How Do I Know If I Have Old Oil Base / Alkyd Paint?

Oil base paint – How do I know?

The rule in painting has always been, if it was painted with an oil base/alkyd paint, you need to recoat with an oil base/alkyd paint. With the new Canadian VOC regulations regarding paints and primers, the old rules will have to change. Soon oil base/alkyd paints will no longer be available.

The problem then is two-fold: 1/ how do you know if the surface was painted with oil base / alkyd paint and now, 2/ how do you recoat it?

Generally speaking, if you can get a chip of paint from your surface then old oil base / alkyd paint will be brittle. Also, as the paint breaks down in the sun, oil base / alkyd paints tend to chalk more than latex or acrylic paints.

However, the best method to test your paint is to use a chemical wipe.oil_wipe

Nail polish remover with acetone or methyl hydrate will dissolve latex and acrylic paint. If you wipe the painted surface with a clean rag dipped in the chemical and the paint comes off on the rag (more than just the surface chalk) then you have acrylic / latex paint. If not, you have oil base / alkyd paint.

Knowing this difference is important; now you can determine which products to use to recoat.

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