Are Acrylic and Latex Paint the Same? Are Acrylic and Latex Paint the Same?

Are Acrylic and Latex Paint the Same?

The main difference between the two is that acrylic paint dries to a hard finish while latex paint dries to a softer, more flexible one.

If you were to ask ten people what the difference between acrylic and latex paint was, you’d likely get ten different answers. The simple truth is, it doesn’t much matter.

Acrylic and latex paint are two different types of paint; however, this doesn’t mean they can’t be similar in many ways. The main difference between the two is that acrylic paint dries to a hard finish while latex paint dries to a softer, more flexible one.

It’s important that you understand the differences of these paints so you can choose the right one for your project! Here’s an article to help you understand how these two types of acrylic paint differ?

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What Is Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paints are made from a mixture of water, pigment and polymer resin. The resin gives the paint its viscosity (thickness) and elasticity so it will not crack or become brittle over time like watercolor does after application.

The pigments give the paint its color intensity and transparency which can range from transparent to opaque depending on how much pigment is added to each tube.

Benefits of Acrylic vs Latex Paint

They are both versatile, affordable and easy to use. But they do have some differences that might make one better than the other for your project.


Acrylic paint costs less than latex because it contains fewer ingredients. Acrylic paints also dry faster than latex, so you can move on to the next step in your painting project sooner.


Acrylics are safer than latex paints because they don’t contain ammonia, which can irritate your skin and eyes if you get it on yourself or breathe in too much of it when applying it with a brush or roller.

In fact, some people who have latex allergies can safely use acrylics without any problems at all!

3.Water Solubility

One of the biggest benefits of acrylics is their water solubility — once they’re dry, you can clean them up easily with soap and water or just wipe them off with a cloth.

Latex paints, on the other hand, are much more difficult to clean up because they’re water-insoluble and don’t dry completely unless you apply a special solvent to them. You can still use soap and water if you want to clean up latex paints quickly; it just takes longer than it would if they were acrylics (or another type of paint).

What is Acrylic Latex paint?

Acrylic latex paint is a water-based, paint that can be applied to most surfaces. It dries quickly when applied in thin layers and does not require priming or sanding.

Acrylic latex is a type of emulsion paint that uses water as the base, instead of oil or varnish. Its watery consistency makes it easier to apply than oil-based paints, but it does not have the same durability or longevity as oil-based paints.

This type of paint is typically used for residential applications such as trim work, woodwork and cabinets because it cleans up easily with soap and water or mineral spirits.

There are two basic kinds of acrylic latex paints:

Water-based acrylic latex: This type of paint comes in liquid form, but dries to the touch in about an hour. It doesn’t need to be sealed or primed before you use it. You can apply more than one coat if needed.

Water-based semi-gloss enamel: This type of acrylic latex is used on finished wood surfaces such as trim and doors because it’s semi-gloss (shiny). It also has a longer open time than regular water-based acrylic latex, which allows you more time to work with it before it sets up.

What Is Acrylic Latex Paint Used For


Acrylic latex paint is ideal for painting wood surfaces because it adheres well to the surface without needing multiple coats to cover up imperfections in the wood grain or texture. It also resists warping better than oil-based paints, which makes it ideal for outdoor use in areas where there’s plenty of humidity or rain.


Metal surfaces can be difficult to paint because they tend to reflect light differently than other materials do. However, acrylic latex paints have a smooth finish that makes them an ideal choice for metal siding or other metal objects that need a smooth finish but also want to retain some shine from their original state when they were unpainted.


Acrylic latex paints are ideal for covering concrete, brick and cinderblock. They’re easy to use and require no special sanding preparation, but can be a little more expensive than other types of paint.

Benefits of Using Latex versus Acrylic Paint

There are several advantages to using latex paint over acrylic paint:


Latex paints have greater flexibility than acrylics because they’re less likely to crack when exposed to cold temperatures or flexed too much.


The durability of latex paints means they can be used for interior and exterior projects without worrying about fading or peeling when exposed to outdoor elements.

Ease of Clean-Up

Because water can be used to clean up latex paints, cleanup is much easier than when you’re dealing with acrylic paints that need solvent cleaners or mineral spirits for removal from brushes, rollers and other painting tools. You can also use warm water if you don’t have any solvents on hand but want something stronger than plain water for cleaning up spills on floors and other surfaces where they’ll cause damage if allowed

Environmentally Friendly

Latex paints are environmentally friendly because they don’t require solvents to thin them out like acrylics do. Latex paints also generally produce less odor than acrylics do when being applied or dried. Latex paints are also easier to apply evenly because they have a high pigment concentration.

Can You Mix Latex and Acrylic Paint?

It’s true that both latex and acrylic paints can be mixed together. However, it’s important to understand that mixing these two types of paint can be tricky. There are many factors to consider before you can make this call for yourself.

The first thing to keep in mind is that latex and acrylic paints are different in their chemical makeup. The main difference between them is how they dry.

Latex dries by evaporation, while acrylic dries by crosslinking with its own molecules. This means that when you mix the two together, they have different drying times and sets of properties.

When you mix latex with acrylic paint, you create a hybrid compound that could have some unexpected results on your project! To help you understand what might happen when you mix these two types of paint together, we’ve created a handy guide below:

How to Mix Latex and Acrylic Paint?

Acrylics are water-based paints, so they will mix with latex paint. The best way to do this is to use a latex additive/binder. This is often called a “latex extender”, as it extends the drying time of the paint.

You can use any brand of latex additive/binder, but I recommend using a high quality product like Benjamin Moore’s Latex Extend binder or Kelly Moore’s Total Binder which is made from acrylic polymer emulsion. These products are formulated specifically for mixing with latex paints and they work really well.

Keep in mind that the amount of latex additive/binder you should use depends on how much acrylic paint you are using and how thick it is.

It’s generally easier to mix it with more water than less water, so if you’re using an opaque acrylic paint then start with 1 part water to 2 parts paint (1:2).

If you’re using an transparent acrylic then start with 1 part water to 1 part paint (1:1). Once you’ve mixed them together, let them sit for 10 minutes before stirring again and adding more water if needed until the consistency is similar to milk .


So are acrylic and latex paints the same? Not exactly- but they have a lot in common.

Both are water-based paints that provide excellent coverage when applied to surfaces with multiple coats. They’re also both easy to apply with brushes or rollers, although some types may require special tools like paint sprayers or high-volume low-pressure (HVLP) spray guns for optimal results.


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