Latex and acrylic paint are both water-based paints known for their dry time and colorful finish.
Latex paint is easier to apply, costs less, and has better surface coverage than acrylic paint. Acrylic paint has better surface adhesion, durability, moisture resistance, and a longer shelf life than latex paint.
What is Latex Paint?
Latex paint is a water-based paint known for its easy application, quick drying, and maintenance. The term “latex” refers to the paint’s elastic features as it can stretch or expand based on temperature variations.
The latex paint formula consists of acrylic resins (the binder), paint pigments (the color), and water (the thinner). Some types also contain limestone (an extender), which delays or extends the paint’s drying time so you can get a stronger finish.
Latex paint isn’t durable because it doesn’t have extra additives that make it resistant to water, moisture, or scratches. When dry, it forms a dry textured finish that can get removed easily.
What is Acrylic Paint?
Acrylic paint is a water-based paint known for its high pigment amount and colorful finish. It’s used in home decor, craft, and art as it has a fast dry time, allowing you to apply multiple coats faster.
The acrylic paint formula consists of acrylic resins, plasticizers, polymer emulsions, and paint pigments. Compared to the latex paint formula, acrylic paint contains extra chemicals, such as silicon oils. The presence of silicon oils improves the durability and strength of the paint.
Latex vs Acrylic Paint
The differences between latex and acrylic paint are listed below.
Latex and acrylic paint are both water-based and use acrylic resins as their binders. Acrylic paint has a few extra additives that make its finish more colorful and durable, and give it a faster dry time.
All paints are made up of paint pigments which give the color. A binder that holds paint particles together. A solvent that makes the paint easier to apply. Some paints have additives that improve the finish.
Related Read: Can You Mix Latex Paint and Acrylic Paint?
Acrylic paint has better surface adhesion than latex paint as it’s formulated with extra additives that improve its adhesion because it’s used for artwork and murals.
Latex paint has good surface adhesion, but can’t adhere to all surface types.
Paint adhesion or paint bonding refers to the paint’s ability to adhere to the material. Acrylic paints have better paint adhesion due to the extra additives in the formula.
Acrylic paint is more durable and lasts longer than latex paint as it’s formulated with extra plasticizers and additives. The extra additives create a soft plastic-like finish that is resistant to low water amounts, wear and tear, and scratches.
Latex paint isn’t as durable as it isn’t formulated with protective additives that make it resistant to water.
Acrylic paint has better water resistance than latex paint as it’s formulated with extra protective additives that make its finish repel low water amounts. Latex paint is water-soluble and will get removed if exposed to constant water or moisture.
However, acrylic and latex paint don’t have good moisture resistance when compared to other paint types or sealers. You must seal both paints if you apply them over exterior surfaces exposed to water or moisture.
Interior or Exterior Surfaces
Latex and acrylic paint are more suited for interior surfaces as their finish has low durability and water resistance and can’t withstand outdoor weather elements.
However, there are exterior versions for both paints.
Acrylic paint has a longer shelf life than latex paint as it comes in tubes that are easier to close and store. Latex paint has a long shelf life too if it’s properly stored.
Latex paint is easier to apply than acrylic paint as it comes in ready-to-use paint containers and has a thinner viscosity.
Acrylic paint is harder to apply as it has a thicker viscosity that needs to be thinned, and the paint dries too fast.
Acrylic paints are more expensive than latex paint.
Latex paint has better coverage than acrylic paint. For instance, one latex paint gallon covers up to 400 square feet.
Acrylic paint doesn’t have good coverage as it’s made for small surfaces.
Which Paint Do You Need?
Before choosing a paint, consider the following things.
- Budget: Use latex paint if you have a lower budget as it costs less.
- Surface Size: Use acrylic paint for small decorative surfaces, and latex paint for large interior surfaces.
- Experience: Use latex paint if you are inexperienced as it’s easier to apply.
- Finish: Use acrylic paint if you want a colorful finish as it has more paint pigments than latex paint.