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Latex & Oil Paint - Know the Difference

Don’t mix oil and water... that makes yuk. Oil paint used to be very common and popular because it was very durable and very washable. People loved it on trim, doors and walls in kitchens and bathrooms. The problem with oil paint is that it doesn’t comply with VOC regulations so it is pretty much off the market except for certain specialty paints like Sikkens. Latex paints are so much more popular because

• They clean up with water rather than solvents so much less messy! YAY!

• VOC compliant –so much healthier! YAY

• Little or no smell

• Way more washable and scrubbable than the latex paints of long ago. BUT oil, albeit hard to buy, is still needed because

• It dries slower so it creates a more flawless finish

• It seals in things (crayons, nicotine etc.) that latex paint cannot

• Still a lot more durable than latex

Unless you are using a specialty oil paint for a specific reason or a primer (see more information in Primer) chances are you are going to use latex paint.

There are also hybrid paints now they are oil emulsified and are a combination of latex and oil. Again, these are for specific items and popular for decks. They are meant to be the best of both worlds... I don’t know, jury is still out for me. But then again there are no good deck products so I may be jaded.

Another product that has made its way into the residential market is elastomeric. Don’t get tempted to use it unless your house is leaking. It is a specialty paint used for special reasons. It’s just not worth the long-term challenges I have seen

• If moisture gets between it and the surface of your house through o Poor application o A puncture from your ladder when hanging Christmas lights o Too much moisture in your substrate prior to application

• It can cause mildew to grow or the product to lift off the surface leaving a horrible and expensive mess.

• Fear based selling from painters who may not apply it with the appropriate thickness therefore defeating the benefits they claim

• Applying two coats and then a few years later applying a couple more coats resulting in the lower layers no longer being able to “breath” and failing.

Have I used this product? Yes. On buildings that were leaking. Did this product work well? Yepper. Would I sell it to someone who didn’t need it? Heck no!