Oil vs. Latex Paint- What’s Better?

Painting can be considered as the number one home improvement project nationwide. A fresh coat of paint can help you change the look and feel of your entire house from dull to brand new. However, when painting the interior or exterior of a house, most homeowners face a difficulty to choose the right type of paint. With different types of paints available in the market, the most important question that home owners often ask is whether they should use oil based paints or latex paint for painting project.

When you are in confusion to use oil or latex based paint, you first need to look at what you plan to paint. Before you choose oil or latex based paint, determine you have wood, metal, plaster, or drywall to paint. Here’s discussion on the pros and cons of oil and latex paints.

Advantages of Oil-Based Paints:

Oil-based paints are more durable than the latex paints. However, they take longer time to properly dry. You also need to use turpentine or paint thinner or any kind of mineral spirits to clean the surfaces. Typically, oil based paints are made of alkyd or natural oils. Alkyd paint is more common since it is less expensive and has a tough nature. Oil-based paint is also good for using on trims since the trim takes more abuse in the long run than walls do.

An oil-based paint goes very smoother and can cover more thoroughly in a single coat. It shrinks less and takes longer to dry so painters have more working time. Another reason why most painters prefer oil-based paints is because they hold up well in high-traffic areas.

The only disadvantage of oil-based paint is that they are more likely to crack, fade, and turn yellow in the long run. Also, the fumes that come from the oil-based paints can be overwhelming.

Advantages of Latex Paints:

On the other hand, latex paints are easier to work with and they dry more quickly. However, latex based paints are not as durable as the oil-based paints. Homeowners generally use latex based paints for general painting projects like wall and ceilings. Unlike the oil-based paint, latex paint doesn’t get yellow in the long run and is safer choice for the environment.

Latex paints are also easier to clean and you can clean them just by using a mild detergent powder or soap. Also, many homeowners would find latex paints more widely available than oil-based paints.

A disadvantage of latex paint is that it swells the grain of wood and as a result sanding between the coats becomes a necessity.

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