Bob Vila Radio: Is This the End of Oil-Based Paint?

Health and environmental concerns aside, oil-based paint used to provide the best finish. But thanks to advancements in manufacturing, safer formulations now perform equally well, if not better.

By Bob Vila | Updated Aug 31, 2016 7:13 PM

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For decades, if you wanted a smooth, resilient finish for a project you were painting, you would turn to oil-based paints. They adhered better than water-based paints, left fewer brush marks, and created a rock-hard finish.

Pros and Cons of Oil-Based Paint


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Listen to BOB VILA ON OIL-BASED PAINT or read the text below:

Balanced against the advantages of oil-based paints are a set of significant drawbacks, including long drying times and more difficult cleanup, not to mention health and environmental concerns.

Increasingly, consumers are choosing latex and acrylic paints instead of oil-based. So are they settling for a sub-par finish? Not anymore, it seems.

Paint producers have been fiddling with new additives that help water-based paints mimic the good qualities of their oil-based cousins, but without the health concerns. In fact, development of acrylic paints has progressed to the point where many products actually surpass the performance of oil-based. They’re generally less expensive too.

Bottom line: New water-based and acrylics combine the best of two worlds, and that makes them worth a serious look when you’re planning your next painting project.

Bob Vila Radio is a daily radio spot carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.