Four different architectural acrylic paint formulations were tested by exposure to weathering for 7 years in the urban site of Sao Paulo and the coastal site of Ubatuba, South-East Brazil. Surface discolorations and detachment of coatings were assessed and the components of the biofilms were identified by standard microbiological methods. The painted surfaces of the mortar panels were much more discolored in Ubatuba, where major components of the biofilms were the cyanobacteria Gloeocapsa and Scytonema. In two of the four paint films, a pink coloration on the surface at this coastal site, caused mainly by red-pigmented Gloeocapsa, produced high discoloration ratings, but low degradation (as measured by detachment). Biofilms in Sao Paulo contained the same range of phototrophs, but in lesser quantity. However, fungal numbers, as determined by plating, were higher. Detachment ratings in this urban site were only slightly lower than in Ubatuba. The matt paint performed worst of the four, with silk and semi-gloss finishes giving lowest biodeterioration ratings. The matt elastomeric paint performed well at both sites, apart from becoming almost 100% covered by the pink biofilm in Ubatuba. Unpainted mortar panels became intensely discolored with a black biofilm, showing that all the paints had achieved one of their objectives, that of surface protection of the substrate. The value of PVC (pigment volume content) as an indicator of coatings biosusceptibility, is questioned. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.