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There are a lot of important decisions to make when taking on a DIY painting project at home, though the funnest decision is arguably in making your color choice. You will also have the choice between purchasing a water-based or oil-based paint, though most wall paints sold today are water-based due to the fact that they contain less VOC’s, or volatile organic compounds, which are harmful to both the environment and your health.

While the obvious answer may seem to be to use water-based paints in all situations to prevent negative health affects, there will be times when using an oil-based paint is still the better option considering the area or object that you are painting. For instance, because oil-based paints tend to be more durable and have a high gloss finish, they are ideally used on floors or furniture – areas that receive a lot of everyday wear and tear.

Here is a breakdown of some of the pros and cons that can be found with water-based and oil-based paints:

Water-Based Paints

  • Low in VOC’s
  • Easy to clean up with soap and water
  • Dries quickly
  • Provides a soft, flexible finish
  • Does not give off a strong chemical odor

Oil-Based Paints

  • High in VOC’s
  • Can only be cleaned with specially designed products
  • Dries slowly
  • Provides a hard, durable finish
  • Gives off a very pungent chemical odor

As you can see, both water-based paints and oil-based paints have their advantages and disadvantages. So while you might consider a water-based paint to be your best option if you are trying to avoid excessive VOC’s and strong chemical odors, because they are so easily washed off it should be somewhat obvious that water-based paints are not appropriate for exterior jobs where paint will be frequently exposed to the elements.

On the other hand, there are some interior areas that are simply better left to oil-based paints, such as flooring, trim, stairs, and doors, as these areas must be able to withstand regular contact and scuffing. However, because they are the unhealthier option and because new technology is allowing for water-based paints to be more durable, oil-based paints may soon become a thing of the past.

For a large selection of both water-based and oil-based paints in every color of the rainbow, pay a visit to the paint department at Shell Lumber & Hardware. We carry only the top name brands in paint – Benjamin Moore, Ace Royal
Zinsser, Sikkens Cetol , Kilz, Rustoleum, and more – and offer custom paint matching machines to our customers as well. To browse through our current selection of colors and finishes, please visit us at 2733 S.W. 27th Avenue in Miami, or call us anytime with questions at (305) 856-6401.


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