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Oil Based Paint Or Latex Paint – Which to Use for Your Home?

latex based paints for exterior painting, painting tips for painters, professional home painters in toronto

The question of ” oil-based paint or latex paint” has been around in the painting world for as long as the chicken and the egg conundrum. Okay,  it is a question that is complicated for both homeowners and painters alike. Treat this as one of those teenager magazine columns that try to establish which zodiac sign is best for you. But instead of astrology, figure out if you are more compatible with oil-based paint or latex paint.


Selection begins with choosing between oil based or latex paints when it comes to picking paint base. For hundreds of years, people have been using oil-based paints for their impermeability and toughness.

Unlike water, oil does not dry by evaporation. It dries through a process of oxidation that converts the oil into a polymer chain. This means that the layer formed will be resilient and long lasting, and will withstand the degenerative effects of water and air longer than water or latex based paints.

However, there are some major disadvantages of choosing paints that are oil based. We’re going to take you through the two very distinct types of interior house paint and why and why not you should choose them.

Disadvantages of Oil Based Paint

1. Paints that are oil-based also have a strong odor that lingers long after the paint has been applied.

2. Oil paint is more susceptible to chipping and cracking

3. There are more dangerous chemicals in oil paint that the painter needs to be extra cautious about.

4. Paints that are oil-based do contain “volatile organic compounds” (VOCs). VOCs are found in this solvent and are released as the paint is drying or being cured.

5. Indoor air pollution has now been identified as being three times more harmful than pollution outdoors.

Disadvantages of Latex Paints

1. This Latex paint causes wooden grain to inflate, meaning the painter must sand in between the first and second coat.

2. Latex paint is more susceptible to rust metal.

3. Cannot be kept in places that will cool or freeze the paint.

4. Harder to stick to glossier surfaces.

5. Longer wait periods for washing and cleaning the surface.

Interior and Exterior Paints in Canada – Low VOC Paint

Government regulations regarding VOCs are becoming stricter; this may be one reason why paints are decreasing in popularity. When you see paints labeled as “low VOC”, they should contain fewer than 50 grams per liter of volatile compounds. That is, if it means the Green Seal standards. It’s still important to consider that when it says “low VOC paint”, it’s simply lower in comparison to other paints.

Advantages of using Latex Paints

• The drying time is significantly shorter than oil-based paint, which requires up to 48 hours to dry.

• Has a minimal odour and release significantly fewer VOCs during the drying process.

• Latex paint also doesn’t yellow over time, which can sometimes happen with oil-based paints.

• Also, far more easier to clean up with some soap and water.

• You’ll also likely find that latex paints are far more available and easier to find now as well.

How to Thin Latex Paint

Because fewer or no VOCs are released, latex paint (acrylic paints) is significantly less harmful to building occupants. In addition, it requires less care to apply than oil based paint and solvent, which are both highly flammable. Latex paint (acrylic paints) can also be thinned with water, unlike oil based paint, which requires a special paint thinner.

Why would you need to thin your latex paint? Often times latex paint is quite thicker than oil based paints. If that’s the case, you can thin the paint yourself before application. Be sure to check the quality of your latex paint prior to the thinning process though.

Beyond oil- and water-based categorization, paints can also be classified based on their function (e.g. Primers, sealers, binders, finishing paints, etc.). They can also be classified according to the type of pigment used, like zinc, lead, and titanium (each has slightly different properties).

Now that you’ve picked your paint, what about colour? 

Now that you’ve learned all about the two main types of interior house paint, do you need a little help picking out colour? Not to worry because we have you covered! Check us out on Pinterest and don’t forget to look below for the top related blogs on picking your desired colour for your home!

Top Related blogs on “Oil Based Paint Or Latex Paint – Which to Use for Your Home?”

At Home Painters Toronto we have been professional painters for over 30 years. We know how important it is to create just the right atmosphere for you in your home.  We guarantee that you will be pleasantly satisfied with our friendly and professional service. If the work involved in house painting sounds like it involves too much time and energy to do yourself, call 416.494.9095 or email [email protected] for a FREE quote. Or connect with us below on any of our social media accounts as well!  

Brian Young - Home Painters Toronto

From The Owner & Founder


Hello and welcome!

I’m both deeply honoured and flattered you are considering using our services.

Since 1987 when I was at York University simply earning my way through school, I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with thousands of amazing homeowners like yourself.

Besides the birth of my daughter, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a homeowner’s life change when we have transformed their dream home into a masterpiece. For that reason, we take our jobs very seriously and are committed to our cause.

At Home Painters our mission is to paint homeowners’ dreams, and make your painting experience last a lifetime!
I look forward to hopefully meeting you one day, as it brings me tremendous joy to make homeowner’s dreams come true.