Deep Base Vs Medium Base Paint – Know The Difference!

Base paint is a medium that is used to create colored paints. Depending on the colored paint that you'd like, deep base produces a darker hue, while medium base paints produce a shade that's somewhat in the middle.  

In this guide, we'll provide you with everything you need to know about the similarities and differences between deep base vs medium base paint, along with which is better to use for your next paint project.  

Here are some similarities and differences between deep base and medium base paints.  

The Amount Of White Pigment 

Deep based paints have less white pigment, while medium base paints have more. As deep based paints have less white pigment, they can match dark paints created, rich, and vibrant colors.  

Medium base paints, on the other hand, have more enriched paint pigments so you can reach the color saturation that you'd like while still maintaining the ability to hide underlying coats of paint.  


When it comes to coverage, the less white pigment a paint has, the less coverage it’ll provide to white wall. That being said, deep based paint typically has less coverage than medium base paints.  

If you're looking to have sufficient coverage, you'd either need to paint more coats of deep base or paint bases using medium based paints instead.  


Medium base paints are typically more durable than deep base, but it really depends on where you’re painting it.  

As deep based paints are generally darker in color, they have a tendency to absorb more heat and UV rays, leading to quick moisture loss and eventually blistering. On the other hand, as medium based are lighter, they tend to reflect heat and UV rays.  

If you're looking to paint outdoors, medium paint base is the better option.  Paint base determines how resistant paint is to dirt and stains, as well as its durability under intense scrubbing.


If you’re looking for intense darker colors, richer, and bolder colors, you'd want to opt for a deep base paint. On the other hand, if you're looking for saturated, rich colors such as forest green, you'll want to select a medium base paint instead. 

As a good rule of thumb, if you're looking to create a color that's between light and dark, medium base paint is your best bet. For darker colors, opt for a deep paint base.  


Both deep base and medium base paints need to be tinted - regardless of the color you want to achieve. Deep paint base especially needs to be tinted with a tinted primer for tint lighter hues, or you'll end up with a translucent coat that defeats the purpose of painting in the first place.  

All tintable base paints contain titanium dioxide in different amounts, except for the clear base. Except for the clear base, all tintable base paints include titanium dioxide in varying amounts.

The varying amount of titanium oxide present  in paint helps determine how much the paint can conceal the surface underneath and how light or dark the paint shade will be. Titanium dioxide hide surfaces better than bases with smaller quantities.

In the event that you accidentally painted with an untinted deep base paint i.e. Without titanium dioxide, simply paint it over with tinted base paint contains titanium dioxide, and you'll be all good to go with paint contains titanium dioxide.  

It is important to note that the major factor affecting the price of paint is the amount of titanium dioxide present.


When painting with deep based paint, you’ll need to be exceptionally careful as deep based paint or accent based paint tends to show imperfections.  Accent-based paint provides dark or deep shades, color richness, ultra hiding power, well scrubbing, and stain resistance.

To apply deep base paint, you’ll want to use back brushing or vertical rolling paint techniques.  

Just about two to three coats of deep based paint is good enough for full coverage. You should also be careful when applying medium base paint or fresh paint layers but you won't need to be as cautious compared to when you're applying deep based paint.  

Finishing After Base Paint


Whether you purchase deep or medium bases paint from local paint manufacturers, they're both about the same price. If you're willing to pay a little more, opt for base paints that come with additives such as mildewcides to inhibit mold growth.  

Thickeners are also ideal as they help to guard against paint drips and splatters. Pricier base paints also often contain a higher level of quality ingredients.  

What Exactly Is Deep Base Paint?

If you’re looking to paint your home or office a rich and darker color or dark paint colors like black, navy blue, dark green, etc., you'd want to choose deep base paint. 

A deep base paint has the least amount of white pigment in it out of all of the base paints. What that means is that you can add more colorant to your deep base paint to achieve a richer, vibrant, and darker color with deep paint bases.  

Ultra deep base paints often result in dark or deep shades like dark blue or burgundy color and are well-suited to darker rooms. However, they generally have low coverage capabilities and will need to be painted carefully in order to cover imperfections.  

Wooden Chair Ready for Base Paint

Then, What Is Medium Base Paint?

A medium base paint has some white pigments in it and can produce colors that are between light base paint and dark paints. Commonly used in homes and businesses, a medium based paint is ideal if you're looking to achieve a paint colors that won't quite work with a white-based paint.  

If you're looking to painting walls, you'd also definitely want to consider using a medium base paint. They not only provide fantastic color saturation, but they also emit less odor than oil-based paints.  

Medium base painting also provide relatively good coverage compared to deep base paints and deteriorate less quickly as they're result in light base creates lighter colors or paint colors lighter. Lighter the base results in very light tones like very light beige color (and thus can reflect both heat and UV rays).  

It's fair to say that most house paints are medium base as they tend to be lighter colors.

Room Painted with Base Paint

Deep Base and Medium Base Paint FAQs

Can I use base paint without a tint? 

While you can use base paint without a tint, you're not going to be able to achieve the color that you'd want - even if you're looking for pure white paint.  

Is base paint the same as primer? 

Base paint is not the same as primer. You’d typically apply primer before the base paint or tinted primer to the base paint before proceeding with your paint job. The primer is a preparatory coating that helps to ensure better adhesion of the paint to the surface.  

Is white base the same as white paint? 

Even though white base may look like white paint, they’re not the same thing. In order for a white base to be a white paint, tinting additives are necessary. Otherwise, you'll end up with a white base that is thin, unconcentrated, and lacking any color.  

Can I prime with base paint? 

You cannot prime with base paint as it doesn't include the same ingredients. Primers help to provide a sealed and stable surface for your paint. The resins, in particular, seal porous surfaces and assist with providing that bond to the surface.  

Can you apply water based paint over oil-based paint? 

You should not be applying water-based paint over oil-based paint. Doing so will cause the paint to peel or chip as those formulas don’t bond well together.  


While deep paint bases and medium bases paint may seem the same, there are significant differences between the two. 

Before proceeding with your paint job, it’s important to know the similarities and differences between the two paint bases before going ahead. Otherwise, you could end up with a color that you weren't looking for.