The Pros and Cons of Oil-Based Paint

oil-based paint

Painting a room or any structure is essential as this process can provide an additional layer of protection from the elements.

Typically before painting any facility or home, it requires the preliminary decision of what shade of color to apply.

Yet another vital factor to consider is the type of paint to utilize.

There are two main categories of paint, water-based or oil-based, which refers to the paint's main component or type of solvent used.

Acrylic and Latex Paints are examples of water-based paints, while oil-based paints can be made with synthetic or natural oils.

These paints also have varying purposes, making it suitable for specific purposes and materials.

Below is more information on the types of paint with its benefits and limitations.

Oil-based Paint

This type of paint contains linseed, synthetic, or alkyd oil as its base.

The difference in the oil component varies only on the level of concentration and its affordability, but whichever oil is used results in a durable and tough paint.

This makes it a suitable option for painting the exterior of houses, doors, trims, and the cabinets in bathrooms as well as kitchens.

It also adheres well to surfaces making it ideal for metal gates and fences.



Oil-based paints are known to be tough and resistant to low temperatures.

As a testament to its sturdiness, you can even scrub surfaces applied with this type of color without fear of damaging it.

And if you want to hide some imperfections over cover some damaged areas, oil-based paint is your answer.

Surfaces with this paint can withstand temperature change and humidity with insignificant damage.


This type of paint can be applied to stained or dirty surfaces.

A single coat application may suffice with a guaranteed smooth finish, thus providing excellent coverage.

With this paint, a mirror finish can be achieved since minimal brush strokes are visible.

Colour and Gloss

Oil-based paints offer various grades of sheen and a broad range of colors to choose from.

Some experts even note that this type of paint has a richer color compared to water-based variants.

The combination of so many colors with ranges of sheen gives beautiful details.


Odor and Content

The main disadvantage of this type of paint is its strong and unpleasant odor, especially when just applied.

The smell is caused by the high levels of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC), chemicals that release gasses that are harmful to people and the environment.

If it evaporates, it can enter the atmosphere and cause smog and affects air quality.

Drying time

Compared to water-based paints, oil-based paints take longer to dry.

Well, there is no universally applicable answer, as this depends on several factors. You can learn more details from this article, “

How long does it take for oil-based paint to dry?” As stated in the piece, the drying time can range from six to eight hours, but varying factors can affect the outcome.


Utilizing oil-based paints is relatively expensive.

The cost of the paint is higher compared to water-based variants, not to mention the need for special brushes, rollers, and paint sprayers.

Removing this paint also requires specific paint removers and strippers.

Thinners are also necessary for diluting the paint during application.

Application and Results

Primer is required and could not be applied directly to untreated drywall and masonry.

Touch-ups are tricky as this can leave noticeable marks.

Although durable, oil-based paints are more prone to discoloration, mildew, and peeling.

Furthermore, it is considered hazardous waste and is highly flammable.

Water-based Paints

water-based paint

This type of paint has gained popularity in recent years due to its reduced VOC levels and due to significant improvement in its performance and quality.

It is resistant against chalking, and color fading is not an issue, making it the fit choice for exteriors.

Furthermore, it adheres longer on concrete, bricks, and plastered structures.


Content and Odour

When it comes to water-based paint, there is one huge advantage.

There are no unpleasant odors with zero or reduced VOC content and are safer for the environment.

Utilization and Outcome

It is relatively easier to apply, with no need for special equipment. B

rushes and rollers are also easy to maintain since water and soap are all that is needed to clean your tools.

Drying time is also quick, making this an ideal choice for in-house painting.

It is also resilient to the expansion and contraction of surfaces with no visible crackings.



Several coats are required to be applied before achieving complete coverage. There are also several surfaces where this type of paint can't adhere to.

Moist environments can also prevent the color from drying completely.


The finishing achieved is likely to be damaged or chipped from scuffing.

Thus, it is not advised to be used on surfaces with heavy traffic or is frequently used.

Although a range of colors and sheen is available, achieving a mirror finish is unlikely.


Although sometimes used synonymously to oil-based paints, enamels can also refer to water-based or latex paints.

It is recommended to scrutinize the paint labeled as enamel to ensure its proper application.

The label enamel is sometimes used to refer to paint that is durable and dries with a tough finish.


Latex is colloquially used to refer to water-based paints. However, there is no latex in paints; instead, it utilizes acrylic resins or vinyl.

Acrylic paint is particularly popular for DIY and crafting applications.

When choosing a type of paint to complete your project, it can not be simply based on the list of pros and cons.

You must also carefully consider the type of surface, material, and other factors.

Window frames and baseboards are usually applied with oil-based paints to prevent sticking of parts and bear dents or scratches.

Trims are better with oil-based paints as well, to provide a vibrant and smooth finish.

On the other hand, water-based paints are the preferred choice of most DIYs to the simplicity it offers with regards to the application.

It is suitable for interior painting because of its drying time, yet it can be used for exteriors due to its durability in most environments.

Whichever type of paint you utilize, it is best to read the label, research, or ask experts.

Choosing the right kind of paint goes farther than just the color, its type matters for longevity, and for protecting that structure or surface.

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