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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

“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

“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

“Matt, Julie & Ricardo, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank the three of you for the wonderful job you did in hosting the SFBA NARI Chapter Meeting on Wednesday evening. Everything was perfect from beginning to end. Members and guests alike walked away with a truly positive experience. The "painter for a day" and the cookies in the paint cans were an absolute brilliant touch and received rave reviews. What a wonderful way to do such positive marketing. Thanks again for a truly memorable experience for our members and guests. You are valued as a NARI member.”

— Judy Tufo, SFBA NARI Executive Director

“Matt, We are very happy with how all of the painting worked out. We were extremely impressed with the quality of the work in the bathroom. I liked working with Victor, he and Marvin were extremely conscientious about doing a great job, not just the minimum. I know the front door took a lot longer than you'd expected. But they did it PERFECTLY. We never thought it could turn out like that! Thanks again for the great work. We'll be calling you again in the future!”

— Craig
Alameda, CA

“Julie,Just to let you know I am very appreciative of your crew catching the plumbing/mold problem. It was very astute of them. I wanted to let you know that again your crew has done excellent work here, please pass this along to Mr. Jessee. There are some bumps in the road here, but the painting and your crew has not been one of them. Their work is the only thing going right currently, and this crew is very nice and respectful. It is much appreciated. Thank you again.”

— Beth
Oakland

“I just wanted to thank you all for doing such a phenomenal job on our recent house painting. We are very happy with the outcome and can't say enough good things about the crew. Everyone working on the project was outstanding and made it a great experience. Thanks to everyone.”

— Daylan
Piedmont

“Our paint crew did a great job and the foreman, Gersson was exceptionally great to work with. He was always available to answer questions, good at problem-solving, very patient, kind, and highly professional with great customer service. We definitely recommend this company, and Gersson and his crew.”

— Andrea Y.
Berkeley, CA

“I just wanted to send you an email to say that John did such a great job over here today. He is truly a hard worker. He has the perfect balance of friendliness, honesty, and professionalism. I trust him. He takes the time to do the job to the best of his ability and that is what sets him (and your company) apart from the competition. He didn't make me feel rushed. He really made me feel like our job was the most important thing in the world. Thanks again!”

— Jo
Oakland

“Edy and crew are hard at work. They are doing a great job. Very professional outfit you have. Your crew is a delight. You may use me for a reference!”

— Heidi B
Walnut Creek

“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

“In all the years I've worked with MB Jessee, I'm always so impressed by your crews. They are so respectful of everything--you never even know they're there! Except that the paint looks amazing when they're gone. We've had one showing of our home and already have an offer. I'm sure it is because the paint looks so beautiful.”

— Erin T.
Pleasant Hill

“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