Oil Based Paint vs Latex Paint and Water Based

In Ontario, oil based paints have been highly discouraged, and sometimes banned in some manufacturers’ lines of paint. Therefore, the chances are if you go to your local hardware store or Home Depot, you’re going to be sold water-based or latex based paint more often than not. Now, there isn’t a problem with using water-based paint, but oil based paint vs latex paint can actually be the superior choice in some home renovation projects in Toronto and the GTA.


Here’s when and why you should consider using oil based paint vs latex based paints:

Why Should I Use Oil Based Paint?


There are many advantages to using oil based paint vs latex paint, including but not limited to:

  • Oil-based dries much slower, and as a result it provides a smoother and sometimes glossier finish paint.
  • Oil based paint dries with a hard enamel that is more resistant to scratches fingerprints, staining, etc. than latex based paint.
  • If you have an existing oil based paint, the best paint to adhere to it is using oil based again. This is particularly important in high traffic areas or doors and frames that are used often.
  • If you look at a side-by-side comparison with latex or water based paint, some argue oil based paint simply looks better, more solid, and smoother with more body.

When Should I Use Oil Based Paint vs Latex Paint?

Oil based paint can be used in almost every situation, but it is up to you to decide when you want to put in the extra work for it. Here are some projects that you should consider using oil-based paint for.

  • Interior and exterior trim
  • Doors
  • Cabinetry
  • High-moisture rooms such as the kitchen or the bathroom
  • Anywhere that you would like to have a richer or full gloss finish paint
  • When using a faux finish, oil based paint takes longer to dry giving you more time to play with the faux and make it more to your liking

Okay, I’m convinced. How do I use Oil Based Paint?

Painting with oil based paint is slightly different  than other paints (Latex based paint or water based paint). Here are some general guidelines to follow when using oil based paint.


  • Acquire a higherquality paint brush that is advertised specifically for oil-based paint.
  • Expect to spend more on items such as disposable brushes, varsol to clean the paint off, other miscellaneous sundries, since the oil paint usually ruins most of the equipment so it can’t be reused like with latex based paint.
  • When buying the paint, it may be a little harder to find. Look for “industrial rust preventative” or some similar name, which is the same paint. In Toronto and the GTA, most of the oil based paints have been fazed out for more environmentally and zero voc paints. Try Rotsblotts on 443 Adelaide St W, 4167030456. The last time we needed oil based paints, they were stocked up with it.
  • Oil-based paint takes significantly longer to dry, but sometimes it’s worth it. Make sure to let it dry for a 24 to 48 hours in a well-ventilated room, PER COAT.
  • Before the final coat, sand the wall to keep imperfections out of the final finish.

And that’s all there is to it. Oil based paint does require a little bit more work, but it definitely pays off in the end with a much higher-quality paint job.

Of course, if you aren’t feeling up to the extra work, why not let Home Painters Toronto take a load off your back?

With over 25 years of experience in home renovations, call us NOW at 416.494.9095, or email us at Brian@HomePaintersToronto.com to get a FREE estimate for your interior painting project and consultation about oil based paint or other types of paint.

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.