Few things get homeowners across the country quite as excited as being able to customize their home to their heart’s content. This is something that we simply aren’t able to do very often when we are stuck renting an apartment, condo, or even a home.

In all of those cases, we are bound by the rules a landlord sets down. By contrast, a home of one’s own offers the creatively-minded a blank canvas with which to let their imagination run wild.

And with one’s home standing as a blank canvas, it should come as no surprise that painting is one of the favorite methods of self-expression for interior decorators and creatively-minded homeowners across the country. There’s something special about the ability to add a splash of color here, a touch of style there, and poof … the whole mood and tenor of a room is transformed.

That said, the question remains – what type of paint is best for your needs? The composition of paint has mattered greatly for real-world art geniuses – the color and composition of Van Gogh’s paint is part of what gives his paintings their unique look.

By that same token, the paints that you use can add a lot to the look and texture of your painted surfaces. Both water and oil based paints are among the most popular for homeowners across the country.

Video Guide: What Is The Difference Between Oil Based Paints and Water Based Paints

So, which is better for your needs? Let’s take a look.

The Pros and Cons of Oil-Based Paints: Oil Vs Water


The first and biggest thing to note about oil based paints is that they are highly durable compared to other paints. If there is one thing that can spoil an interior paint job in a hurry, it’s paint that starts to chip and flake away.

You don’t want to go through all the trouble of painting your interiors just to see it flake away, and you certainly don’t want to have to deal with those paint flakes covering your hardwood floor or carpeting.

With oil-based primers and paints, you typically don’t have to worry about this. The consistency of the paint is thicker and tougher due to the inclusion of those oils, such as linseed and alkyd. The former is natural, while the latter tends to be a bit tougher and longer-lasting.


The downside of oil based paints?

Slower To Dry

It’s slower to dry than other options. If you’re painting on a canvas, that can give you more time to blend colors together and create a work of art.

For interior decorating, however, it just means that your walls remain wetter longer, which can naturally make the process last longer and increase the risk of something smudging before it dries (Source).

The Pros and Cons of Water-Based Paints

Faster To Dry

For those looking for something that’s a little easier to work with, water or latex paints might be the option for you. They tend to dry much faster than their oil-based counterparts.

Again, while that isn’t always ideal if you’re looking to paint the next Louvre-worthy masterpiece, it can save a lot of time if you’re painting some walls or window panes (Source).

Insulation Advantages

Speaking of which, latex paints also have the added side benefit of being pretty good from an insulation standpoint. If you’re looking for paints that can keep mold and moisture out of your home, latex paints are a good choice.


The downside? Latex paints tend to be a little more fragile than the oil-based options. That doesn’t mean that water and latex based paints will simply flake or wash away at the first drop of water or gust of wind of course, but it is something you’ll want to consider.

There are many different types of glazing options which you can explore to give water and latex based paint jobs a bit of extra protection. You may want to consider using these glazing options anyway since they can add a nice sheen to your paint job.

As such, there are significant upsides to oil as well as water and latex based paints. Oil-based paints can work well in situations where you want a quick, durable paint job, while water and latex based paints can work well with larger projects, such as ceilings, where you already expect them to take a while to dry.

Whichever you choose, both are great home improvement painting options.