If you’ve ever wondered what the difference between oil based and water based (or Acrylic) paint was, wonder no more.
Oil based paint has been around for centuries. Until fairly recently it was what the professionals used. But Acrylic has come a long way and is technically much better than it used to be. I have it on good authority that water based paint can do almost everything you’ll need.
So here are the pros and cons.
Oil Based Paint – Pros
- Dries hard and resists knocks.
- If correctly applied can achieve a smoother more even gloss finish.
Therefore Oil based paints are good for internal doors, external doors (that have some shelter from the elements), internal trims and skirting boards: All surfaces that get bumped into a lot.
Oil Based Paint – Cons
- Smells for a few days. Anywhere from ‘not too bad’ to ‘abandon the house’.
- Slow to dry. The second and third coats usually have to wait 24 hours.
- Messy (and smelly) to clean up. Turps has to used to clean brushes etc.
- Becomes brittle in the elements. Australian sun, rain and dust are tough on exposed painted surfaces. Oil based paint’s ‘hardness’ becomes a liability, as constant expansion and contraction eventually cracks the surface.
Water based (Acrylic) paints – Pros
- Dries quickly. Can often be re-coated in 2 hours.
- Has very little smell.
- Washes out in water.
- More choices of can size/finish.
- Dries to a kind of ‘rubbery’ skin which can stretch and contract without cracking in the sun and rain.
Therefore Acrylic paints are good for external windows and other exposed wood work, and all interior walls and ceilings.
Water based (Acrylic) paints – Cons
- Hard to sand back – especially gloss finish.
- Gloss finish rips when bumped.
- Can get very gluggy on hot days and dry too fast on surfaces and brushes.
So it seems that paint, like so many things in life, is a case of ‘horses for courses’.
PS. If you have a painting problem click here and I'd be happy to help.
I was working at a clients place in Mosman when a plumber pulled up. Without even looking at the job he had to do, he grabbed two wrenches and a rag and dashed inside.
I looked down at the tools I had spread around me. It looked like an explosion at a Bunnings.
Being a handyman has a tremendous variety of work, which is why I like the trade so much. BUT each type of job has a required range of tools: woodworking tools, painting tools, plastering tools, tiling tools etc. As a result, handymen need many more tools than a regular specialist tradesman.
So when my quote comes to you please bear in mind, a lot of that money goes into overheads ... such as tools.
PS. If you have a painter or handyman with ALL the gear click here and I'd be happy to help.
Paint is not wine: it definitely does not improve with age. Acrylic paint can actually go rotten with a smell like nothing on earth!
Well-stored paint may be usable for a year or two. But by ‘usable’ I mean it still has lumps and bits of rust from the can.
Recycled paint seems like such a hidden bargain. But its not. For a saving of perhaps 10% on the whole job you get a lumpy, off-colour, short-lived result.
So when my clients say they have a can of paint under the house I nearly always suggest we leave it there and buy a brand new can of pristine, long lasting, correctly coloured paint.
(By the way, this method doesn't put any more money in my pocket. In fact it costs me extra time and effort to dig a sample out of your home, take it to the paint shop, wait for a match to be made, then return to your place to patch the hole up!)
I’ll leave you with the advice of my neighbour’s Dad when it comes to doing a quality paint job: “Do you want the same amount of work to last 5 years or 10?”
If you need a Mosman painter or lower north shore painter who specialises in small interior jobs, let's talk.
I’m in Bunnings a lot and I often overhear conversations – OK I snoop. It always amuses me when I hear customers asking the sales assistants ‘how’ to do something as if they were talking to a qualified tradesman.
A lot of people (my wife included) think sales staff should be experts in their field. But it’s been my experience that you don’t get experts by paying minimum retail wage.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Some of the sales staff are very good … at their jobs. The paint mixing guys have a real eye and skill for matching a faded sample chip from someones wall.
But can they scrape, sand, wash, fill, bind, prime and paint an ancient window sill? Probably not because they are SELLING stuff, they are not USING stuff.
PS> Additional thought: Bunnings is basically Coles for hardware. Would you ask a Coles shop assistant how to cook a meal using their grocery items?
I've been drawing and painting since I was a kid. I've studied art and design and have worked in visual areas my whole life. Now I'm a house painter!