Call Now & Schedule Today

Key Differences Between Oil and Water-Based Paint


If you’re a painter, then you know that there are two types of paint: oil-based and water-based. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, but which one is the best for you? In this blog post, we will discuss the key differences between these two types of paint so that you can make an informed decision about which one to use.

What it Is Made of

When talking about the differences between oil-based and water-based paints, the biggest key difference between the two is in what they are made of. Almost every form of paint has a liquid component, also referred to as a solvent which evaporates as the paint dries, leaving behind a solidified coat of color. 

In oil paints, this solvent is most often an essential oil known as turpentine. In water-based paints, this solvent is made up of water—or mostly water.


One of the most important considerations is durability, as you want a paint that will last and hold up in different conditions. On the interior of your home, both water-based and oil-based paints tend to be highly durable, offering protection from moisture and everyday wear and tear. 

However, if you plan on using paint outside on the exterior of your home, oil-based paints tend to not fare as well. These paints are more prone to cracking and chipping in extreme weather conditions such as high temperatures or exposure to UV rays. As a result, oil-based paints are generally considered better suited for interior use. 

Water-based paints, on the other hand, are ideal for exterior painting since they have strong resistance to environmental stressors such as sunlight and heat. Ultimately, then, whether you choose water-based or oil-based paints depends on your specific needs and application requirements.


When it comes to price, oil-based paints are surprisingly less expensive than water-based paints. Although you can find either type of paint in a wide range of price points. It ultimately comes down to market demand. The demand for water-based paint is much higher, so they are typically priced higher.


Another key difference between these two types of paint is in the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that they release. Oil-based paints tend to release higher levels of VOCs into the air, which can be harmful to both your health and the environment. Water-based paints have lower levels of VOCs and are therefore considered to be a more eco-friendly option.


When it comes to availability, oil-based paints are more widely available than water-based paints. This is because they have been around for much longer and are more commonly used. Water-based paints are relatively new to the market and as a result, can be harder to find.


Depending on your intended use, the sheen of your paint can be an important consideration. Oil-based paints tend to have a higher gloss finish, which can give your project a shiny, polished look. This sheen may diminish over the years though. Water-based paints have a lower gloss finish and are more matte in appearance, but they will typically maintain the same level of sheen for years. 


As you can see, there are a lot of key differences between oil-based and water-based paints. It’s important for painters to consider all of these factors before making a decision about which type of paint to use.

Contact Us

Get a FREE Estimate Today!


Scroll to Top