Switching from an Oil-Based Interior House Paint System to a Latex System

Over the past several years due to government regulation in the Mid-Atlantic region, paint manufacturing companies have slowly phased out oil-based paints. Back in 2005 when the new regulations were starting to be phased in, you could even find painters and homeowner trying to stockpile oil-based products. Today when you go to any paint store and ask for oil-based paint they will only sell you quart sized cans. The only oil-based paint available in gallon sized cans is formulated for use on metal surfaces, not wood. The main problem with oil-based paint products is that they emit volatile organic compounds (VOC’s)  which have a strong odor and  when dry interact with sun and heat to create ozone pollution.

When I talk to people who have an old oil-based interior system, I get a lot of questions from concerned homeowners who are wary of switching to a latex system but know that it must be done. Below are some tips O’Connor’s Painting Service uses when working with oil to latex on wood trim such as crown moulding, doors, baseboard, chair rails, interior windows, etc.

Preparation Tips

  • Lightly sand trim with 100 grit sand paper.
  • Clean trim with vacuum or dust with old paint brush.

Painting Using Oil Primer and Latex Top Coat

  • Apply one coat of oil primer like Zinsser cover stain which is a quick drying primer. If you are looking for a low odor oil primer, Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore carry low odor products that also dry quickly.
  • Apply two top coats of acrylic latex paint like Sherwin Williams, Duron, Benjamin Moore or McCormick.

Painting Using Latex Primer and Latex Top Coat

  • Apply one coat Zinsser 1-2-3 Primer Sealer. This product will bond to slick surfaces like oil.
  • Apply two top coats of acrylic latex paint.
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