What is the most durable paint for wood?

What is the most durable paint for wood

At the moment tackling painting wood projects like a set of chairs, cabinets, a white or dark brown table- Choosing a paint that is the most durable is not a straight word decision. 

Choosing the right paint for your furniture can be difficult. There are several types of paint available on the market, including oil, latex, acrylic, and chalky paints, and milk paint. Some of these furniture paints are more appropriate for certain types of projects than others, but each has its own particular advantages.

Moving forward- Acrylic paint is cost-effective and the most durable for wood considering the overall factors. They last longer than latex paints and unlike oil-based paints which are durable too but acrylic paints don’t crack and yellow over time when used externally.

Aside from just a paint’s durability. Some factors are there to undertake to get a smooth and even finish.

Only applying acrylic paint is not enough if you’re painting directly on the wood surface without priming beforehand. There might be some spots left after you finish.

Applying a coat of primer works as a protective layer between the wood and the paint. Preventing the tannin bleed-through. As a result, you get a smooth, shiny, balanced, and long-lasting finish by paying an extra $15-$25. Which seems a reasonable deal.

In order to achieve a nice finish without a coat of priming, oil-based paints are something that you would want, they are more durable due to their denser property that works like a priming coat to some extent. Water-based or latex paints are not ideal in that case, although acrylic paints work just fine.

Increase durability with these tips

In order to increase the durability of a type of paint, below listed each factor that needs to be considered.


Sanding has a great impact on increasing durability. A smooth surface likely holds up more paint than that a rough one. With sanding a bit you can make your applied paint reach out to the most-depth layer.


Priming is important regardless of the paint you pick. It’s like giving an additional cost to hold up the paint to last longer. Essentially with water-based paints which are thin, priming is the most important step to take beforehand. Oil-based paints also need this coat even though they are thicker.


If you want your painted furniture to fight well against humidity. There is no better option than applying a coat of varnish after finishing the painted job. Regardless of the pain type, oil-based, water-based, milk-based, varnish should be the last step.

Wood paints and their durability

Listed are some popular paints for woods. I’ll review them in such a way that will clarify your concerns regarding durability.

Acrylic Paint- Durability at a lower cost.

Acrylic paints have all the advantages of latex paints but are more durable. Why they’re the top choice is because they offer a range of color options, are easy to apply and clean, cost-effective, and give a nice and smooth finish.

With acrylic paint, it’s recommended to apply a coat of primer to achieve all the benefits. Because the liquid is watery that cannot cover the pores on wood. 

Applying primer beforehand acrylic paint can result in a smooth and even finish. 

However, acrylic paint on patio furniture can fade out because of moisture. Applying a coat of varnish can prevent this and will increase its durability.

Latex paint- Good but not the most durable.

In terms of ease and providing your furniture an aesthetic look. The later paint can be a great choice. However, its durability factor is not up-to-mark.

Later paint provides a thin coat of layer which is only good enough to paint interior furniture. If you’re looking to paint furniture for your patio, this paint isn’t recommended if you’re aiming for top durability.

Latex paints are eco-friendly since they have a lower quantity of volatile organic compounds than oil paints. Simply put, they don’t smell as terrible as others after you finish painting.

In general, this type of paint is the best option for beginners and DIYers, since it dries quicker than other paints and requires less time preparing it so the task can be completed in less time. With that said, you don’t have to wait for hours waiting for a coat to dry to touch. It takes only a few minutes- Under normal weather.

Lastly, the popularity of latex paint stems from its wide range of color and design options. And come in a variety of types to give different finishes. 

  • Flat: A type of paint that looks matte, almost velvety, without any resin in its formula. While the finish is attractive, it isn’t very durable, only for projects not going to be heavily used. 
  • Satin: It gives a shiner look to a finish than flat and is more durable.
  • Semi-gloss: Mostly it’s used to paint patio furniture, finishing look similar to oil-based paints, reflecting more sunlight, making it more durable for the exterior. 
  • High-gloss: One of the durable types of latex paints, durable and high gloss finish. Being super shiny it must be applied with extra care- Demands experts.

Oil-based paints- Durable but expensive too.

Oil-based paints work great in humid environments. They are generally good resistant to water thus mostly outside furniture is painted with them. Also, they protect a deck or set of patio chairs from intensive sunlight that directly falls on them. Compared to acrylic paint they are expensive and require extra care to achieve a nice finish.

Oil-based paint can be used for interior use, but there is a downside that is its smell. They are highly VOC. Moreover, the drying time is also longer than all water-based paints including acrylic.

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