Three Things To Consider When Deciding Whether To Use Oil Or Latex Paint

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Three Things To Consider When Deciding Whether To Use Oil Or Latex Paint

21 February 2020
 Categories: , Blog

There's a lot to consider when choosing paint for your commercial project. In addition to color and sheen, the paint's base — oil vs. latex — is equally important to your project's success. Ultimately, the decision on what type to use will come down to your long-term goals, but here are three questions to ask that may help you arrive at the right choice for you.

How Soon Do You Need the Space?

Although oil and latex paints are similar in many ways, one area where they differ is the amount of time it takes for the paint to dry. Latex paints dry the fastest, needing a little as an hour to dry and between 3 to 5 hours to get ready for a second coat. On the other hand, oil paint requires 6 to 8 hours to dry and 8 to 10 hours before another coat can be painted on. Thus, latex paint offers the quickest turnaround time and is best for projects where you need the space as soon as possible.

However, drying times are only part of this equation. You must also consider how long it takes for paint to cure. This is the stage of the process where solvents inside the paint completely evaporate, causing the paint to harden fully and become immune to damage from washing or rubbing. Oil has latex beat in this area since it takes a maximum of 7 days for oil paint to cure, whereas it can take anywhere from 14 to 30 days for latex paint to do the same. This makes oil paint the better option for projects where it's necessary to be able to start cleaning it fast (e.g., commercial kitchens, floors).

What Type of Material Is Being Painted?

Both types of paint can be used on any material, but some are better served by one or the other. For instance, oil paint is better for rough or dirty surfaces because it adheres better than latex. Additionally, oil paint tends to be much thicker than latex and will fill in imperfections in the material better, giving the surface a smoother appearance than latex paint can provide.

On the other hand, latex paint works best on materials with smooth surfaces, such as drywall, plaster, siding, aluminum, and wood. Since it doesn't yellow like oil paint when exposed to sunlight, it's also a good paint to use for exteriors and rooms that get a lot of light.

What Time of Year Will the Painting Be Done?

A third thing to consider when choosing a paint is the type of year you want to get the project done, as the weather and atmospheric environment will greatly impact how the paint performs. For instance, painting during a time of year when humidity is high causes the paint to take longer to dry. So, if time is a factor, then you may want to use latex paint since it dries the fastest.

Each paint has an ideal temperature and humidity range where it applies the best. Oil paint works best when applied when temperatures are between 40 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, while latex paint should ideally be applied when temperatures are around 50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The best humidity level for both is anywhere from 40 to 70 percent.

Since most commercial spaces have HVAC systems, it shouldn't be much of a problem keeping indoor temperatures in the required range. If your project is an exterior one, then you need to choose a time of year when the temperature and humidity are in the best range. For instance, you don't want to paint an exterior project in the dead of winter unless winters in your area are very warm. Likewise, you might want to avoid completing the project in the middle of summer when humidity tends to be high.

For more tips on choosing the right paint for your project or to make an appointment to have your commercial projected painted, contact a local commercial painting contractor.