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Oil-Based Paint: What It Is and When to Use It

Oil-Based Paint: What It Is and When to Use It

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Oil-based paints usually have natural or synthetic paints as their base (many house painters in Windsor prefer the ones with an alkyd/synthetic base as they are usually more affordable). They help create a smooth, glossy texture. Depending on their composition, oil-based paints can take around 6-8 hours to dry. Leave oil-based paint to dry for 24 hours before applying a second coat.

Water-based Paints vs Oil-based Paints

A paint is classified as oil-based or water-based on the basis of the solvent used. Paint solvent is a volatile liquid that evaporates as the paint dries. They are added to paints to dissolve film-forming substances including resins, cellulose derivatives, and oils. Oil-based paints, sometimes mistakenly called enamel, contain an organic solvent such as mineral turpentine. Conversely, water-based paints, also known as acrylic paints, mainly use water as their solvent.

Sheen Levels

Oil-based paints can provide a better sheen than water-based paints upon application because of their composition, however, this sheen tends to fade over time. Water-based paints provide a less glossy finish initially, that is easier to maintain over the long term.


Generally, oil-based paints dry to a harder finish, and are hence, resistant to wear and tear. However, this hardness affects their flexibility, and they’re unable to contract and expand with changing weather conditions. As a result, oil-based paints are prone to cracking, and can become dry, brittle, and chalky over time. Oil-based paint is also prone to discoloration and can turn yellow over time.

Water-based paint takes less time to dry than oil-based paint. Recent innovations in paint technologies allow water-based paints to dry quite hard, which improves their resistance to wear and tear. Water-based paint is flexible and can expand and contract with changing weather conditions. It is therefore less vulnerable to cracking.


Applying oil-based paint is usually a more time-taking process than water-based paint application as oil-based paint has a thicker and stickier texture. As a house painter in Windsor applies oil-based paint to a surface, a considerable amount of VOCs are emitted, producing the distinct strong odor of “new paint.” In contrast, water-based paints contain significantly fewer VOCs, resulting in a less intense smell after painting.

Exterior Use

Water-based paints are ideal for exterior applications due to their superior resistance to UV rays. This quality enables them to maintain their sheen levels and color over extended periods. The formulation of water-based paint allows it to expand and contract according to fluctuating weather conditions, making it an ideal choice for outdoor use. In contrast, oil-based paints do not do well in outdoor environments, as their binders break down when exposed to UV light, leading to the development of a chalky surface.

Weather Conditions

The performance of water-based paints can take a hit when applied in adverse weather conditions. High humidity and low temperatures can prolong drying times, while high temperatures can cause water-based paint to dry excessively fast. When paint dries too quickly or too slowly, the final result can fall short of expectations and its long-term performance can take a hit.

Oil-based paints are more weather tolerant than water-based paints. Extreme temperatures and humidity have a lesser impact on their drying times, and overall long-term paint performance, which means they can be applied to surfaces in adverse weather conditions.

Surface Conditions

Water-based paints can repel some moisture, but are not 100 percent waterproof. They are able to tolerate a small amount of surface moisture before application. While water-based paint may slightly thin out, it won’t lose the ability to bind with surfaces. Because oil-based paints repel water, they cannot adhere properly to surfaces if moisture is present. House painters in Windsor, therefore, make sure surfaces are completely dry before applying oil-based paint to them.

Clean up

One of the main reasons why many house painters in Windsor prefer water-based paints is that cleanup is much simpler because the solvent used in them is primarily water. Brushes and other painting tools used to apply water-based paint to surfaces can be easily cleaned with water following a paint job.

Oil-based paints are more difficult to clean. If you choose oil-based paint over water-based paint, your painting contractor may be forced to use turpentine or other specialized thinners during the cleanup process.

Benefits of Oil-based Paint

With oil-based paint, it is possible to achieve a smooth, glossy finish. It is highly durable and can withstand regular wear and tear, which makes it perfect for moldings and trims. The resin in oil-based paint forms a sturdy, non-breathable coating, providing excellent resistance against stains and rust over time.

Oil-based paints naturally dry slower than many other paint types. Thanks to longer drying times, house painters in Windsor get several opportunities to manipulate oil-based paint to achieve a smoother and glossier finish before it dries.

Oil-based paints offer excellent coverage, helping ensure thorough coating of painted surfaces. They can be used to hide minor imperfections. Superior coverage means you require less paint (in some cases, a second coat may not be required), and save more money.

When to use Oil-based Paint?

Oil-based paint is the right choice for homeowners who want to make their paint jobs last longer and do not plan to paint their walls over and over again. Its superior durability and resistance to nicks and dings makes it ideal for trims and moldings.

You should consider oil-based paint if you want to paint your

➢ Exterior and/or interior trim: The hard enamel finish of oil-based paint can protect your trims and doors against scratches, stains, and abrasions
➢ Kitchen and/or bath: Oil-based paint is resistant to moisture, which makes it’s a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms
➢ Metal surfaces: Unlinke water-based paint, oil-based paint does not cause corrosion

Whether you have a straightforward residential painting project or a complex commercial painting project, Mike Chavez Painting can manage it. Our house painters in Windsor are equipped to ensure a perfect paint finish. To talk to one of them, call 707-623-5850.