When to use Oil … Latex …. or Chalk Paint?

When to use Latex Paint - Paint Guide by Cheryl Phan

Knowing what type paint to use can be a bit confusing and a little overwhelming. I get this question a lot. The TRUTH is, there’s a simple rule to follow.


When to use Latex Paint - Paint Guide by Cheryl Phan

The most commonplace for latex paint are your interior walls, door, trim, and some furniture. There are five types of sheen that can be used: flat, matte, eggshell, satin and semi-gloss, so make sure you select the right sheen.

It really depends on your preference, but with that said; most homeowners use flat or eggshell on their walls. If you use satin or semi-gloss it will create a shine and show all the imperfections like dings and waves in the construction of the walls. Flat paint is great for low traffic areas and ceilings whereas eggshell is commonly used throughout the house because it can be easily cleaned. It also dries in 4-6 hours.

Semi-gloss is most commonly used on doors, trim and furniture because it’s more durable and easy to wash.

Oil Paint

When to use Latex Paint - Paint Guide by Cheryl Phan

Oil paint is most commonly used on trim, doors, cabinet doors, tile and metal surfaces. Although there is an odor to oil paint I like using it on interior floor boards and doors because of it durability. It should also be used on laminate and metal. One thing to remember when using oil –based paint; you CAN NOT paint over it with latex paint. Here’s how you can tell if it’s Latex or Oil Paint.  Oil-based paint dries slow. It need to dry overnight before applying a second coat.

Chalk Paint

When to use Latex Paint - Paint Guide by Cheryl Phan

I LOVE chalk paint, it can be used on just about anything. It is most commonly used on furniture but I have used it on lamps, picture frames, metal, fabric and even brick; just about anything you can think of. The best thing about chalk paint you don’t have to prime or prep your project before painting it but you should use a wax or top coat to seal it. I don’t recommend using it on kitchen cabinets but I have seen people use it on their kitchen cabinets, I just don’t think it is durable enough to withstand the everyday use.  I must admit, it’s my favorite go-to paints for repurposed furniture. Chalk paint dries usually within 20 minutes. This is one of the reasons I like using it, I can finish a project in 1-2 days.

Read how you can make your own chalk paint for half the price here.

When to use each type of paint:

Here are a few simple rules to follow.

Latex Paint:

  • Walls (Flat, matte, eggshell, satin)
  • Ceilings (flat)
  • Furniture (satin or Semi-gloss)
  • Doors, trim (semi-gloss)

Oi-based Paint:

  • Doors & Trim (Gloss, satin
  • Cabinets (gloss & satin)
  • Furniture (Gloss & satin)
  • Laminate
  • Metal

Chalk Paint

  • Furniture
  • Brick
  • Fabric
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Wood

Here is my quick and easy test to tell what kind of paint something is painted with. This is very important and will help you determine what kind of paint to use and if you need primer.

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Free Paint guide for when to use latex paint, when to use chalk paint and when to use oil-based paints. Painting Tips by Cheryl Phan