Quick Tip: Oil or Latex?

by Melissa {The Dominion Project}

While we’re on the subject of paint, here’s a quick tip for determining if your existing trim is covered in oil or latex paint.

Most interior woodwork (trim, doors, cabinetry) is coated with oil-based paint. Although it’s rather messy to clean up, oil-based has a better look when you’re painting semi-gloss or high-gloss trim. Oil-based takes a little longer to dry, but it won’t show as many brush strokes as latex. So if given the option, I’d always choose oil-based paint for trim.

Our existing trim was covered in oil-based paint. But before we purchased 5 gallons of the new color, I wanted to be absolutely sure. Oil-based paint will adhere to latex, but latex won’t adhere to oil. So if it was originally painted with oil, you better repaint with oil.

Here’s the 5 second way to find out: rubbing alcohol + cotton balls.

Put a little alcohol on a cotton ball (or an old rag) & rub it on the paint in question. It’s a good idea to do this in an inconspicuous area. If paint comes off on your cotton ball, it’s latex. If not, it’s oil based.

So there you have it. Give it a try & let me know how it goes – Happy Painting!

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One Comment to “Quick Tip: Oil or Latex?”

  1. Good to know – we’ll want to paint sometime soon (whether we stay or sell).

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