How Can You Tell If Your Interior Paint Is Oil or Latex-Based?

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Let’s say you just bought a home, or maybe moved into a rental where you were given flexibility regarding interior painting. The place is yours, and you can now make adjustments, changes, and updates as needed. Maybe you’ll swap that well-loved (to put it optimistically) aqua-blue bathroom color for something a bit trendier...

One thing to be sure of before you launch your interior painting project is that the paint you choose is the same kind of paint that is already on your walls; specifically, is it oil or latex-based? 

Why Is It Important to Not Put Latex-Based Paint Over Oil-Based (Or Vice Versa)?

The short version is that opposites, in this case, do not attract. Latex-based interior paint will not adhere well to oil-based, causing issues that require a lot of elbow grease to fix. It’s much easier to determine what kind you have, then either convert to the other permanently and correctly (sand the surface and use a coat of primer), or simply continue to use whichever is already on your walls.

So, Oil or Latex?

We’ll assume here that the previous owner isn’t available to help out. So, what can you do? Here are a couple of simple ideas to help you get rolling so that you can, well, get your paint rolling:

  • Old Cans? – This may seem simplistic, but it’s so simple it might just work. If you bought an older home, there is a chance that used paint cans were stored somewhere in the shed, basement, or garage. Scout around to see if you can find the leftovers!
  • The Alcohol Test - First, gently wash a section of your wall with a light detergent mixed in warm water, then dry the spot with a clean towel. Finally, rub a cotton ball soaked with rubbing alcohol over the area. If the paint comes off, you have latex-based paint. If it does not, you have oil-based.

Do You Need a Professional Painting Company?

If so, and you live in Buellton, Grover Beach, or elsewhere on the Central Coast, why not give us a call at New Life Painting? We would love to help in any way we can!