When to use oil paint


A lot of our customers at Court-Hampton Painting ask us when to use oil paint. Is it even still made? What is oil paints use in this day and age? Find out in this blog post!

When to use oil paint in different situations:

We aren’t talking about these new waterborne alkyd hybrids that clean up with water in this post. We are talking about old school oil based alkyd paint. In most situations the waterborne alkyd paint is great for most trim and woodwork and holds up very well. Indeed they eliminate most uses for old school oil paint.

So when to use oil paint? The short answer is wherever you have hand contact with the wood surface you are painting. The oils in your hands will break down any water based paint (including waterborne lacquer in most cases).

One example is painted banisters and hand railings. These come into hand oil contact on a daily basis and if painted with a water based paint of any kind will deteriorate quite quickly. Nothing dries as hard as an oil based paint in this situation and it is the best paint for the job. A lot of these oil paints have been relabeled under “rust paint” for green regulations. Benjamin Moore still makes Collection Satin oil paint.

railing painted with oil paint
Railing painted with oil paint

Another situation where your hands come into contact with the wood surface is kitchen cabinets. A lot of high end homes in Toronto have custom cabinets built and there is a desire for a hand painted oil based finish. Have you had your cabinets painted but the finish is deteriorating just around the door handles? That’s waterborne paint. Below is a picture of cabinets we repainted in Moore Park in Toronto in Benjamin Moore Collection Satin oil based paint. The finish worked out great!

kitchen cabinets in oil paint
Kitchen cabinets in oil based paint

Really the use of oil paint is limited these days and for good reason as it is hard to work with, flammable, smells, and isn’t great for the health of the painter. It does still have its place for durability in these circumstances though. There are other circumstances where it can be used in industrial and commercial painting but this is all we would consider using it for in residential painting.

We hope we have answered the question of when to use oil paint and hope you will consider Court-Hampton Painting when you are looking for painting services in Etobicoke, Toronto and the GTA.

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