Water Based vs Oil Based Enamel Paints

Choosing which type of paint is appropriate for your project is the most important step. We will help you decide if water or oil based enamel paints is best for your project.

What’s The Difference?

The type of solvent used in the paint is what makes the difference between oil and water based paints. Solvent is the liquid component of the paint that vaporises as the paint dries. Oil based paints use mineral turpentine in the makeup of the paint solvent, while water based paints use mainly water in their solvent.

Oil based paints give off a strong odour which is that typical paint smell. It is flammable and can have harmful effects on human health. Extended exposure to this smell can lead to headaches, nausea and skin irritation for some people. That is why opening all doors and windows for ventilation will dramatically reduce the over powering smell.

Water based paints are mainly made up of water so they release fewer odours. Making this a safer option for human health.

concrete exterior home wall painted mustard colour with window

Sheen Qualities Vary

Oil based paints certainly can have a beautiful high sheen finish. Though the sheen does become dull over time. Water based paints provide a low sheen finish and can maintain this sheen level over a longer time period.

painting equipment such as roller, lid, paint sample, tray

Durability of Both Finishes

Oil based paints dry much harder providing exceptional resistance to wear and tear. Though the paint dries harder, there is not much elasticity within the paint allowing the paint to likely crack. Becoming dry, chalky and brittle. Water based paints now days dry hard and resist damage and wear and tear. They are more flexible and are able to contract and expand with weather conditions.

Exterior building wall with two men painting

Best Use for Exterior

Water based paints function brilliantly on exterior projects. Mainly because they are much more resistant to UV rays, letting them retain sheen levels and colour over lengthy periods. The flexibility in the water based paint allows materials to contract and expand which makes it perfect for outdoor use. Oil based paint does not perform as well outdoors. It breaks down UV light and creates a chalky surface. There is barely any flexibility in the paint, so cracking is more likely to occur.

front of home with man painting double story deck

Weather Conditions Count

Water based paints don’t execute as well when applying paint in adverse weather conditions. Lower temperatures and humidity can lengthen drying times. High temperatures can cause the paint to dry too quickly. Water based paints drying time, too quick or too slow can have a large impact on the performance of the paint and finished results. Oil based paints are much more accepting of different weather conditions. Consequently humidity and extreme temperatures do not have a huge impact on application and drying times.

lovely white and black single story home with deck and big windows

Surface Conditions Matter

Water based paints can endure small amounts of humidity on a surface before application as the paint can absorb the moisture. Just remember this can thin out the paint a little but will not affect the paint’s ability to bond to the surface. Oil based paints deter water and the paint is unable to create a solid bond to the surface. As a result, any surface oil based paint will be applied to, must be completely dry before application.

close up of a paint brush leaning on a paint lid

Application Process

Oil based paints are generally slower to bond than water based paints because the oil based paint is thicker and has a stickier feel to it. Oil based paints give off a very strong chemical smell which most people call ‘that paint smell’. This can produce headaches and skin irritations if all doors and windows are not open for good ventilation. Water based paints give off much less smell.

white sheet on floor with paint tins, paint roller and tray and samples

Finally Clean Up

Water based paints are definitely easier to clean up due to the solvent being made up mainly of water. Painting equipment and brushes can be cleaned with water. Oil based paints need specialty thinners or turps to clean up equipment and brushes.

Before you start your next project, we suggest you talk to Quinns Painting & Decorating  and have a chat to the experts. They will be able to answer any questions you may have and help you choose the right paint for your next project. You can also visit Dulux comprehensive technical advice.

If you are searching for a trusted painter in Melbourne, then give us a call on (03) 8804 5840 to arrange an onsite inspection. Alternatively, complete the contact form and we’ll get back to you shortly.


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Why paint bubbles or peels and how to fix it

5 reasons why paint can bubble or peel

old weather board home with peeling paint

Let’s face it, ugly bubbling or peeling paint can turn a beautiful home into an eyesore. If it happens on interior walls or the ceiling, it can even trigger health concerns for the residents. Blistering or peeling paint also considerably reduces the attraction of your home.

Paint can begin to blister, peel or crack a couple of days to a number of years after applying a new coat of paint. It is generally common on plaster or ceilings, but wooden frames, trims, decks and bathrooms can be affected too.

Why is my paint bubbling or peeling?

Bubbling or peeling paint strikes when there is a failure of adhesion between the paint and the surface it’s applied on. Here are five main causes.

1. Water

Water is the key cause of peeling paint on ceilings and bathroom walls, as well as exterior walls. When water saturates through the coats of paint, it makes the layers detach from the surface. This develops into bubbling or peeling paint.

damp bubbled paint on concrete wall

2. High humidity

Inadequately ventilated houses can create high humidity and extreme condensation, causing peeling paint. High humidity triggers moisture build-up on walls leading to bubbling of the layers. This results in peeling layers of paint.

3. Preparation

So paint adheres properly, the surface must be sufficiently prepared. All surfaces must be cleaned, given a sand or primed before applying paint. If the paint is applied to a surface that is not primed or there is an uneven surface, it will bubble or peel.

paint cracked on plaster wall
old weather board home with white peeling paint

4. High temperature

Paint doesn’t stick well to surfaces with temperatures over the typical atmospheric range. High temperatures can make the paint dry faster, stopping the layers from developing a strong bond. Dulux recommend exterior paints be stripped back to remove the blistering before you commence painting.

5. Compatibility

Some materials contain ingredients that react with paints. New wood produces natural oils that stop paint adhesion. Glossy or smooth surfaces can’t develop a systematic adhesion with the paint so layers applied will peel off.

timber deck with peeling paint

How to fix bubbling or peeling paint

Fortunately, bubbling or peeling paint on your ceilings and walls can be fixed! this involves removing the old coats and applying a new one correctly. Make sure you wear a suitable safety mask, eye protection and clothing.

bubbled paint on ceiling around light fixture
bubbled paint on plaster wall

1. Prepare

Preparation is the key. Remove all furniture or carpet from the room and protect the floor with a drop cloth or rag. Conceal the edges of windows and doors with masking tape to protect them.

2. Removal

Use a wire brush or paint scraper to remove the old coat of paint. You can use a putty knife on resilient areas to remove old paint.

3. Surface

Repair any holes or cracks on all surfaces, making sure you smooth any uneven areas with fine sandpaper. Make sure to clean the area with a damp rag to remove any dirt from the surface.

4. Prime

Select the correct primer for the type of paint you are about to apply. Prime the surface to allow the top coat of paint to adhere.

5. Paint

Begin painting. You might need to apply several layers of paint to get the effect you want. Make sure you read the directions on the can so your paint looks just as you want it to.

If you are searching for a trusted painter in Melbourne, then give us a call on (03) 8804 5840 to arrange an onsite inspection. Alternatively, complete the contact form and we’ll get back to you shortly.

What colour should I use?

7 tips to help you choose the perfect paint colour

We all struggle with choosing the right paint colour and feeling confident with the choice. We know what colours we like, but unsure if it will work.

The main thing to remember is, there is no rules. Your home is a reflection of you. Personal items you have collected over the years. Textures and materials of all different sorts can inspire you to create a colour palette reflecting you.

1. Existing furnishings

beautiful grey couch with blue cushions and timber coffee table

Take a look at your cushions, rug, curtains and flooring to find inspiration. Three Birds Renovations look at furniture and textiles that can build a base to your room. This will allow paint colour selections become more evident.

2 Feature colour

bright blue kitchen hutch with ornaments

If you are a bit hesitant selecting a vibrant colour, why not experiment on a smaller level. Merge a neutral shade with a highlight colour. This feature could be displayed in a nook, on a door or as a feature wall.

3. Dark shades

cream leather couches with brown brick feature wall

If you are struggling to choose a colour, look at the darkest sample card at the bottom of the board. If you like that, you will be able to live with the ones at the top in the lightest shades. All the samples in the top start to look all the same.

4. Appealing objects

person holding journal at the beach relaxed

Pull inspiration from things that appeal to you like Norsu Interiors. There is always a favourite colour you like to wear. A preferred colour you always buy those fun things you carry with you like your mobile phone cover, drink bottle or journal.

5. Joyful moment

gravel driveway leading into a winery with vines

The Dulux Repair range will help you reflect back to a joyful moment such as a weekend away or holiday and encapsulate that time in your home. From natural greens to things such as wood, flowers and ground coverings.

6. Sample swatch

paint colour swatches

Test out your chosen colour. Buy a sample pot in the correct finish and have a play. Don’t go spending a fortune on litres of paint and then realise you hate it! Paint a 3 foot square piece of paper and tape it to your wall in different rooms to see how it looks in the light.

7. Decide on finishes

bedroom with neutral paint colours

After the big process of choosing a colour, then comes choosing the correct finish. Satin is best for walls because it is easy to clean. Semi-gloss and high-gloss finishes are generally used for trim accents.

If you are searching for a trusted painter in Melbourne, then give us a call on (03) 8804 5840 to arrange an onsite inspection. Alternatively, complete the contact form and we’ll get back to you shortly.


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