Oil vs Water Based Paints - Imagine Painting
Oil vs Water Based Paints - Imagine Painting - Luxury Painters in Calgary

Oil vs Water Based Paints

June 22, 2018

Although you may not find it important, it’s the responsibility of professional painters to be well versed in all the different kinds of paint that are out there. Each kind may serve a specific purpose, and it’s the mark of a good painter to know when and where to use a specific type of paint. Paints can be generally separated into two broad categories: water based paints and oil based paints. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to each?

Oil Based

Oil based paints are generally more durable and can take more of a beating than water based paints, as they dry into a hardened enamel. For this reason, they’re a good choice for doing trimmings. However, they also take longer to dry as a tradeoff, although this can also work to your advantage if you’re looking for a glossier finish. Oil based paints have decreased slightly in popularity in recent years due to their greater environmental impact. The solvents used can release harmful organic compounds into the atmosphere, contributing to smog and city pollution. For small projects, however, the effect is usually minimal, especially if the proper safety precautions are taken. If you’re looking to do exterior work, you likely won’t encounter oil based paints as it has poorer resistance to UV, which can cause it to lose flexibility and result in cracking. Furthermore, oil based paints are suggested if you’re painting over a surface that already has oil based paint on it.

Water Based

Does “The Universal Solvent” live up to its name? Water based paints have the advantage of drying quickly, making them ideal for touch ups. Paint thinners can always be used if the desired results are not achieved the first time. However, this rapid drying can sometimes work against you; if the applied coat of paint is too thick, the upper most layer can dry first and form a seal over the remaining paint, causing the inside to not dry properly. For this reason, multiple separate coats of paint should be applied to avoid uneven drying. Water based paints are easier to clean than oil based paints, are less hazardous to the environment, and have the added benefit of being low in odours. In recent years, there has been great improvement in the durability of water based paints, and they’re better for exteriors as they withstand UV radiation. Furthermore, you’ll find a greater array of colour options available with water based paints.

While each has their advantage, it really comes down to each situation when trying to decide what kind of paint to go with. In either case, Imagine Painting takes the appropriate steps to ensure minimal environmental impact by disposing of all waste properly and not using an excessive amount of paint. Feel free to talk with our painters about your options so you can stay informed! You can find out more at info@imaginepainting.ca or reach us at 403-305-8786.


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