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Water-based or Oil-based: Always read the label

Posted by Adrian
August 15th, 2011

Water-based or Oil-based paint? Always read the label

When you buy paint you should always read the label printed on the tin, not only to see what the manufactures say you should do, but also to find out the type of paint you are using.

Sounds like a silly question, but if you are using a gloss or satinwood finish, is it water-based (or acrylic) or is it an oil-based product?

By knowing weather it is water-based or oil-based it will determine a few things, such as drying times, the application method you may want to use, and what you need to use to clean your brushes with, either water or brush cleaner/white spirit.

Things to look out for;
The symbols on the tin. It should have a symbol saying “clean brushes with water” or “clean brushes with brush cleaner” for oil based paints.
The VOC level will be low to medium on water-based paint and high on oil based.

Why do you need to know this information?

Knowing if the paint your using is oil or water based could help you make a decision about what type of paint to buy, if you prefer oil-based paints as you find them easier to work with than water-based paint, or do you prefer water-based as it dries quicker? As you need to get a job done before it rains, or the kids come home!

It also good to know if you can simply wash your brushes in water or if you have to wash then in brush cleaner such as white spirit. You don’t want to be washing them out in the wrong thing, or storing them incorrectly as this will ruin your brush.

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