How to Paint Your House Using Oil Paint

By Stevie Donald
Choose a dry sunny day
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Oil base paint is rarely used any more for painting a home's exterior because acrylic (water-based) paints have improved and are more durable. Additionally, oil based paint is a lower quality now, since it has been changed to conform to EPA standards. It is still used for painting interior trim because nothing equals the gloss and durablity. Exterior oil based paints are still used occasionally for both houses and barns.

Use Exterior Oil-Based Paint

Be aware of the limitations of using oil-based paint on the exterior of a home. The surface must be bone dry. Bugs seem to be attracted to the smell and will stick in the slow-drying paint, and so will flying cottonwood seeds or other airborne contaminants. You need several very dry days before you start applying paint, and a dry, warm, still day to do the actual painting. Oil-based paint is more likely to bubble or fail when moisture on the inside of a house is drawn through the wood siding outside. This is why oil based paint works fine for uninsulated barns and fences, but is usually not the best choice for a home exterior. It works better on vinyl, metal or aluminum siding than it does on brick or wood.

Look for a breathable oil-based paint, which will allow limited passage through the membrane of the paint film and is not as likely to bubble, crack or peel. Go to a proper paint store for good exterior oil based paint. It is unlikely you will find these products at "big box" home improvement stores. Oil based paint may be applied over latex paints and primers, or over oil based paints. When using oil based paint on new wood, an oil based primer as the first coat is the better choice, although latex will work if you give it sufficient drying time.

Use proper application procedures. With spray equipment you need a smaller aperture tip than you'd use for latex paints because oil based paint is less viscous. Also, you will have to mask and cover absolutely everything for some distance around the work area, because the paint will drift and still be wet when it lands. Be especially careful with cars! Completely mask all windows and anything else you don't want overspray on. Use heavy dropcloths to protect flowers and landscaping. For brushing and rolling, use good quality bristle brushes and lambskin rollers.

Clean all equipment and yourself, with paint thinner or mineral spirits. If some of the paint has dried, use a razor knife if it's on a smooth surface, or acetone on other surfaces. When using acetone, make sure it won't damage the underlying material first.

Use Interior Oil-Based Paint

Use oil-based paint on interior trim and woodwork for an unparalleled smooth and durable finish. The two main disadvantages of oil-based paint is it's impossible to touch it up seamlessly once it is dry without painting the whole surface, and it is both slower to work with and takes longer to dry.

Spray new woodwork in a new home or addition. Spray a coat of primer first. Once the primer is dry, caulk and fill all gaps, seams and nail holes. Spray two coats of oil based paint, allowing adequate drying time in between coats. Do full, even coats. Before spraying baseboard, ensure the floor is vacuumed up and spotless otherwise debris will fly onto the fresh paint.

Mask off all your freshly painted trim using a handmasker, which allows you to apply masking tape and paper in one step. If you are spraying the walls and ceiling in a new build, completely "bag" all the trim to protect it from overspray.

Use a bristle brush and lambswool or mohair roller to do trim or paneling in a repaint job. Always do your brush work before rolling, and work in small enough sections that you are keeping a wet edge at all times. Brush or roll with the grain of the wood. Check back on areas you have just finished to catch drips and runs before they start to set up.

Understand that oil-based paint cures much faster than water-based paint, although it dries slower. Water-based paint film dries from the outside in, meaning the surface will feel dry but the paint underneath is still tacky. It can take up to a month to completely cure. Oil based paint dries from the inside out, When it feels completely dry and hard, usually within twelve hours, it is cured.

About the Author

Author: Raw Dog Food (winner Maxwell award 2003.) Active competitor in dog agility and obedience. World traveller. Own two businesses: house and faux painting, and petsitting. Author: Knack Dog Care and Training, Knack Dog Tricks, Knack Puppies. Globe Pequot Press, pub date 2009-2010