When Should You Use Latex Or Oil-Based Paint? - Home Decorating & Painting Advice

When Should You Use Latex Or Oil-Based Paint?

Glidden Team:
When should you use Latex vs. Oil paint?

Product Manager and PPG Paint Specialist: 
Usually, a quality latex or water-based paint will be sufficient to fulfill your painting needs. However, in some circumstances, an oil or alkyd-based paint may also be used. Here are a few suggestions and some strengths and weaknesses for both.

Latex Paint:

Quality interior latex paints provide better long-term flexibility, that is, resistance to cracking and chipping. Latex paints also tend to resist yellowing with age in areas protected from sunlight. They emit fewer odors, clean up with water and are not flammable. Latex paint takes a shorter amount of time to dry than oil paint.

  • Low odor
  • Faster dry time
  • Water cleanup
  • Long-term flexibility
  • Non-yellowing
  • Not combustible
  • Relatively short open-time (amount of time paint can be brushed before it sets)

Oil-based (alkyd) Paint:

Oil-based paints offer superior one-coat hiding and better adhesion to difficult surfaces (such as those not thoroughly cleaned). Oil-based paints allow for greater open-time (or length of time the paint may be brushed before it sets), exceptional flow & leveling (finish smoothness) and resistance to abrasion, once cured.

  • Hard, durable
  • Moisture resistant
  • Greater flow and leveling
  • Greater open-time
  • Yellows with age
  • Strong odor, higher VOCs
  • Requires solvent cleanup
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As always, please refer to the Product Label, Technical Data Sheet and Safety Data Sheet for safety and detailed application instructions.
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