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Oil Based Paint VS Water Based Paints | You Need To Choose Carefully!

A crucial decision when starting a painting project is whether or not to choose oil based paint or water based paint, and this decision will affect the outcome of the project. Oil based paints and water based paints are two of the most popular types of paint that are available on the market. In order to make an informed decision when choosing one of these types, it is necessary to understand their differences, as both types of computers have their own advantages and disadvantages.

As the name implies, oil based paints and water based paints refer to the type of solvent that goes into the making of these paints, as opposed to the actual paint itself. The solvent is the liquid component of the paint that evaporates as the paint dries out, which contributes to the drying of the paint.

It has been observed that oil based paints (often incorrectly referred to as enamel) have been developed by using an organic solvent in their formulation, which is typically mineral turpentine or a mineral oil. A water based paints is also referred to as an acrylic paint, since water is used as the solvent in which the paint is mixed with the water to create a liquid paint.

Characteristics of Oil Based Paint and Water Based Paints

Sheen Levels

One of the differences between oil based and water based paints is their sheen levels. Oil based paints can achieve a higher sheen level when applied due to the makeup of the paint. However, the sheen can become duller over time. While water based paints achieve a lower sheen finish, they can typically maintain this sheen level over a longer period of time.


Oil based paints dry harder, which provides excellent resistance to wear and tear. However, as the paint dries harder, there is not a lot of flexibility within the paint, which means oil based paints are more likely to crack, become dry, brittle, and chalky over time.

Oil based paints are also known to yellow over time. These days, many developments allow water based paints to dry quite hard and be effective when resisting damage and wear and tear. The flexibility afforded to water based paints means that they are able to expand and contract with weather conditions, making them less susceptible to cracking.

Exterior Use

Water based paints perform brilliantly on exterior applications. This is because water based paints are much more resistant to UV rays, allowing them to retain sheen levels and color over long periods. The flexibility in the paint makeup means the paint can move with the substrate as it expands and contracts in different weather conditions, making it the perfect choice for exterior uses.

In outdoor environments, oil-based paint is not recommended as it breaks down in UV light and develops a chalky surface as a result of breaking down in the sun. Since there is little to no flexibility within the paint itself, it is more prone to cracking and flaking because of its lack of flexibility.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Oil Based Paint


Durability: Oil based paint is very durable and can withstand wear and tear better than water based paints. It is also less likely to chip or peel.

Easy to Apply: Oil based paint has a longer open time, which means it stays wet longer and gives you more time to work with it. This makes it easier to apply and creates a smoother finish.

Good for High-Moisture Areas: Oil based paint is resistant to moisture and humidity, making it a great choice for painting surfaces in kitchens, bathrooms, and other high-moisture areas.

Low Odor: Water based paint has a low odor, which makes it easier to work with in enclosed spaces.

Quick Drying: Water based paint dries faster than oil based paint, which canbe advantageous if you need to complete your project quickly.

Easy Cleanup: Water based paint can be easily cleaned up with soap and water, making it a more convenient option than oil based paint.

Less Harmful to the Environment and Health: Water based paint uses less harsh solvents, making it a more environmentally friendly and safer option for your health.


Strong Smell: Oil based paint has a strong odor that can linger for several days. It’s important to make sure the room is well-ventilated when using oil based paint.

Longer Drying Time: Oil based paint takes longer to dry than water based paint, which can be a disadvantage if you need to finish your project quickly.

Harsher Solvents: Oil based paint uses harsh solvents, which can be harmful to the environment and your health if not used properly.

Not as Durable: Water based paint is not as durable as oil based paint and is more susceptible to wear and tear, chipping, and peeling.

Less Resistant to Moisture: Water based paint is less resistant to moisture and humidity, making it a less suitable option for high-moisture areas.

Less Sheen: Water based paint achieves a lower sheen level, which may not be desirable for some applications.

When it comes to choosing between oil based and water based paint, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Both types of paint have their advantages and disadvantages, and the decision ultimately comes down to the specific needs of your project. Consider factors such as durability, sheen, drying time, and environmental impact when making your decision. With the right choice of paint and proper application techniques, you can achieve a beautiful and long-lasting finish for your painting project.

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