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Difference Between Water and Oil Based Paint

Water vs Oil Based Paint

Painting your home is an exercise that one has to undertake every few years to give a makeover to home that starts to look dull and boring. Though, painting is a time consuming exercise that also takes a lot of money and effort, it certainly makes a home full of life and energy, outweighing all effort and money that’s spent. Today one has a choice of water and oil based paints, and to be sure in one’s selection of paints depending upon one’s requirements and budget, it is prudent to know the differences between water and oil based paints.

If you are in a hurry, using water based paints may be better for you as these paints dry up faster than oil based paints. Water based paints also do not permeate the room with fumes that are a characteristic of oil based paints. To remove any smears, water based paints prove to be easier than oil based paints. However, your choices are limited if you are trying to apply paint over a surface that had oil paint previously as you can only apply oil based paint over it. This is because, oil based paints expand and shrink more with climate changes, and if you apply water based paint over a wall that has oil based paint previously, there is a chance of undercoating a peeling that may show up later with climate change.

Oil based paints have a hydrocarbon base and they are hard to clean off. You need mineral spirits to clean them off. They produce pungent vapors when being used and take a lot more time to dry off than water based paints. Despite these disadvantages, oil paints are desirable over some surfaces, especially when one desires durability and a strong finish such as in the case of cabinets and furniture.

If it is not written over the paint can whether the paint inside is oil based or water based, you can know it by reading the instructions to clean the paint. If the instructions say that you can wash away the paint using water and soap, you can be sure that the paint is water based. One feature of water paints that makes them more popular is the fact of being environment friendly. It is possible to make water based paints dry slowly by using different additives. This means that water based paints are a first choice for most requirements, and unless there is a specific use of oil based paints, one can very well make do with water based paints.

If the surface that requires painting is not even, and is chalky at places, oil based paints are better because of superior adhesion of these paints. However, if you are one of those who have a super sensitive nose, oil based paints are not right for you because of smelly fumes coming off the paint.

In brief:

Difference Between Water Based Paint and Oil Based Paint

• Oil based paints take longer to dry and have a better penetration

• Water based paints are more environment friendly, and can be washed away easily with just water and soap

• If the surface has had oil paint earlier, it is better to reapply oil based paint.

• If the surface is uneven or chalky, oil paint is better

• Oil paint is desirable for furniture because of its strong finish and durability.

• For all other requirements, water based paints are better.

• Water based paints are better for sensitive folks as they emit lesser vapors than oil based paints


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