Should I Use Oil Based or Latex Based Paint?

Published on September 22, 2018
Updated on December 11, 2023
5 Minute read

Should I Use Oil-Based or Latex-Based Paint?

Congratulations, you’ve just made the decision to repaint your home! You may even have many of the big decisions that come with a home repainting project out of the way:

  • What’s your budget?

  • What color do you like?

  • Are you doing it yourself or hiring a company?

However, there is one curveball question that throws countless homeowners through a loop time and time again…should you use oil based or latex based paint?

Most painting decisions come down to personal preference, but the type of paint you choose requires an in-depth understanding of the qualities and differences between oil and latex based paint. Factors to consider may include:

  • Paint smell

  • Dry time

  • Price

  • Durability

  • Finish

  • Difficulty

  • Personal preference

With all of this information to consider, it almost makes you want to throw in towel (or paint brush) and give up the project altogether. Luckily for you, here is a quick and helpful guide to help you decide if latex or oil based paint is the right choice for you!

Does Oil Based Paint Or Latex Paint Smell More?

Smell is one of the most noticeable differences between oil and latex based paint. Because of its composition, oil based paint has a much stronger odor than latex. In fact, the fumes are so gaseous that proper ventilation may be required depending on the scope of the project.

Due to this fact, many of those living in their homes while repainting may choose Latex to alleviate dealing with the toxic odors. If you have issues with asthma or breathing, oil based paint is probably not the right choice for you.

Does Oil or Latex Paint Dry More Quickly?  

Not only does oil based paint have stronger fumes, it also takes longer to dry. Latex paint can dry as quickly as a few hours, while oil paint can take a few days. If you need your remodeling project finished in a hurry, then latex paints are most likely the best options for you.

Does Latex or Oil Paint Cost More?

Latex smells less and dries more quickly, but it must cost you a fortune right? While latex based paint is traditionally more expensive than oil based paint, the difference in price may surprise you. When considering the time and energy you spent waiting for oil based paint to dry, we consider price to be a minor factor between the two.

As always, the price of paint will also be determined by the vendor and amount purchased.

Is Oil or Latex a More Durable Paint?

Oil wins when it comes down to the round of durability. It’s much thicker than latex, making it less likely to stain and wear off. This makes oil paint a phenomenal choice for high exposure areas of the home like the kitchen, bathroom, trimming or exterior.

However, Latex does outperform when it comes to yellowing or cracking due to its composition. For this reason, latex is very popular for interior walls.

What is the Difference in Finish Between Oil and Latex Paint?

The same properties that give oil paint its durability, also give it the nod in terms of finish. Oil paint is harder, making it less likely to bubble or crack. It’s also self-levelling, which gives oil paint a flawless, glossy finish.

However, the thickness of oil paint requires the use of paint primer for consistency. Too much primer will make normally thick oil paint watery.

A skilled painter can still achieve a glossy finish with latex. However, if you aren’t looking for a glossy finish and would like something more matte, than latex would be the right choice for your project.

What Type of Paint Do Painters Prefer?

So you’ve read through our verdicts on oil paint versus latex, but what do other people think? Traditionally speaking, oil paint is the preferred choice for someone that has been painting for a long time.

An oil based painter is typically considered “old school.” They have the skills and experience needed to get the job done right using oil. We think of oil paint like a classic car, it may not have as many bells and whistles, but there is always something to be said for things that are tried and true.

While popular for professionals and rookies alike, latex paint is the better choice for amateur painters that want their home to look beautiful, but may not have the experience needed to work with oil paint.

At the end of the day, it’s important to determine how long you have to repaint your home, what part of the home you’re repainting, your budget, and what final look you’re going for.

From there, the choice between latex and oil paint becomes much easier to make!

However, nothing beats getting information first hand from the professionals that have dedicated their lives to the craft of painting. If you would like more help with your paint project, please give the friendly team at Spray Tex Painting a call. We look forward to hearing from you!


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    Mason Marquis

    Mason Marquis, raised in Newport Beach, California, and Austin, Texas, amalgamated his experiences from both vibrant cities in his journey. His academic pursuit in Economics and Psychology at the University of North Texas (UNT) led to the founding of Spray Tex Painting. This venture was not just a business for Mason but a practical application of his academic learnings, particularly the integration of economic concepts and psychological understanding. Spray Tex Painting, under Mason's direction, transcends being merely a painting service; it's a platform where client visions are realized through dedication and creativity.

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