Interior Home Painting – Oil or Latex?

When you are getting ready for an interior home painting project, you will need to make a few decisions. One of the first decisions you will need to make is whether you want to use oil-based or latex-based paint. If you still aren’t sure after reading this guide, you can ask your painting contractor if they have a preference. Professional house painters have used different paint types for different interior home painting projects, and you can benefit from their experience.


Latex Paint

Latex paint is a water based paint, and is used in the majority of interior home painting jobs. Many house painters prefer latex paint for most jobs, because it has several advantages, and few drawbacks. Some of the advantages of latex paint include:

  • It dries fast; the second coat can be applied within a few hours
  • The color lasts, and there is no yellowing over time
  • Many house painters find that latex is more widely available than oil
  • Latex has an easier cleanup, cutting down on time
  • It’s better for the environment, therefore less strictly controlled
  • Soap and water are all that are required for cleanup

The only major disadvantage to latex paint is that it will cause the grain of wood to swell. When you are painting wood with latex, you should always sand between coats for a smooth, attractive finish.

Oil Paint

In most cases, latex will be preferred by a painting contractor, there are some reasons why they would recommend oil-based paint for certain projects. The main advantages that oil paint has over latex are:

  • It has better coverage, making it less likely that you will need multiple coats
  • It takes longer to dry, giving you more working time for intricate projects
  • Oil-based paint shrinks less
  • It goes on smoothly, often providing an attractive finish in one coat
  • Oil-based paints hold up really well in high-traffic areas

There are, however, disadvantages to using oil-based paint for your interior home painting. Some of the main disadvantages to using oil-based paint are:

  • Many house painters find the fumes overwhelming
  • The solvents needed to clean brushes (turpentine/mineral spirits) are hazardous
  • Oil-based paints are more likely to crack, yellow, and fade as time passes

Professional Interior Home Painting

For easy, attractive, and professional interior home painting, you should hire a painting contractor. We serve Fort Collins, CO as well as Loveland, CO, Longmont, CO, Greeley, CO, and all of northern Colorado.

(Image and excerpt from “Painting 101: Oil or Latex?”)