Acrylic vs Latex Paint: 9 Differences You Should Know

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of PaintCentric.com, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

Acrylic paint is almost completely pigmented and mixed with acrylic polymers, like a glue-like synthetic substance. Latex paint is a general type of paint that is mostly used on ceilings and walls.

Did you know that latex paint is more budget-friendly and great for indoor use? This article will guide you through the differences between acrylic and latex paints to make your decision easy.

So, what other differences are there between the two? Are they both weather resistant, or is it just one of them? How do you use each one? Is one more expensive than the other one?

Acrylic vs. Latex Paint: Whats the Difference?

The main difference between acrylic and latex paint is the solvent. In acrylic paint, the solvents contain chemicals, and in latex paint, they are water-based. This means that once these paints dry, they will have many different qualities.

Acrylic Vs Latex Paint
Acrylic vs Latex Paint

Acrylic paint dries faster and is more durable, making it ideal for outdoor use. On the other hand, latex paint has better adhesion and is less toxic, making it suitable for indoor projects.

Understanding these differences can help you choose the right paint for your specific needs.

Drying Time and Durability

Acrylic paint dries incredibly fast, often in about an hour. On the other hand, latex paint also dries quite quickly, usually within an hour too. However, when it comes to durability, acrylic-latex paint is better for exterior projects as it offers improved longevity compared to surfaces coated in latex paint which may experience cracking and flaking over time.

Moving forward to the next point – “Adhesion and Toxicity”.

Adhesion and Toxicity

Latex paint generally adheres well to many surfaces, including wood, metal, and masonry. On the other hand, acrylic paint has more chemicals in its base than latex and may potentially be more toxic.

While latex paint is water-based and non-toxic when dry, it can emit strong fumes during application if not properly ventilated. Both types of paints have their own set of adhesion properties and levels of toxicity that should be considered before use.

Now let’s delve into how the cost, availability, and environmental impact differ between acrylic and latex paints.

Cost, Availability, and Environmental Impact

In terms of cost and availability, latex paint is generally less expensive than acrylic. A gallon of latex paint typically costs between $15 to $60, making it a more budget-friendly option.

On the other hand, acrylic paints are available in a wide range of colors but tend to be pricier compared to latex paints due to their premium quality. When considering environmental impact, it’s important to note that acrylic paints are made from petrochemicals and contain toxic and flammable chemicals, which can have negative implications for the environment.

Conversely, latex paint releases lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making it a more environmentally friendly choice especially for interior use.

Which paint Should you Use?

When deciding which to use, acrylic or latex paint, you need to consider several factors before choosing which paint to use.

Paints
  • Is your painting surface interior or exterior? Acrylic paint is better outdoors, and latex paint is better indoors.
  • Budget? Latex is cheaper than acrylic.
  • Surface area to cover? Acrylics are better for smaller surface areas but use latex for larger areas.
  • Type of finish? Acrylic will give you a more durable finish than latex. Also, acrylic paint is more colorful, but it can be painted over or sealed easier with latex.

How to use Acrylic Paint

One of the more popular ways to use acrylic paint is to paint murals and other artwork. It is also great to use outdoors and on exterior surfaces. That is because it is more weather-resistant.

How to use Latex Paint

This type of paint is generally used for painting large areas, such as walls and ceilings. The reason is that it is available in bulk sizes and is cheaper. Most will use latex paint for low-traffic areas.

Related ReadingCan You Use Acrylic Paint on Guitar?

Can You Mix Acrylic And Latex Paint?

Yes, they can be mixed as they are very compatible, but it is not usually recommended. If you do, the thing to remember is to mix them; you have to do it correctly. Latex is considered to house paint, and acrylic paint is considered an artists paint. When you add acrylic paint to latex, it will quickly change the final color.

Mix Acrylic And Latex Paint
Can You Mix Acrylic And Latex Paint?

To mix them, you need to start with small amounts of each paint to check the final consistency and color. You want to make sure that is what you want to achieve. Starting small will help you know the exact ratio to add together to get the consistency and texture for your project. It will help prevent any waste of the paints.

Many artists dislike mixing latex with acrylic paint because it will not last as long as the acrylic colors would. On the plus side, adding the two paints will give you the exact color, consistency, and texture you want without having to pay for another paint variant.

The main difference between the two is the moisture content. The excessive moisture content found in latex paint can dilute acrylic paint. After drying, this can create a different effect. The final result will depend on the brand of latex paint used.

To mix them, you will need one pint of latex paint, tubes of acrylic paint, a paint stirrer, and a small container to mix them in.

Read More: Latex Vs Enamel Paint

Steps To Mix Acrylic And Latex Paint Correctly

Mix Acrylic And Latex Paint Correctly
Mix Acrylic And Latex Paint Correctly
  • Step 1: Pour a small amount of latex paint into the container, even if you paint a large surface.
  • Step 2: Squeeze a small amount of acrylic paint into the latex paint and stir.
  • Step 3: Make sure you have mixed them completely to get an accurate feel for the consistency and color. Test a small bit on a piece of paper or a corner of your project that will not be that noticeable. This way, you can check the color to see if it is what you want. If you want a more vibrant color, add more acrylic paint.

If it is too thick, add some water to get the right consistency. If you have any leftover paint, ensure it is stored correctly so you will not have any issues with drying out. If you want to give some permanency to your painting, you can use some exterior paint binders in the mixture.

Read More: Can You Paint With Oil Based Paint Over Latex?

Conclusion

In this article, we have covered all that you need to know about Acrylics vs. latex paint. Each one has been discussed in detail regarding its durability, ease of use, and more. We have even covered what to use and how to mix them. With this information, you will know which paint to use for your project.

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of PaintCentric.com, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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