Water Based v Oil-Based Paints for Exterior


Hello and thanks for your time.

I am about to instruct a decorator to refurbish (they are in a poor state) and paint my soffits and fascia boards. This is a big job as the soffits are a metre deep.

I was reading your very interesting comments regarding water v oil-based paints on exterior woodwork. I have just asked that a quotation be given for oil-based paint but now am thinking I should change to water-based paint instead.

Are you still of the opinion that water-based paints used on exterior paintwork are the best practice? I would be very grateful for your advice.

Regards Lindy B


Hi Lindy

My general rule of thumb is that if oil-based paint was used before then it is better to repaint with oil-based paint than to switch to water-based.

In all cases for exterior woodwork I would highly recommend using dulux weathershield paint because of its superior flexibility over the long term as opposed to regular, general purpose paints. It’s available in water and oil-based forms too.

If you insist your decorator uses this, there is a an extra cost but it is well worth it. Just make sure he actually uses it (some cheeky people will just use regular paint and charge you the extra anyways).

Hope that helps?


Nick – I’m getting a log cabin style shed and the manufacturers state it should be treated with oil based coating. Is this really necessary (old school)? I thought that water based ones which are more flexible would be better. Can you advise please? READ MORE…

Yes, a water-based coating would probably be better although manufacturers tend to err on the side of caution. There is an established belief that oil based products are better though there is no evidence to suggest this is the case.