Paint myths busted

We bust the biggest myths about paints and painting

By Anna Simmons

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You can’t believe the old painters’ tales about the shortcomings of latex and superiority of alkyds (or oils). Paint companies have invested heavily to improve their latex products, especially since alkyd paints will likely be vanishing in Canada within the next decade.

Latex can’t be painted over alkyd

Latex sometimes has a problem adhering to glossy surfaces, but not alkyd paint specifically. Latex has no problem adhering to low-sheen alkyds, and super-adherent latex primers will always stick to a clean and sanded surface–alkyd-coated or otherwise.

Latex isn’t as durable or washable as alkyd paint

Thanks to years of R&D by paint manufacturers, many latex products are now even more durable than alkyds.

You should use only alkyd paint on exterior surfaces

Latex isn’t as brittle as alkyd, and so outperforms alkyd on many surfaces, including wood, because it remains flexible, resisting cracking as the wood expands or contracts. Alkyds continue to cure and harden over time, eventually becoming so brittle that they crack, allowing moisture to penetrate behind what should be a vapour barrier, and lifting the paint film.

Alkyd paints are better in bathrooms

All major manufacturers have latex products with added fungicides in specifically designed to resist mould and mildew growth in high-moisture areas. There are no alkyd equivalents.

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