Painting Tip: Latex or Oil Based Paint??


We have officially been in our house for a month! We had a lot of plans for these first few weeks, however they were a little sidelined with Sprout arriving 5 weeks early! Now that things have settled back down a little bit we are trying to find a few spare minutes to finish up some house projects that were on our immediate hit list when we moved in. 

One of those projects was painting our front door and shutters. They were a tealy/blue color that had faded and with the pinkish brick, they didn’t scream welcome home. So when III’s dad was here they made magic happen! 

Before painting the door it was important do find out if the old paint was latex or oil based. If the paint is latex we could go ahead and simply paint over the old door. However, if the paint is oil based, then you want to make sure you use an oil primer before painting the new color.


It sounds complicated, but it’s a pretty simple test. All you need is rubbing alcohol and a cotton cloth/paper towel. First, you want to wipe down the door with some soap and water to make sure all dirt is removed. Then pour a little rubbing alcohol onto the cotton cloth. Rub it on the door. If the old paint comes off, it’s a latex paint and you can go ahead and paint right over it with your new exterior latex color. If the paint doesn’t come off on the cloth then it’s oil based and you will want to make sure you coat the door with an oil primer before painting the new color!


Fortunately, paint came off when we did the test so we only needed the new latex color. We used Sherman Williams, Naval for both the front door and shutters. And I must admit I’m really digging the new color!


Happy Wednesday folks! 


4 thoughts on “Painting Tip: Latex or Oil Based Paint??”

  • I appreciate the tips for painting. I didn’t know about doing this test to see if the old paint is oil based or latex, so that is really helpful. I will have to remember to use rubbing alcohol the next time I need to paint!

  • Thanks so much for the impressive little tip! I had no idea there was even a difference between the two but after seeing the before and after pictures and the side by side comparison, it seems to be a no brainer on what to do! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Congratulations on your new house. This is an interesting trick. My house needs paint touch up so this post is a reminder to me to get going. Thank you.

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