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  • Writer's pictureAdecorator

Water Based v Oil Based paints

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

With the improvement of water based products over the last few years its a complicated decision as to whether you go with tried and trusted oil based undercoats and finishes internally\externally, but with new products constantly appearing and improving water based products have now made a real claim to be cream of the crop.

Zinseer All coat Exterior has made a play to be one of the best all round applications for both external and interior finishing, and with Sadolin Superdec still one of the big game players for externals the market is overloaded with choice.

The pluses are obvious in the fact drying times for water based are reduced, smells internally are reduced and the flexibility of the product is far more than that of an oil based finish, We have also noticed the longevity to the white finish that a water based product produces.

Of course oil products will always have a place, as some scenarios will call for the use of it, previously glossed surfaces will benefit from an oil undercoat and finish, and its preference for me to still finish front doors with a more durable oil finish.

Any specialist primers, water staining issues or general problem solving will always call for oil based stain blockers, and the water based versions have some way to go to convince me they work.

But the tide has certainly turned since i was an apprentice using calcium plumbate primers, pink primers and oil based eggshell ( pass the facemask for the fumes on that one!).. 75% of the products i use now both inside and out are water based..times have changed environmentally and paint companies have had to move with the times too, customers have insisted on it!

one of the main selling points of Farrow & Ball products was the eco friendly sales point and they completely abandoned oil based products a few years ago, mainly due to VOC (volatile organic compounds) levels being near the legal limits. Nowadays they boast a healthy 0.03% VOC as opposed the to legal limit 0.29%.. a major selling point for waterbased..So you make your choices and take your pick, a few years ago i could never see the progress of waterbased taking id rarely use anything else.. Eco and decorator friendly!..

Helps on the brush clean up too!


An External completed in water based Sadolin Superdec.

Green Garage Doors and front door used traditional undercoat & Gloss

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