When you’re ready to paint the interior of your home, you’ll need to decide if you want to use oil-based paint or latex paint. Both types of paint have unique pros and cons, and there are special considerations to keep in mind, as well. Here’s a look at both of these paint options and the information you need to make the right decision for your home.

Latex Paint

Latex paint is water-based paint, and it offers several advantages. This type of paint dries much faster than oil paint, which reduces the time you need to wait to get your home back to normal. It also won’t yellow over time, so you’ll keep that beautiful, bright look for many years. You can easily clean up latex paint with just water and soap, which makes it a more forgiving choice. If you’re interested in going green, latex is the greener choice.

However, there’s one primary disadvantage to consider if you’re considering latex paint. Latex paint causes the grain of wood to swell. This means you’ll need to sand wood between coats.

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint offers its own unique set of advantages, including the fact that it offers smoother application. This paint also covers walls more thoroughly in a single coat, which reduces the time you spend painting. While it does take a bit longer to dry than latex paint, this gives you more working time, so you avoid mistakes. Oil-based paint also holds up well, even in high-traffic areas of your home.

Unfortunately, oil-based paint is more likely to yellow, fade or crack over time, so it won’t look good as long. The fumes from this type of paint can be overwhelming, as well, so proper ventilation is essential. You’ll also need turpentine or mineral spirits to clean up your paintbrushes.

When using oil-based paint, it’s important to never pour this type of paint down the drain, since it’s considered a hazardous chemical. You’ll also need to be careful when disposing of this type of paint, since local waste management agencies regulate the disposal of hazardous waste.

No matter what type of paint you choose, realize that all paint contains chemicals, so always make sure you wear gloves to minimize skin exposure. If you’re still not sure what type of paint to use, talk to a painting expert, who can offer advice based upon your interior painting project.