When thinking about your home interiors, the first thing that comes to mind is the paint on your home walls. The right kind of paint can instantly brighten up an otherwise dull room.

Are you staring at the bare walls of your home, thinking about getting them painted? When you start your family or shift to a new house, painting and repainting the walls is an ordeal you would have to go through.

Although the paint shade to suit the home décor is the first aspect that you might look into when you commence the paint job, there are several other crucial aspects involved. To pick the right kind of paint for your home, you must understand the difference between the major types: water-based vs oil-based paint.

Through this article, you will have a clear idea about the difference between oil-based and water-based paint and what type of paint would suit your home walls perfectly.

difference between water-based vs oil-based paint

Things to Do before You Buy Paint

Before we get into comparing water-based vs oil-based paint, it is important to consider the following.

  • Check the paint that is currently on the walls of your home. Its formula will help you out in picking the right paint.
  • To know if the applied paint is oil-based or water-based, gently wipe the wall with denatured alcohol. If the wiping cloth picks up the paint, it is water-based paint; if not, it is oil-based.
  • Decide what level of durability is required. If you want more durability, a combination of paint types needs to be used.
  • Determine how often you would be changing the color of the paint. Generally, the indoor trims, doors, and mouldings get a neutral shade, and the brighter shades go on the walls.
  • Decide the amount of sheen or gloss you require on the wall. When you pick glossy paints, they reflect a lot of light. However, matte finish paints diffuse this light to make the surface seem less glossy.

Read on to find out what to choose: water-based or oil-based paint!

buying wall paint

Water-Based vs Oil-Based Paint: What Are Water-Based Paints?

Water-based paints or latex paints have a binder and a pigment with the carrier as water. Such paints are pretty common and are the most environmentally sensible type of paint.

Water-Based vs Oil-Based Paint: Where Can You Use Water-Based Paints?

Since these kinds of paint have great colour retention power, they are ideal for your home’s exterior walls and the home interiors where there is a lot of moisture, like bathrooms, kitchens, mudrooms, and laundry rooms.

water based paints

Water-Based vs Oil-Based Paint: How Are Water-Based Paints Better?

  • There is a range of surface finish options when it comes to water-based colour.
  • Do you not like the colour you just painted? No worries! Water-based paints can be wiped clean with just water and soap.
  • Water-based paints have a tremendous power of colour retention; they also dry faster than other paint options and do not produce any odour.
  • An interesting thing to note is that water-based paints can be easily used over oil-based paints, but the reverse is not feasible.

Are you thinking about painting a pattern on one of the doors of your home? Are you planning to execute a DIY paint project on your home walls?

Well, water-based paints are perfect for such initiatives and a clear winner in the debate of water-based vs oil-based paint here.

water based paint advantages

Water-Based vs Oil-Based Paint: What Are Oil-Based Paints?

Oil-based paints use either natural oils or synthetic alkyd as the base. They are a blend of resin, pigment, and a solvent thinner.

When this thinner evaporates on external exposure, a hard coating is formed by the resin.

Water-Based vs Oil-Based Paint: How Are Oil-Based Paints Better?

  • If you want the paint to last longer and are not planning to keep painting the wall over and over again, oil-based paints are a perfect choice.
  • Oil-based paints are ideal for trims and mouldings as they can withstand constant rubs and contact since it is highly durable.
  • When applied on a surface, the resin in this type of paint hardens, forming an unbreathable layer that makes it stain and rust-resistant.

oil based wall paint

Water-Based vs Oil-Based Paint: Drawbacks of Oil-Based Paints

  • A major difference between oil and water-based paints is that oil-based paints are harder to clean.
  • Do you want to change the colour of the wall? With oil-based paints, the only option you have is repainting over the previously applied coat of paint.
  • Another difference to remember when comparing oil-based vs water-based paints is that you would have to be okay with the constant whiffs of strong paint odour with the former.
  • Even the drying time for oil-based paints is longer when compared to water-based paints.

Whenever you plan on a painting project with oil-based paints, it is recommended that you keep mineral spirits, paint thinner, and turpentine oil handy. These items are a blessing since they help you correct any missteps when applying oil-based paint.

drawback of oil based paints

Water-Based vs Oil-Based Paint: Which Is Better?

From the above points, it is clear that water-based paints are best for your home’s indoor surfaces when we look at water-based paint vs oil-based paint since they emit fewer vapours.

If you love the matte finish, water-based paints are the best choice. However, if you are a fan of the glossy finish, then oil-based paints are ideal.

Also, if you are comparing water-based vs oil-based paint for painting outside the house, the latter wins. Oil-based paints are commonly used in home exteriors to protect the painted surface from rust, dust, and any other damages that may occur due to natural weather conditions.

Things to Keep In Mind

  • You must not blindly go for the cheapest paint option available. Always try to go for the best paint option that you can afford.
  • When you look through different colour chips, note that these colours would appear brighter and more intense on your walls than the chip since the surface area would be larger.
  • If you plan to apply a new coat of paint on unfinished walls, you must apply a primer before you start painting.

simple tips to choose paint


If you are still confused about water-based vs oil-based paint, then we at HomeLane are at your service. We can help you make the right choice when it comes to picking paint for your home.

We can also help you understand the difference between enamel and latex paint or guide you in comparing enamel vs latex or acrylic vs water-based paint.

Contact us today to know more!


1. Which Is Better Water-Based or Oil-Based Paint?

Water-based paint is better when comparing oil vs water-based paints since it is easier to clean or remove, dries quicker, and does not reek as strongly as oil-based ones.

2. Is Oil-Based Paint More Durable than Water?

Yes, oil-based paints definitely win the debate of oil base vs water-based paint based on durability.

3. What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Oil Paint?


  • Durable
  • Can withstand constant rubs and contact
  • Stain and rust-resistant


  • Hard to clean
  • Strong Smell
  • Takes a long time to dry

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