Water-based paint is the popular choice for most homeowners working on any interior painting or exterior painting project as it is easier to clean up, dries quicker than its oil-based counterpart and does not have the harsh chemical odor and toxic fumes as the solvent oil-based paints.

Before you get started on your next DIY home painting project find out more about the difference between water-based paints vs. oil-based paints.

Learn more about “what are the different types of water-based paints” and why they are the preferred choice for interior  and exterior painting in this article.

What Are The Different Types of Water-Based Paints

Water-based paints come in an acrylic and latex formulation and both are used for painting homes interiors and exteriors.

While both are separate formulations it can become confusing for DIY homeowners to distinguish the difference when buying paint products your local paint store.  While paint manufacturing companies label each separately you may also see them marked as both acrylic-latex paint.

The Difference Between Acrylic and Latex Paints

While both acrylic and latex paints have very similar compositions there is a small difference in their formulation.  Knowing the difference between them will be useful for your next project.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paints are made up of acrylic and resin polymers and are chemically based, making it  water-resistant when dry, a stronger and longer lasting paint.  The cost of buying an acrylic paint can be more than a latex paint as it will take more paint to cover bigger areas.

Because of the acrylic polymers it is a strong and longer lasting paint that withstands cleaning and washing better, it adheres to almost all surfaces.  Enamel is also a word used to describe an acrylic paint because of its exceptional durability.

Latex Paint

Latex paints are made up of less acrylic polymers than its acrylic paint counterpart, is less expensive and eco friendly, goes on faster and easier and covers more square footage, which makes it a good alternative if you want to save money.

Advantages of Painting with Water-Based Paints

The primary advantage of painting with water-based paints is that they are environmentally safe and friendly and are the most commonly used type of paints for interior and exterior painting of houses, condo apartments and residential painting.

Other pros or advantages of using water-based paints are:

  • Ease of Application
  • Very good adhesion to surfaces
  • Easy clean up
  • Durability
  • Dries quicker
  • Resists colour fading
  • Little to no VOC – has little to no fumes or odour

Water-based paints are perfect to use on surfaces like drywall, wood, stucco, brick, aluminum or vinyl siding making them ideal for use on any interior or exterior painting project.

They also provide good resistance to mold and mildew when used for painting areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements and exterior areas where higher levels of moisture or humidity are more likely.

Disadvantages of Painting with Water-Based Paints

While painting with water-based paints is an ideal choice for all its positives, there are just a couple of cons or disadvantages to painting with water-based paints.

  • Temperature sensitive – water-based paints are not ideal to use in colder exterior temperatures (anything below the 50 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Celsius will cause it not to adhere properly and the paint will take much longer to dry. Consumer Reports has an excellent article on the ideal outdoor temperature for exterior paint
  • Poor adhesion to surfaces like metal that are typically more of a glossy finish
  • Primer paints are recommended to use before painting any surface
  • Prone to peeling, cracking, flaking or blistering

If you are still feeling unsure about whether you should use water-based paints talk to experienced reliable painters to help you chose the right type of paints for your next home painting project.

Water and Oil Do Not Mix

Everyone knows that water and oil just don’t mix.  When you add oil into water it just doesn’t blend together but rather it separates and floats.

Painting over a surface that was previously painted with an oil-based paint can be painted over with a water-based latex paint successfully once the proper surface prep is done first.

In order for the latex paint to adhere better over the oil-based paint you should prepare the walls first with a cleaning, repair any drywall imperfections, and a light sanding before applying the paint.

Avoid the headaches of running into problems with paint such peeling, chipping, burnishing cracking, flaking or sticking.

How To Test To See If It Is Oil-Based Paint or Water-Based Paint

While oil-based paints can be used to paint over both a water-based paint and or an oil-based paint the same is not true about painting a water-based paint over an oil-based.

To prevent the headache of having to do the job over again just double check it first by performing either of these two easy tests.

  1. In a small area, rub a small section of wall or other surface with a cloth or rag dipped in acetone, a.k.a. nail polish remover. If the paint transfers over onto the rag it is water-based, if no paint is transferred onto the rag then it is an oil-based paint.
  2. Another quick and easy way to test the surface to see if it is oil-based is to scratch a very small area with the tip of your fingernail. If you notice a small dent that means it is oil-based.

A Little Bit of History on Paint

We thought you’d want to know a little more about how water-based paints came to be and gathered up this info for you.

Water-based paints were the earliest types of paint used as far back as the caveman to the egyptians who used it to paint walls in their homes.

According to a wikipedia article on paint it was made from egg yolks that would harden and adhere to the surface really well.  The pigments were made from plants, sand and other soils and oil or water were used as the diluent.

Berries, clay and different types of flowers were also used to make the paint and other binders used were things such as fat, and cow’s milk.

It wasn’t until 1865 that the first patent for water-based paints was granted to D.P. Flinn who formulated the blend of water with potassium hydroxide, zinc oxide, milk, resin and linseed oil.

Several decades later in the 1940’s and 1950’s the paint industry was revolutionized with the introduction of latex which helped produce higher quality water-based paints that were even easier to apply. In the 1970’s the semi-gloss latex paints were introduced

Paint manufacturing companies have been improving the formula ever since leading to today’s high quality of water-based paints available with the addition of a synthetic polymer latex.

Find Expert Painters Near You

If all this seems overwhelming and you are still feeling unsure trust an expert painting company to take care of the entire process for you.

From start to finish PG PAINT & DESIGN painters in Ottawa specialize in both interior painting and exterior painting for residential, condo, townhouses and homes.