Latex vs. Oil Paint: Which Should I Use?

Learn the advantages and disadvantages of using oil-based and latex paint.

When you paint a room, a piece of furniture, or your home’s exterior, you’ll be faced with the questions of what color, what shade, and how much will you need. On top of this, you’ll have to choose between oil-based paint and latex-based paint.

Believe it or not, the type of paint that you choose is essential for a great looking paint job, durability, and longevity.

Before you opt for the cheapest cans that you can buy, read on for the pros and cons of each!

Oil-Based Paint

  • It goes on smoother
  • Thoroughly covers in one coat
  • Shrinks less
  • Long drying time (so that you have more working time)
  • Holds up well in high-traffic areas


  • It’s more likely to crack, fade, and yellow over time
  • The fumes can be overwhelming
  • Cleanup solvents like mineral spirits and turpentine are necessary for washing brushes. These hazardous chemicals need to be managed carefully

Latex (water-based) Paint

  • Doesn’t yellow over time
  • It’s better for the environment
  • Short drying time
  • Easy to clean up with soap and water
  • Far more forgiving, primarily for cleanup, making it a great choice for the weekend warrior
  • Many painters are finding latex is more widely available than oil


  • Swells the grain of wood, making sanding between coats a necessity

If you’re not quite the painter that you’d like to be, contact Precision Painters, the professionals in your local area for stellar house painting services. Serving Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Calabasas, and neighboring cities in California.

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