In days gone by oil based paints were considered superior for almost all applications due to the low level of technology applied to water-based coatings. Oil-based paints were generally harder to apply than water-based paints, cleanup is more expensive and possibly messier although oil-based paints generally dried much harder than water-based paint and were usually capable of much higher gloss levels.
Nowadays water-based paints technology has advanced considerably and the majority of water-based house paints are inherently more flexible than traditional oil-based paints meaning they are less likely to crack chip, flake and peel in the same fashion that oil-based paints usually do.
Water-based paints are now capable of much higher gloss levels , especially with the new generation acrylic enamel blends which are also much easier to apply them hold alkyd oil-based enamel paints and retain the acrylic flexibility which goes a long way to resisting chipping flaking blistering and peeling.
As a matter of fact water-based acrylic paints are now highly recommended in place of oil-based enamel paints for building exteriors due to water-based acrylic paints resistance to blistering flaking peeling and cracking that oil-based paints are prone to.
Painting homes internally can nowadays be completed completely with water-based paints a flat water-based acrylic is perfect for ceilings and a semigloss water-based acrylic is usually best for ceilings in bathrooms and kitchens and either semigloss or low gloss water-based acrylic on internal walls throughout the home.
Trim around the home such as windows, door frames, skirtings, doors and even cupboards are best being finished in water-based acrylic enamel paints. Especially when applied using a paint spray gun. These finishes are capable of appearing every bit as good as an oil-based enamel paint finish.
In certain applications an oil based paint may still be required in situations for example such as the where a stain continues to bleed through a water-based paint an oil-based primer or sealer maybe required to prevent a stain of this type from reappearing in newly applied coats of water-based paint.
Using a spray gun for spraying water based paints is far more pleasant than spray painting with oil based paints.