Latex Vs. Oil-Based Paint: Which is Best ?

Paint is one of the least expensive ways to improve the look of your home, and is a project that yields fast results. Spend one day painting your home and you’ll be able to see the difference in no time flat. However, sifting through the various types of paint on the market and choosing which one is best for your needs can be a bit confusing. Here, we examine the difference between latex paint oil-based paint and discuss the benefits of each.

Head out to your local home improvement store or paint supplier and you’ll quickly see that there are two essential types of paint. Latex paint, also known as water-based paint, and oil-based paint. The one you need will depend greatly on what you hope to achieve with it and how experienced you are in the painting process.

Latex paint, a.k.a. water-based paint

Latex paint is arguably the best interior paint you can buy. It’s very simple to apply, can be used anywhere in the home, and is very durable. It is fade resistant, crack resistant, and has a quick dry time. Even if you have never worked with paint before, you’ll find this type of paint easy to use. Latex paint will leave behind streaks and brush marks as it is applied, but it will blend together beautifully as it dries. Best of all, it can be wiped clean with water in the event it is spilled or splattered.

If you or a family member suffers from asthma, respiratory issues, or has allergies, latex paint is a smart choice as it is virtually odor-free. Oil-based paint, on the other hand, has a stronger scent that may irritate these medical conditions.

Oil-based paint

Oil-based paint has an attractive glossy finish that may be preferred for certain situations, such as high traffic areas, areas that may be exposed to grease splatter, or for covering trim work. It is also great for exterior use.

The benefit to using oil-based paint over latex paint is that it is absolutely fade resistant, even when used in direct sunlight. It is more durable than latex paint, is stain resistant, and is easy to clean and care for. It is such a heavy duty paint, it can even be scrubbed without coming off the wall! Due to the durability of this type of paint, it is often used in the kitchen, as grease and food splatter can be easily wiped away.

The downfall of using oil-based paint is that it is a bit more difficult to apply than latex paint. It has a much longer dry time than latex paint, taking as much as 24 – 48 hours to dry completely. If it spills or splatters, it cannot be cleaned with water. A paint thinner or other solvent will need to be used to clean up this type of paint. Moreover, if your walls are not in good condition, oil-based paint is not the best choice as it will show any imperfection or flaw.

More from Jennifer Wagner:

Choosing the Right Paint Sheen: A Beginner’s Guide

Create a Mood with Color

Dress Up Your Home with Faux Painting

Source: Personal experience

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