The Different Types of Water-Based Paints

Bucket of white paint with a brush and a roller

Oil or water-based — which kind of paint is better? Both types of paint have their own pros and cons, but water-based paint is more popular for most applications. That’s because it has so many great attributes and it’s very easy to use. It’s also one of the most eco-friendly painting options available.

What Makes Water-Based Paint So Different?

Every paint is composed of pigments and binders in a carrying medium or base. That strong smell you probably associate with paints from years ago was due to the oil base that was so common back then. That ‘paint smell’ was made worse by the toxic turpentine or mineral spirits necessary for the cleanup. Water-based paint uses simple water as a base. It also cleans up easily with just soap and more water. 

Even though it requires fewer chemicals than the alternative, water-based paint offers durable, long-lasting coverage in interior and exterior applications. High-quality water-based paint can even be cleaned when necessary without being washed away with the scrub water.

The Pros and Cons of Water-Based Paint

No paint is perfect for every application. We’ve listed most of the pros and cons of water-based paints below, so you can decide if this is the right kind of paint for your unique project.


  • Easy to roll on smoothly and evenly
  • No toxic chemicals required for cleanup
  • No toxic fumes
  • Flexible and crack-resistant
  • Resists yellowing and fading
  • Resistant to stains and mildew
  • Scrubbable and durable   
  • Adheres to most surfaces (wood, brick, stucco, concrete, vinyl siding, aluminum siding, galvanized metal, and more)
  • Excellent adhesion equals much less blistering, flaking, and peeling
  • Quick-drying (one to six hours)
  • Easy cleanup with just soap and water


  • Must be applied at temperatures of 50 degrees Fahrenheit or above 
  • Not as good as oil-based paint in humid, damp, or wet exterior locations
  • Adheres poorly to glossy, shiny, or raw metal surfaces
  • Raw wood must be primed first to avoid raising the wood grain
  • Proper techniques must be used to avoid leaving brush strokes

Which Water-Based Paint: Acrylic or Latex?

There are so many varieties of water-based paints available that trying to choose one often seems overwhelming. You’ll have to balance application, quality, durability, and budget to find the one that best meets your needs.

Neither type of water-based paint can quite match the durability of oil paint yet. However, manufacturers are constantly inching closer to matching the gold standard of durable paints. At this point, high-quality 100% acrylic paint will last a decade or more when used outside, even in Metro Phoenix. That’s a dramatic and relatively recent improvement.  

Acrylic Paint

This type of water-based paint generally has a higher concentration of resilient acrylic polymers than you’ll find in latex paint. That gives it better adhesion and durability than the less expensive latex water-based paint. Is it worth the extra cost when painting interior walls or ceilings? Probably not, since those areas get redecorated fairly often anyway.

Save this pricier paint for projects that need extra durability, like kitchen cabinets, exterior doors and trim, and other areas that see hard use or endure Phoenix’s monsoon rains and blistering heat. If you’re painting your home’s exterior, you’ll want to choose high-quality paint that’s 100% acrylic. You’ll pay quite a bit more for it, but the money you’ll save in labor costs by not having to repaint your home after just a few years will more than makeup for the price difference.

Latex Paint

Since this paint contains a lower percentage of those expensive acrylic polymers, it’s significantly less expensive than a similar quality acrylic paint. However, you’ll notice little to no difference on your interior walls. You will notice the greater coverage you’ll get for a lower price. 

Call on the Pros for Your Next Phoenix Painting Project

Are you searching for a painting professional in the Phoenix area? Well, look no further! As a second-generation painter, I learned from the best — my father. Now I run this family-owned business with the same passion and commitment to quality and customer service that I learned while working with him.

Whether you need drywall or stucco repair, hardwood floor refinishing, or painting of any kind, we’ll give you results you’ll love. You’ll especially love how easy and inexpensive a kitchen or bath makeover is when you have us lacquer your cabinets. You’ll get a fresh new look at a fraction of the cost and time of a complete remodel.

For more information about any of our services or the premium quality acrylic paint we use, give us a call at (623) 303-7979. You can also contact us to request a free quote on your next project!


Image Source:  Akimov Igor / Shutterstock