exterior painting

Exterior Painting in The Woodlands, Texas: Oil Vs Latex Paint

Are you wondering whether to use oil or latex paint for your home’s exterior painting in the Woodlands, Texas? The two paints are generally very different, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. In this article, we will try to help you figure where and when each type will excel, and the pros and cons of each option.

Generally, since the introduction of latex paint on the 1940s, the landscape of painting has changed significantly. Back then, most paints were custom mixed on the site with the addition of a little linseed oil, colorant, and driers. Late in the 1900s, oil-based paints were the best choice as they created hard durable finishes, leveled beautifully, and lasted longer in harsh exterior conditions.

Unfortunately, the popularity and acceptance of the oil-based paints didn’t last long due to air-quality restrictions and increased regulations introduced in the last 30 years or so. For this reason, the quality of the oil-based paints suffered as most manufacturers neglected them in favor of latex paint.

The results have been a mixed bag –while we’ve seen widely improved lines of latex paints, some oil-based paints still perform nearly as good as they did before regulation changed their formulations. Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of Oil vs. latex based paints for your exterior home painting.

Pros and Cons of Oil vs. Latex-Based Paints.

Oil-Based Exterior House Paint


• Takes longer to dry: some may view this as a con, but a longer drying time means that oil-based paint has all the time to settle onto the surface you’re painting
• Durable: oil-based paint withstands water exposure and also shrinks less than latex in low temperature, making it more durable and a good choice for erratic climates.
• Better coverage: It provides more effective coverage in a single coat due to its long drying time. This means you will need fewer coats and hence save money and time.
• Provides a smoother and even finish.


• Overwhelming fumes: It might not be a big issue when painting outside, but oil-based paints generally release more fumes.
• It becomes brittle over time: it oxidizes in the sun which causes it to fade, crack, and yellow over time.
• It requires cleanings solvents such as mineral spirits and turpentine which are hazardous.

When Should You Use Oil-Based Paint?

While there are not so many options, nothing beats the performance of a good old-fashioned oil-based paint in certain situations. For instance, windows, doors, and trims require the hardest, least tacky, and most durable coat. In these high traffic areas, latex paints may peel or scuff too easily and don’t clean as well as oil-based paints.

Metal surfaces such as steel windows, metal railings, cast iron tubs, and metal gates benefit more from oil-based oils. Painting metal surfaces with latex-based paint (which is water-based) increases chances of creating rust and doesn’t provide the best protection against moisture.

Latex-Based Exterior House Paint

• Easier to work with: cleaning up latex paint is much easier. All you need is water and soap to clean it off the surfaces it wasn’t supposed to be on.
• Resistant to direct sunlight: latex-based paint doesn’t get oxidized in the sun and therefore retains its color much longer after years of exposure.
• Environmentally friendly: latex-based paint is water based and has fewer environmental concerns during disposal or accidental spillage.
• Dries faster: it dries in about 2-6 hours, which reduces the chances of dirt, leaves, and other debris getting stuck to the paint before it completely dries.
• Latex-based paints are more widely available compared to oil-based paints.

• Doesn’t last as long when continually exposed to water.
• Causes wood grains to swell, which may require sanding in between coats and this means more labor. Skipping sanding may cause the paint to peel off much sooner in some cases.

When Should You Use Latex Paint?

Latex-based paints are widely available in a variety of formulations. Technically, today’s “latex” paints are not like the original water-based paints developed in the 1950s. There have been a lot of improvements and most “latex” paints are now predominantly acrylic. Today, you will probably be more correct by calling them water-based instead of latex-based.

Water-based paints are usually a better choice for most common painting situations such as stucco, siding (wood, fiber cement, aluminum), Plaster & drywall and decks. In reality, water-based paints can be used pretty much on any part of your house. With a few states restricting the use of oil-based paints, paint manufacturers have come up with a variety of water-based paints that can hold well on metal surfaces are other surfaces that were traditionally reserved for oil-based paints.