It can be a daunting task trying to figure out which paint base to choose, especially as the decision can have major implications on the overall finish and longevity of the paint. Applying the incorrect paint base for a certain environment can result in paint bubbling, chalking and cracking very quickly.
We've compared some of the main differences between the two and suggested where it's best to use each of them.
Based on these key differences, a good starting point is to rule out oil based paints for exteriors.
Why? Exteriors are exposed to harsher environments - UV and rain. Oil based paints have a lower UV resistance and less flexibility against surface movements.
Oil based paints are best for interiors only, on areas that require durability against scuffs and scrapes and/or a smoother, higher gloss finish. These often include timber trims, windows, doors, skirting, architraves and other timber work.
Water based paints can be used on both exteriors and interiors.
The ability to withstand harsher environments makes water based paints the best choice for exteriors, in addition to interior spaces that are damp or prone to getting wet such as kitchens and bathrooms.
They are also most commonly used for interior walls and ceilings, in addition to when a lower odour or VOC paint is preferred.