., wood-boring insects). Water-resistant deck paint and stain can help keep these pests at bay to a certain degree by filling those porous surfaces. For a more aggressive solution to your pest concerns, however, you might invest in an insecticide additive that repels a wide range of common pests. Just be mindful about the product(s) you use for these purposes, as they may be toxic to pets and children alike.


Lastly, it’s a good idea to choose an exterior paint or stain that offers anti-slip properties (regardless of where you live). Outdoor living spaces can get slick when things get wet and/or humid, so the more traction you have underfoot, the safer your home will be.

Optimal Color Options for Southern Exteriors

The special paint/stain properties outlined above aren’t the only practical aspects to consider when selecting exterior coatings for your southern home. As a matter of fact, residential exterior paint color design plays a role in protecting and optimizing your property, too. Simply put, lighter colors like off-white, beige, light yellow, light blue, light green, and so on will reflect more sunlight, keeping your home cooler during the hottest months and mitigating the risk of paint peeling, bubbling, chipping, etc. On top of that, lighter exterior paint colors won’t fade as easily or visibly as darker and more saturated colors, so you won’t end up investing in as many touch-ups in the long run. You can still incorporate some darker colors on your southern home’s exterior on the trim, front door, shutters, etc., for a striking contrast.

Protect Your Home from the Southern Climate

No matter where you live, it’s important to take local environmental conditions into account when painting or staining your outdoor living spaces. At Nash Painting, our local experts know the ins and outs of the weather in Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN, so we can help you select the right products for your property. To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!