Latex Paint vs. Oil-Based Paint

Latex Paint vs. Oil-Based Paint

Let’s Help You Decide, Latex Paint vs. Oil-Based Paint

There are two significant campaigns for choosing paint for your home projects. We have those who prefer latex paint and those who swear by oil-based paint. Both have advantages and disadvantages, so it’s not simply a one-size-fits-all situation.

In this article, we discuss latex paint vs. oil-based paint.

Latex Paint

Here we list the top three things that make latex paint a better choice. Then we follow up with a bulleted list showing latex paint vs. oil-based paint.

Drying Time

Latex paint dries quicker than oil-based paint. Therefore, one can apply a second coat of paint in a shorter period vs. oil. With less time lost between coats, it can be easier to knock out a paint project in one day. This is especially great for weekend projects or those with a limited time window.


Latex paint also makes it easier to clean up afterward. Oil-based paints require mineral spirits or turpentine to clean brushes and pans. Latex paint, however, can simply be cleaned with hot water and a little soap. If you’re like most people, you don’t have the desire or the inclination to spend the rest of the night cleaning your tools and brushes after painting. In addition, if you drop paint on the floor or have a spill, it is much easier to clean up with a bit of soap and water.

Volatile Compounds

Latex paint has fewer volatile compounds (VOCs) emitted into the air as you paint than oil paint. So, one can say that latex paint is more environmentally friendly and safer to breathe; however, it must be noted that when painting either latex or oil-based paint, it is vital to always open windows for adequate ventilation. This is because inhaling VOCs, also known as carcinogens, is dangerous over time and can cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

We recommend using Benjamin Moore Aura paints. It is 100% acrylic latex, is non-toxic, has zero VOCs, has low odor, is durable, applies easily and has mildew-resistant properties.

The Eco Spec by Benjamin Moore is referred to as the greenest of their line of paints. It is easy to apply, smooth, and mildew and spatter resistant.

Latex Paint vs. Oil-Based Paint

  • Latex paint is made with water. Oil-based paint is made with oil.
  • Latex is thinner and easier to use. Oil is thicker and harder to use.
  • The drying time of latex paint is one to two hours vs. oil-based that can take days to weeks.
  • Primer is needed for oil and not necessary with latex paint.
  • Latex paint is typically better for the interior of homes and businesses.
  • Oil-based paints are better used on wood, metals, and paintings.
  • Latex paint can stain over time and does not peel and crack, while oil-based paint does not stain but can turn yellow and crack and peel over time.
  • Oil-based paints have a strong odor with fumes that are harmful to the environment and our health. Latex paints are non-toxic and have a slight odor.
  • There are various sheens available with latex paint from flat to glossy, whereas oil-based paints will have a glossy finish.
  • The difference in cost will depend on the brand, however, latex typically is up to 40% cheaper.

Latex paint has improved a great deal over the last several years. Lack of durability used to be a major drawback of using latex paint; however, now its durability and lasting finish rival that of oil-based paints.  The next time you have a painting project, be sure to consider latex paint.  With all these advantages and many more, you can get great results with minimal hassle.

Contact a Professional Painting Contractor

If you are looking for a professional painting company to spruce up or give your interior or exterior a whole new fresh look, contact Carolina Blue Painting. We will be happy to speak with you and provide you with a free quote, excellent service, and incredible results.