Choosing paint for your home or commercial building can be more complicated than it seems at first. Often, the colour is the first thing you think of. When you find a colour you love, you feel that you've found the right paint.
However, paint can be custom-mixed to match that perfect colour. The first think to consider is actually whether you want oil or water based paint.
Your house isn't as solid and unchanging as it seems. It expands and contracts with changes in temperature. When you hear an old house creaking or settling, you're hearing this take place, but even newer, quieter buildings go through this process. Water-based paints breathe, expand, and contract with your home.
Water-based paints also allow moisture to go through. This may sound like a bad thing, as though it won't protect your home adequately from moisture. However, moisture can come from under the paint, from the walls rather than from the outside weather.
Oil-based paints create an impermeable layer like plastic. Moisture that builds up under oil paints can lead to cracking and blistering.
Since water-based paints are also usually lower in VOCs (volatile organic compounds), water-based paints are generally the best bet for house painting. Oil paint's chemicals are fat soluble, which means they can be absorbed by the lungs and are therefore less wholesome.
When would you choose oil paints?
- When you want to work slowly. Water-based paints dry more quickly than oil-based ones. If you're doing a complicated faux finish and want to be able to work slowly and use special effects on paint that require a slower drying finish, oil paints may be indicated.
- When you're painting over oil paints. You don't always have to remove paint down to the bare surface. If the underlying paint is in good condition, you may be able to paint right over it. Many painters prefer, in such cases, to match the original paint.
- When you want a very hard finish. Oil based paints can create a very hard, durable finish. They can have better coverage over stains, too. Some painters like oil based paints for the trim of a room for these reasons.