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Latex Vs Oil-based paints, know the difference!

Updated: May 29, 2022

Latex Vs Oil-based paints knowing the difference

Painting is the quickest, cheapest, and one of the most effective home improvement methods. But you've probably heard some good and bad about oil-based paint and latex paint. But you want to know more so you understand which to use for your house painting project. So here we provide the guide about latex vs oil-based paints knowing the difference and understand what is the best

So, come along.

Oil-based paint

Oil-based paint is the most durable of the two but takes longer to dry. The pigments (what's left on your wall after the paint dries) are suspended in alkyd or linseed oils, known as the binding agent. It is this binder that primarily differentiates oil-based paint from latex paint. It's thicker and therefore more difficult to spread around, but it's best for painting trim because trim takes up more abuse than walls. It's also widely used for painting metals and wood.

Despite being the most durable, oil-based paint is not a good choice for house painting and furnishings because of its toxic, unbreathable smell.

Latex paint

Latex or acrylic paint (also called water-based paint) has acrylic as the binder in which the pigment and resins are suspended. It dries more quickly and is more easily workable due to its thinness. Although it's not as durable as oil-based paint, it's best for general painting projects like interior, exterior, ceiling, etc.

Quick facts on differences between latex and oil-based paints


Latex paint is water-based, while oil-based paint is as the name suggests.

Ease of Use

Latex paint is easier to spread around due to its thinness, therefore best for general painting projects.


Whereas latex has a matte and sometimes glossy finish, oil-based paint is always glossier and smoother.

Drying time

While latex paint can take less than 2 hours to dry, oil paint can take over a week.


While latex paints are known for their flexibility, it's not so with oil-based paints, as they're more likely to chip.


Oil-based paint is more expensive, costing up to 40% more than latex paint of similar quality.

Primer application

Oil-based paint always requires a primer, but latex paint can do without. Therefore, always use a latex primer for latex paint and an oil-based primer for oil-based paints.


Oil-based paint is more durable, lasting up to 15 years. However, it may change colour, get stained, and crack with time. On the other hand, latex paint lasts up to 10 years, is easily stained, but does not crack as easily.


Latex has a light, non-toxic, breathable smell. Conversely, oil-based paint is known for its strong, toxic odour.


Latex paint causes wood grains to swell up, so you must sand each coat before applying another. On the other hand, oil-based paints go on more smoothly and can complete the job in one coat.


Oil-based paints are not advisable for regular house painting due to their toxicity, high cost, and difficulty in application.

Latex paint is best for painting your home, regardless of its shortcomings.

Professional painters near me

Now you know what type of paint to use for your painting project, another question remains: what is the best paint brand, and what paint is most suitable for stucco/brick/wood/siding?

It's a great idea to get help from a painting contractor near you. If you can't handle the painting yourself, you can leave it to the expert and get peace of mind for the best quality job.

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