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All About Paint

Oil-Based VS Water-Based Paint

Painting: Oil-Based VS Water-Based Paint


For those who consider painting their house, there are many types of paints to choose from. An important consideration is choosing whether to use oil based or water based paint for the house. Each type has its set of advantages over the other. Usually the decision is left to the painter since he is more knowledgeable on the subject. But it doesn’t hurt to know a little about the different types of paint and finish. There are two types of paint, oil based and water based.


Many factors determine the type of paint that should be used for a paint job such as the nature and condition of the surface, the age of the surface, and the type of paint previously used on the surface. All kindsof paint that are used in house painting fall into two general categories:  water-based latex paints; and solvent-based paints, which are commonly referred to as oil-based paints or alkyds.These names refer to one of the major differences between the two types of coatings - most of the liquid portion of latex paints is water, while the liquid in oil-based paints consists of petroleum distillates and other organic solvents.About 75% of all the paint that is sold today is of the latex variety.  Do-it-yourselfers use an even higher percentage of this type of paint for both exterior and interior projects.


Water-based latex paints have always been popular with do-it-yourselfers and professional painters because of their easy cleanup with plain soap and water.  Compared to oil-based paints, top quality exterior latex paints have greater durability in the form of better color retention and chalk resistance, so they continue to look good for years.  Since they do not tend to get brittle as oil-based paints do, they have better resistance to cracking.  Latex paints also dry much faster than oil-based paints. Top quality oil-based paints have excellent adhesion characteristics, which mean they get a tight grip on the surface being painted.  Good adhesion is essential for a durable paint job.  However, oil-based coatings do tend to oxidize and get brittle over time, which can lead to cracking problems in exterior applications, and yellowing and chipping problems in interior applications.