Oil Based Paint vs. Latex Based Paint – Pros & Cons

Oil vs Latex Paint Painting

So you want to paint and you’re faced with the confusing option of oil or water based paints?

An easy way out will be the basic rule of oil based paint for wood and latex based paint for walls and simple projects. However, an understanding of the makeup of these two types of paints as well as their pros and cons will help you make the right choice and in the long run enjoy finished effect for a very long time to come.

Oil-Based Paint: Oil-based paints are made up of either be synthetic oil (alkyd) or natural oil (linseed). Alkyd paints are more durable and less expensive than paints made from linseed oil, and thereby more common.

Pros of Oil-Based Paint

  • It Shrinks less
  • It offers protective covering
  • Highly durable, especially for high-traffic areas
  • It can withstand a great amount of wear and tear
  • Long drying time which allows painters to smooth their brush strokes if they so wish
  • It covers surfaces smoothly and thoroughly in one coat which makes it budget friendly

Cons of Oil-Based Paint

  • Oil-based paints can crack or chip over time
  • Oil-based paints canned be thinned with mineral spirits alone
  • Oil-based paints have a potent odor and overwhelming fumes
  • The Indoor use of oil-based paint requires adequate ventilation
  • It requires a specialized means of disposal as it cannot be poured down a drain.
  • White oil paint can fade or yellow slightly over time especially in exposed areas
  • Oil based paint is very potent and the fumes from the paint can be very overwhelming

The chemical solvents for cleaning oil paint brushes are hazardous and potentially harmful to the health and the environment if used carelessly.

Latex-Based Paints: Latex based paints are also known as water-based paints. They are made from water, pigment and acrylic resin binder. The best latex paints are made from 100% acrylic latex.

Pros of Latex-Based Paint

  • It is widely available
  • It does not fade or yellow easily
  • It is easy to clean up and dispose
  • It is a safe alternative for interior spaces
  • Water-based paints are more environmental friendly
  • Latex paints have a subtle smell and can be used indoors without little ventilation
  • It is fast-drying. This means you can add multiple coats afterwards if you so wish

Cons of Latex Based Paint

  • Latex-based paint is not as durable as oil-based paint.
  • It cannot be used on metal surfaces because it is water based
  • Latex-based is likely to show brush strokes because of its quick drying rate
  • Most surfaces will require two coats of paint which may not be budget-friendly
  • Latex based paint on wood can lead to bloating and warping and this will require a light sanding of the surface for a smooth finish.

Ultimately, to choose between oil-based paint and latex-based paint, the most important factors to consider are application and the intended surface. If you are in doubt at any point, contact us and we are happy to assist!