However, when you peruse the paint aisle at your local home improvement store, you are likely to see a much wider selection of water-based paints than oil. While oil-based paints have their merits, water-based paints are much more popular due to their ease of use and eco-friendly components. However, not all water-based paints are the same; knowing the difference can help you get the most out of your next painting project.
Water-based paints are not new; they have existed in some form since the 1800’s when the first patent for a water-based paint was awarded. Since then, the painting industry has continued to find ways to improve water-based paints to make them more durable and easier to use, accomplishing much of this in the last fifty years.
What Is Water-Based Paint?
Simply put, water-based paint uses water instead of oil to carry the pigment and binders of the paint. The strong fumes associated with painting is often a leftover memory of oil-based paint, not water-based. Water-based paint does not require turpentine or mineral spirits for clean-up; it washes away easily with soap and water. However, it still offers a durable, lasting finish for both interior and exterior surfaces that can be cleaned if needed.
Water-based paints contain acrylic and/or vinyl. The terms acrylic and latex are applied to water-based paints used for home painting, but both contain acrylic as a bonder. Some lower quality paints use more vinyl instead of acrylic resin. This can reduce durability and quality compared to 100% acrylic water-based paints.
Benefits of Water-Based Paints
When latex was invented in the 1940’s, it changed the paint industry. Latex polymers offered a higher quality paint with more durability, giving oil-based paints a run for their money. The technology improved over the years, creating higher levels of reliability with water-based paints and simplicity of use that DIY homeowners and professional painters enjoyed. Some of the benefits of the water-based paints available now include:
- Eco-friendly and easy clean-up. In comparison to oil-based paints, water-based paints are much more eco-friendly. The main carrier is water, which does not require chemicals for removal from brushes, skin and surfaces.
- Durable surface. While not as durable as oil, water-based paints have drastically improved. Higher quality 100% acrylic paints can last ten years or longer for exterior painting projects.
- Crack and yellow-resistant. Water-based paints do not yellow or crack like oil-based options since there is more flexibility in the paint.
- Stain and mildew resistant. Latex paints are great for interiors. They can be scrubbed and cleaned, resisting stains that can affect other types of paint and they resist mildew growth.
- No fumes. There is no need for a gas-mask when the paint is water-based. There are not fumes like you will find in oil-based paints used in the automobile industry.
- Dries quickly. Most water-based paints dry in less than six hours, making it possible to do two coats in one day.
- Adheres to most surfaces. Wood, cement, brick, galvanized metal and vinyl surfaces all are compatible with water-based paints.
It may seem like there is no downsides to using water-based paints. For most home projects, it is the best choice. However, oil-based paints still have their uses. Oil-based paints tend to be more durable than water-based, which can make it better for heavily used surfaces like floors. Additionally, it is still the most used paint for automobiles.
Choosing a Water-Based Paint
When it comes time to pick a paint for your home, the variety of different water-based paints can be staggering. There is quite a difference in prices and quality, especially when it comes to exterior paint. While it may not be a big deal to repaint your bathroom in a few years, you want your exterior paint to last longer due to the expense and exposure to the elements.
The first component to choosing a high-quality water-based exterior paint is the acrylic resin content. Do not accept anything less than 100% acrylic for your exterior painting project. However, even in 100% acrylic paints, there are differences in durability and quality. The thicker the paint and improved technology in the paint creation process can add years to the longevity of an exterior paint job. These quality paints do come at a higher price tag, but they can save thousands of dollars off repainting every 3-5 years with a lower quality paint.
At Arizona Painting Company, we only use the highest-quality water-based paints for the best results. All our exterior paint options are 100% acrylic, coming with warranties from our Bronze three-year warranty up to our Gold ten-year warranty. Call us today to schedule your next quote for your interior or exterior painting project.