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Oil-Based Paint v. Latex Paint

Trying to decide between oil-base paint and latex paint? Find out which kind would be the best for you.

Your home improvement questions, answered by professionals from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), an association of remodeling professionals committed to providing consumers with high standards of quality, honesty, integrity, and responsibility.


Our contractor wants to use oil-base paint on our walls in the kitchen and bathroom. A friend who owns a hardware store said not to use oil-base paint because too much prep work is involved if we want to repaint, and the odor lasts a long time. I also read an article that said oil-base does not do well in humidity. We cool our house with evaporator cooler, which puts moisture in the air. What is your professional opinion? Thanks.


Your contractor might be comfortable with a particular type of oil-base paint and is willing to stand behind it. That being said, I prefer latex paints since they are generally easier to apply, easier to clean off brushes, and easier on the environment. When latex paints fail, they tend to bubble and peel off. Oil-base paints get hard and chip and crack when they fail. If your home gets too humid, almost any paint will eventually have problems, however an evaporative cooler shouldn't bring the house beyond an acceptable level of humidity.

Answered by: Blair Edmiston, Remodeler, National Association of the Remodeling Industry

About Blair

Blair Edmiston lives in Portland, Oregon, where he has the coast and the mountains just an hour's drive away. He enjoys working on historical homes that have charm and character. When he remodels a vintage home, his goals are to retain its character while also bringing it to the standards of this era. This means making the home perform better with less energy usage and using more sustainable materials that have less upstream pollution and don't off-gas in the home. Adding on to a home with historical charm and character can certainly be a challenge, but with careful and thoughtful design it can be done and can actually make an historical home look even better and more of its period. When he¿s not remodeling, he enjoys hiking the many miles of trails around Portland, listening to music, and traveling. A lot of his best work comes from getting himself outside and finding inspiration in all the beauty that's out there.


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