In fact, the first step is to choose which type of paint you want to use. There are two types. Latex paints are the most common, but you can also choose an oil-based paint. Some companies won’t tell you this. Oil-based paints have become more difficult to find recently, and they’re a little more expensive but they do have advantages.

The primary reason you’d want to choose an oil-based paint is aesthetic. These paints are smoother and glossier than latex paints, so the finished product will show fewer brush strokes and have more shine. Latex paints, though, are easier to work with and less toxic.

Here’s a list of the main differences between the two types of paint:

Latex Paints:

  • Also known as “water-based paints” because of their high water content
  • Generally provide a matte finish
  • Brush strokes will be visible
  • Cheaper than oil-based paints
  • Can be wiped up during clean-up
  • Less odor
  • More prone to fading
  • Dry very quickly; it’s possible to put on two coats in a single day
  • Significant shrinking is possible
  • Not flammable
  • Durable even in high-humidity areas, like the bathroom

Oil-based Paints:

  • Generally provide a glossy finish
  • Smoother than latex, so brush strokes not as visible
  • More expensive than latex paints
  • More difficult to clean up
  • Much stronger odor
  • Do not fade, even if exposed to direct sunlight
  • Take a long time to dry, so multiple coats will require several day
  • Are more toxic and should never be poured down your drain
  • Shrinks less than latex paint
  • Can bubble during the painting process
  • Holds up better in areas with massive temperature swings