Water-based paint refer to paint that uses water as the solvent in the paint composition. The solvent is the liquid portion of the paint that evaporates during drying. Water-based paint is more flexible due to the fact that it dries softer. It does not chip or become chalky like oil-based paints, as a result, water-based paint is often used for both interior and exterior applications.
Water-based paint has a much lower Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) concentration and is considered healthier by many painters. Water-based paints also tend to maintain their original sheen and color better than oil-based paints. Water based paints take a shorter time to dry to the touch (30-60 min for water-based vs 6-8 hours for oil-based) and require a shorter time between coats (2-3 hours for water-based vs. 16 to 20 hours for oil-based). However, water-based paints require a considerably longer time to fully cure (1-4 weeks for water based vs. 2-3 days for oil-based). Cleaning up while using water-based paint is simple and requires just water.
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