Stephens Painting is one of the Best Painting Company Contractors in Dallas, Fort Worth

Latex vs. Oil-Based Paint

(The Debate Continues!)

The decades-long debate over Latex vs. Oil-Based paint superiority is a long and complicated one.  Rather than tell you which is best, we’ll simply give you a quick run-down of the advantages and disadvantages of both so you can decide which is better for your particular project.

Latex Paint, also known as Acrylic Paint, is flexible and therefore tends to crack and peel less than oil-based paint.  Latex paint allows surfaces to actually breathe, which lets any moisture in the drywall escape.  Typically latex paint will be sufficient to meet your painting needs, but there are advantages to both.


  • Less odor, if any at all
  • Environmentally more friendly
  • Washable and durable when dry
  • Cleanup is easy with water after painting, or while wet
  • Non flammable
  • Shorter dry time
  • Resists yellowing with age in areas not exposed to sunlight


  • More sensitive to temperature changes
  • Stains more easily when in contact with moisture from fingerprints, kitchen grease, etc.
  • Doesn’t adhere well to dirty, chalky or metal surfaces
  • Has to be applied quicker than oil-based paint or it dries out

Oil-Based Paint, also called Alkyd Paint, goes on very smooth.  When dry it produces a very hard, stain resistant surface.  Oil-based paint offers excellent one-coat hiding of imperfections and superior adhesion to surfaces that are dirty or metal.


  • Easy to wash, with fingerprints and dirt easily wiped off with no loss of color or sheen
  • Hides imperfections in walls due to its thickness
  • Superior adhesion to dirty or metal surfaces
  • Moisture resistant
  • Resistant to abrasion
  • Greater open-time


  • Produces a strong odor (Higher VOCs) when freshly applied
  • Requires more maintenance than latex paint
  • Can yellow, bubble or even peel over time if not properly applied
  • Doesn’t resist mildew since oil-based paint can’t breathe
  • Cleanup requires mineral spirits or solvent

Choosing between Latex and Oil-Based paint really comes down to your personal and project needs.  Now that you have the facts, you are in a better position to make a decision. After completing several thousand jobs over the years, we’re well versed on both latex and oil-based paint. We would be happy to help you make that decision based on your requirements. We’re here to make you, the customer, happy!

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