Deep Base Vs Medium Base Paint – Know The Difference!

Base paint is a medium that is used to create colored paints. Depending on the color that you'd like, deep base paints often produce 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.  

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

Deep base paints often are a 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

What Is Medium Base Paint?

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

If you're looking to paint 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 paints also provide relatively good coverage compared to deep base paints and deteriorate less quickly as they're lighter colored (and thus can reflect both heat and UV rays).  

Room Painted with Base Paint

Deep Base Vs Medium Base Paint (Differences Between Them) 

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

The Amount Of White Pigment 

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

Medium base paints, on the other hand, have more white pigment 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. That being said, deep base 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 using medium base paints instead.  


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

As deep base 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 base paints are lighter, they tend to reflect heat and UV rays.  

If you're looking to paint outdoors, medium base paint is the better option.  


If you’re looking for darker, 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 base paint.  


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

In the event that you accidentally painted with an untinted base paint, simply paint it over with tinted base paint, and you'll be all good to go.  


When painting with deep base paint, you’ll need to be exceptionally careful as deep base paint tends to show imperfections. 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 base paint is good enough for full coverage. You should also be careful when applying medium base paint, but you won't need to be as cautious compared to when you're applying deep base paint.  

Finishing After Base Paint


Whether you purchase deep base paint or medium base paint, 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.  

Deep Base Vs 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 base paint and medium base 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 before going ahead. Otherwise, you could end up with a color that you weren't looking for.