Getting Started with Water Based Gloss

I’m having a quick look at water based gloss paint. We’re all familiar with traditional oil-based paints but water-based gloss paints have come on a long way and now offer some major advantages. I’m confronting my demons and doing a quick test of a couple of water-based gloss paints.

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Water Based vs Oil Based White Gloss Paint, which is best? Test Tuesday!
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  • I’ve got a pot of Leyland Fast Drying Water Based Gloss and some Dulux Trade Water Based Gloss. I’ve also got a pot of oil-based Dulux Once to compare them against. I started off by painting a panel of 18mm standard MDF with Leyland Acrylic Primer Undercoat. Once the primer was allowed to dry overnight I then used Frogtape to mask off the board in to 6 panels. I’m trying out:
  • Leyland Fast Drying Water Based Gloss (1 & 2 coats)
  • Dulux Trade Quick Dry Water Based Gloss (1 & 2 coats)
  • Dulux Once Oil Based Gloss (1 & 2 coats)

Water Based Gloss Painting Tips

  1. Use a synthetic brush -- I like T-Class Delta
  2. You can dampen the surface
  3. Work quickly!
  4. Foam rollers are fine with practice
  5. Rollers with concave ends can help to reduce tram-lining

Oil Based Cons

  • Turns Yellow
  • Long Drying Times
  • Paint Fumes
  • Not Great Around Kids
  • Solvent Needed For Clean-Up

Oil Based Pros

  • More Glossy
  • Longer Working Time

Water Based Cons

  • Not As Glossy
  • Need To Work Quickly
  • Watch For Paint Balling Up

Water Based Pros

  • Doesn’t Turn Yellow
  • Dries REALLY Quickly
  • No Nasty Fumes
  • Water Clean-Up


The Leyland paint dried VERY quickly -- touch-dry in about 10 minutes. The Dulux Trade took about an hour to dry. The Leyland paint was a pleasure to work with -- no issues other than the fact that it wasn’t as glossy. The Dulux tended to ball-up if you painted over a section that had started to dry. This made it a non-starter for me since it was just too awkward to work with, even if it did have a slightly shinier finish. Obviously the oil-based took overnight to dry and can take several weeks to properly harden -- this paint had by far the glossiest finish… but started turning yellow within a matter of months. Since making this video I’ve never used oil-based white gloss again and haven’t looked back!

Last updated: 25 Jan 2017
Originally published: 25 Jan 2017


Andy Mac
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