Water-Based Paint Vs. Oil-Based Paint: When to Use Each


When looking at the naked walls of a room in want of a paint task, it’d be fair to count that everything you need to do is decide on a fresh color to get the undertaking underway.

But, the reality is, choosing a coloration is honestly secondary to a lesser-known however similarly important mission: Choosing the right type of paint for your needs.

“It’s essential to understand the differences between paint types for you to select which one is excellent for your house and the specific assignment you’re tackling,” Joey Corona, the senior merchant at The Home Depot, says.


The various additives that make up a paint-like, whether it’s oil-based totally or water-based, totally, for instance—can impact how its standard shade adheres to a floor and appears through the years. So it’s crucial to weigh this pre-portray information for you to replace a room with lasting outcomes. Don’t worry, though; you’re not about to deal with this to your personal. Joey broke down what to maintain in mind while choosing the proper paint on your assignment and what will make the whole procedure a heck of a lot easier to address.
What to Know Before You Go to the Store

Pinpoint the cutting-edge type of paint it truly is on the walls. “Sometimes, simply knowing a surface’s present paint system will help you choose the right paint for a new coat or coloration,” Joey says. “If you don’t know if the present paint is oil-based totally or water-based on looks alone, then wipe the surface with denatured alcohol. If the rag choices up to the paint, it’s water-primarily based. If no paint rubs off on the rag, it is likely oil-primarily based.”

Determine the extent of sturdiness you need. “Walls and trim are not created identical,” he maintains. “Typically, painters will use a mixture of paint sorts for optimum sturdiness, depending on what they may be painting. So, as an example, in case you’re focusing on the trim, that aspect of the wall wishes greater sturdiness to protect it from heavy touch.”

Decide how often you plan on painting. “In addition to durability, do not forget how often you’re likely to trade the color of the surface,” he adds. “Areas like indoor doors trims and moldings commonly acquire an impartial or white paint variant, while walls commonly get extra color. These hues and finishes trade the form of paint you’ll likely want.”

Weigh your sheen alternatives. “Sheens imply how sleek paint is in its dry country,” Joey says. “Glossy paints are shinier and replicate greater light, but matte paints diffuse the mild to make the floor much less brilliant. Reflective sheens, like satin and semi-gloss, easy without difficulty but show extra imperfections on the wall. Non-reflective sheens show fewer imperfections however are not commonly as smooth to smooth. Overall, matte finishes are true for low-traffic areas like bedrooms, even as different sheets are better for high-site visitors areas like kitchens or bathrooms.”

When to Use Water-Based Paints

“Water-primarily based paints, which can be additionally referred to as latex paints, include a pigment and binder with water used as a provider,” Joey keeps. “They are the maximum common and environmentally accountable paint option. They offer fantastic shade retention over the years, dry quicker than alternatives, and convey fewer odors. And ultimately, water-based paints can typically be used over current oil-based totally paints—the opposite isn’t actual.”

Since water-based totally paints preserve their color longer than alternatives, Joey recommends them for exterior partitions, which might be uncovered to the elements, and indoors partitions that revel in plenty of moisture, consisting of kitchens, lavatories, laundry rooms, and mudrooms. Water-primarily based paints are available in various finishes, too, and can be cleaned with cleaning soap and water.

“You ought to use water-based totally formulas for maximum DIY painting initiatives, like partitions, ceilings, and doorways,” he provides.
When to Use Oil-Based Paints

“Oil-based paints contain either herbal oils, like linseed oil, or a synthetic alkyd,” Joey says. “They consist of a pigment and a resin in a solvent thinner. When the thinner evaporates, the resin paperwork a difficult coating. Painters ought to use an oil-based totally paint for any floor in which they need the finish to close for a long time, and they are now not planning to trade the color regularly.”

Oil-primarily based paints are extremely long-lasting and might resist ordinary contact, making them ideal for moldings and trims. And due to the fact the resin of an oil-primarily based paint creates a hard coating that isn’t breathable, this feature resists stains and rust through the years. Keep in mind, even though, that oil-based totally paints have a more potent odor than water-primarily based paints and will take more time to dry. They’re additionally tougher to clean, too.

“I suggest having paint thinner, mineral spirits, and turpentine on-hand for any oil-based totally undertaking,” Joey adds. “These items can fast accurate any missteps or spills at some stage in software, and help with put up-undertaking cleanup of brushes.”

What to Note within the Details

After you’ve selected the paint you watched is fine, Joey recommends that you read the label to apprehend its binders, pigments, and beverages. This last step will come up with complete expertise of what you can about to shop for to precisely understand what’s going to cover your partitions.

Binders: “These are plastic-like polymers that bind the pigment collectively to shape a hard, non-stop film,” he notes. “In oil paints, search for drying oils, like linseed or modified oil. In latex paints, search for 100 percentage acrylic binders.”

Pigments: “These fine floor debris or powders that provide color and insurance,” he notes. “The maximum commonplace prime pigment is titanium dioxide.”

Liquids: “These are what consists of the pigment and the binders, which evaporate as paint dries,” Joey adds. “Mineral spirits are utilized in oil-primarily based paints, at the same time as water is used in latex paint. When liquids in oil-paint evaporate, a hard, hard film is left at the back. Latex paint carries water because the primary liquid stays bendy and durable thru weather and temperature changes. Water also facilitates latex paint to maintain its coloration, particularly in direct daylight.”