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Should I Use Oil or Latex to Paint my Home? !

Should I Use Oil or Latex to Paint my Home?

When painting your home, one of the first considerations that you’ll have to make is what paint you want to use to do the job! Often that decision comes down to two major types: Latex (i.e. Waterbase) or Oil. Both kinds of paints have their own unique strengths and weaknesses.

Oil based paints—which contain natural and synthetic resins—are rarely used for interior walls and trim these days. This is because they contain high levels of VOCS (volatile organic compounds) that can be unsafe indoors. VOCS are organic chemical compounds that can vaporize and become airborne under minimal pressure. One reason that oil based paint has such a strong smell is due to the VOCS evaporating into the air. It’s a bad idea to have paint that sometimes causes smog in the air to be on the inside of your home. If you’re going to use them—use them on outside surfaces!

Besides the health hazards, oil based paint is famously difficult to clean up (requiring paint thinner) and dries incredibly slowly (8-24 hours). It’s also more likely to fade, crack, and turn yellow with age. So is oil good for anything you may ask? And the answer would be YES! For example, it’s ideal for painting exterior metal. When applied to metal, it goes on smoother than latex, shrinks less, and it requires less coats. Oil based wood stains and primers are also a highly recommended coating for raw wood.

Latex paint, on the other hand, is better for the environment, less hazardous for your health, has milder odors, dries fast, is easy to clean up, and doesn’t discolor or turn yellow overtime. Different kinds of waterborne paints are geared for different surfaces. For exterior/outdoor painting alkyd-modified latex is a good choice. But when it comes to interior/indoor jobs, acrylic is your best bet.

Despite Latex paints countless strengths, DO NOT use it on bare steel or on the grain of raw wood, without first priming the surfaces. These are jobs that are best reserved for oil based coatings. Oil based paint may be less popular than it was twenty years ago, but there are still particular jobs that it is best suited for: steel and raw wood are two of them.

MB Jessee is the premier painting outfit in the San Francisco Bay Area and we’re happy to help with all of your painting needs. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions related to any and all things painting related!

Note: There are exceptions to the rules above about oil based paints. Sometimes oil finishes, inside, look amazing. So if you don't have children in the home or have breathing problems, oil finishes are beautiful.

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Customer Reviews

“Charles finished yesterday and did a fantastic job. We really enjoyed meeting Charles and having him in our home. He is a great guy in addition to his attention to detail in his work, the protection of our floors, walls and furnishings, and his overall interaction with us both. I would be pleased to recommend him to any of my clients.”

— Ken Morrison

“M.B. Jessee painted the exterior of my Spanish house over 9 years ago, and they did such an incredible job that they are still getting referrals from me today. The paint is holding up perfectly -- there is absolutely no peeling chipping or any other deterioration. I still remember that my final walk-through list consisted of items written on one side of a 3x5 index card (and I'm REAL picky about my house!) However, when Matt and I did that walk-through over HALF the items were no longer an issue, as his team had noticed them first and they had already been resolved.”

— JoAnn Newcomb

“The finish on my kitchen cabinets had failed, becoming tacky and grimy around the handles. M B Jessee gave me a reasonable quote, far below some others, and did an outstanding job, striping the original varnish and refinishing with a new lacquer finish. The cabinets look like new. Work was done 1 day faster than estimated. The crew was extremely hard-working, considerate, and neat. Highly recommend M B Jessee.”

— Thama B.
San Francisco, CA

“Many thanks to Rigoberto and Damon and the extraordinary team who transformed my castle in the skies.They are magicians. I appreciate their work very much.”

— Kathleen A
San Francisco

“The entire MB Jessee team is courteous, efficient and professional. From scheduling and estimating to the crew managers and crew, they all did an excellent job on a small (but complicated) two room project in my house. I'm already thinking about getting them scheduled for the next project in the spring.”

— Cari Cheney

“Just had MB Jessee paint the interior of our house and they did a wonderful job. They tackled some crazy wallpaper as well as painted some very high ceilings and walls. The whole process was quick and they did a great job! We are very pleased. I was also very impressed by the crew. They were very personable, kind and actually took pride in the work they were doing. In one of our conversations with the lead Ricardo, he actually told me he was very proud of how the rooms had turned out. I agree sir! It turned out great and it's not often you hear someone thinking of your home like they would theirs, and putting that level of work and quality into it. That made a huge difference in how I viewed this company. Ricardo, you were fantastic and thank you for the great job, we will be using you again.”

— Jeff M.
Danville, CA

“I cannot imagine finer painters--and I have worked with many. They work exceptionally hard. It is a joy to see their workmanship!”

— Alicia R.

“Thank you for the support you have given the Women's Cancer Resource Center over the past year!”

— Margo - Director Women's Cancer Resource Center

“MB Jessee just finished our exterior and we couldn't be happier with our experience. The foreman (Pedro) and lead painter (Ricardo) were incredible to work with: they communicated scheduling clearly, Ricardo was a joy to be around every day, the showed up early every day, were incredibly tidy and did great paint work. The final walk through experience was incredible. Pedro pointed out items I missed demonstrating a clear desire to complete another quality project. I highly recommend them. As others have noted they definitely aren't the cheapest but you quickly realize that you're getting what you pay for. The 3 year guarantee is also a nice touch since there are likely touch up items that will show up after the job is done.”

— Joshua Jansen

“We just wanted to let you know how pleased we are with the work of MB Jessee Painting and your employees. Everything turned out beautiful. Our foreman was great! He was punctual, professional, neat and very accommodating ... and went the extra mile. We will definitely recommend you to our friends and family.”

— Michelle & Rivers Gee

“I love the article in the paper on your company. Thank you for supporting our community by painting at the Claremont Middle School. Thanks!”

— Carla Banks

“Just wanted to let you know that the crew was great to have around the house for the past two weeks. All three of them were professional, courteous, and attentive to my thoughts/concerns and were extremely knowledgeable. They paid great attention to the detail and it shows.”

— Mark & Roberta Gross