By Melissa Wynn

paintbrush and can of paint

When faced with a painting project the choice is always the same, latex or oil based. Both options offer a great end product, so why choose one over the other? Here are a few pros and cons from Ace Hardware to help us all decide.

Latex paint is popular because it can be thinned with water and is fairly odorless. Tool cleanup is a breeze when using water based latex. Simply soak and rinse rollers and brushes in water and air dry. Latex also adheres well, even on damp surfaces. The pros prefer latex for walls and ceilings. On the down side latex paint takes up to seven days to harden for daily use and up to thirty days to fully cure. Latex paints are inferior to oil based if a very glossy finish is your goal.

Oil based paints dry quickly to a hard, glossy finish but during the drying process emit strong odors. Mineral spirits or other chemical thinners are necessary to thin oil based paints and for tool cleanup. A dry surface is must when choosing this option as oil and water just don’t mix. Any damp areas are doomed to peel. The pros like oil based paints for wood surfaces, such as window sills and baseboards. This option covers the wood grain vs raising it into view and dries to a hard smooth shiny finish.

Which paint is better for your newest project? No matter which you choose, you are sure to find the supplies and advise at your local Ace Hardware Store. You can even do it yourself using the many helpful tips online at Happy painting.

Facts courtesy of