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Oil or Latex for a barn?

10531 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Cabin Fever
I need to paint my barn and several outbuildings. I can't decide if I should use oil or Latex paint. I'd prefer to use Latex but I'm concerned about durability. What are your experiences painting with Oil or Latex on a barn? Which one looks good years later?
Thanks in MN
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I would use latex. Make sure wood is dry or paint will peel. Rent a sprayer and have someone roll behind person spraying. Very fast because they do not have to dip. If you need 2nd coat wait a day for first coat to dry.
Have you considered the equivalent of white wash? Spraying is the way to go, but watch out for spraying going into the building through cracks.

Ken S. in WC TN
I make my living as a house painter. ( So I know a little about latex/oil paints) Latex paint will be easier to use


Test the old paint on the barn, You cannot put latex over oil paint!!!!!

If you do the latex will peel probably within the year.

The way you test it is to take some denatured alcohol ( rubbing alcohol )

Put some on a rag and rub a fairly clean spot of old paint on your barn, then look at the rag, if the color of the barn has rubbed off onto the rag the old paint on the barn is latex.


If no paint rubs off onto the rag, the barn is painted with oil.

To put laten paint over the old oil paint you would have to apply a full primer coat before the latex finish coat .

Now you can use a latex primer or oil primer over the old oil paint it really doesn't matter if the primer is oil or latex.

Also, if there is any bare wood, from peeling paint or new wood, you should also prime these areas.

Also, if you are sanding down any areas on the barn,WEAR A RESPORATOR. Old paint has lead in it and can possible cause some health problems. But I beleive they took a lead out of house paints in 1978 or 79. The top layer of paint may fall into those years or later but if you have an old barn theother layer of paint may contain lead, better safe than sorry!!

This post is kinda long, ( Sorry ) but didn't want you to put all the labor into your barn and have any problems later.

P.S. Just a little plug, I am in St. Clair/ Union Missouri area, just out of St. Louis. If anyone needs a painter in St. Louis area, let me know.
( Would this be consider SPAM LOL)

Good luck with your barn
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Again, a third option is a stain, rather than paint.

Ken Scharabok
I agree with Ken. Prepare the surface by scraping off the old loose paint and then "paint" it with a solid color stain. Solid color stain can go over old paint. The benefit of using stain is that it never peels. (Of course, the old paint underneath it may peel in time)
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