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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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“Today I received a beautiful bouquet from your company. It was totally unexpected and very much appreciated--a lovely surprise. Also today, your crew finished my job. I am so pleased with all their fine work. Richard is absolutely amazing and a total delight to work with. He was also extremely helpful during the paint color process. The interior work in my home far exceeded my expectations. A big thank you to you and the crew for an outstanding job. Thank you, thank you for a terrific job!”

— Barbara

“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

“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

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“Julie, by the way, I have never been so impressed with the service of a painting job before! It was like magical elves came and painted our walls without us having to do a thing! It looks amazing and just wanted to let you know how happy we are. Thanks”

— Anja

“The kitchen looks NEW! You guys are amazing.”

“Everyone I dealt with was nice, helpful, and very professional. The price was reasonable! (I didn't feel like I was getting the "San Francisco price." The attention to detail and work quality was excellent. They did what they said they would do in the exact timeframe they said they would do. Highly recommend!”

— Tim Tyson

“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 people at M.B. Jessee are great – from the painters to the office staff to Matt. Talk about leadership from the top.”

— Kevin Ames, Mark Becker Homes

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— Heidi B
Walnut Creek

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— Carla Banks

“I want to express my thanks for a job well done. The rooms look great and there is no problem with any marks on the all the trim, floor, carpet, etc. The paint job is lovely. I also want to express my thanks for the level of professionalism the foreman showed in running the job. He was very attentive to any changes I needed to make, was extremely careful in getting the faux paint color and effect correct. Thanks so much for a job well done.”

— Suzan D’Arcy