High-quality water-based paint is generally the best exterior paint to use on wood, according to The Home Depot. However, there are some circumstances where it may be better to use an oil-based paint, such as on different wood types.
Water-based paint is flexible, according to The Home Depot. This allows the paint to expand and contract when exposed to the elements. Water-based paint is also breathable and does not trap moisture, meaning it does not crack and peel over longer periods of time. However, if one is painting a surface that is chalky in texture, stained or a type of wood known as a bleeding wood, then it is better to use an oil-based paint. This is because oil-based paint adheres better and covers up stains better than water-based paint.