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Types of Water Based Paint

Water-based paint is an essential element in any interior or exterior painting project. It’s simple to clean up after use, dries quickly, and doesn’t leave behind a strong odor like oil-based paints do.

Learn all about water-based paints from our experts before you head off to the paint store for your next project. In this article, we discuss the Types Of Water-Based Paint.

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History of Water-Based Paints

Clay, berries, and various flowers were the first “paints” created in human history. Customers could mix these pigments with any binder of their choice to create custom paints once they had access to commercial pigments. Binders at that time included animal fat, cow’s milk, eggs, and other ingredients.

In 1865, D.P. Flinn was granted the first patent for water-based paint. His formulation combined water, potassium hydroxide, and zinc oxide with milk, resin, and Linseed oil; over subsequent decades manufacturers continued to refine their formulas accordingly.

In the 1940s, latex was introduced and revolutionized the paint industry. This material enabled water-based paints to be made with higher quality and better applicability. Modern “latex” is composed of synthetic polymers with distinct characteristics and properties; it should not be confused with latex rubber.

Acrylic Paint and Latex Paint

Water-based paints come in two varieties: acrylic and latex. Each has its purpose; acrylic and latex are primarily used for painting homes, structures, and other spaces; although acrylics may also be employed for art projects or hobbies; this article specifically discusses acrylic paints specifically tailored towards homes.

Comparing acrylic and latex water-based paints for houses can be confusing. Though these terms have often been used interchangeably, each has its distinct characteristics. Different naming conventions used by paint manufacturers make it difficult to tell which paint you’re buying – you might even come across “acrylic latex paint.”

Both types of paint look similar, but you must select the correct one for your next project.

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Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paints tend to contain more acrylic polymers than latex paints, making them costlier but offering better adhesion, durability, and resilience. While interior drywall may not justify the extra expense, outdoor furniture, and kitchen cabinets find this type of acrylic paint extremely practical. Some manufacturers may even refer to certain durable acrylic paints as “enamel.”

Latex Paint

Latex paint contains fewer acrylic polymers, thus saving money. This paint can be used on vertical surfaces like walls but won’t hold up well against outdoor furniture. DIYers and professionals alike prefer this type of paint because it provides greater coverage than acrylic paint at lower costs, plus it’s more environmentally friendly too!

*Pro tip: Paints with higher volume solids tend to be of better quality. Check the paint cans or manufacturer’s spec sheet to determine the volume solids content.

Water-Based Paint Advantages

Water-based paints are excellent for adhering to many surfaces, both interior and exterior. Additionally, these coatings resist flaking, peeling and blistering.

Water-based colors offer numerous advantages.

Durability – Has superior adhesion to most substrates and greater flexibility than oil-based painting.

Color Retention – Resists fading or chalking.

Application Ease – Smoother application with less drag.

Mildew Resistance – Additives help prevent mildew growth and keep the paint looking fresh. You can use it on any substrate, such as wood, concrete, stucco brick, aluminum siding, vinyl siding, and galvanized steel. Oil-based paints tend to have significantly lower odor levels compared to their water-based counterparts.

Drying Time – Drying takes one to six hours, allowing for reuse on the same day.

Cleanup – Simple cleanup with soap and water.

Water-Based Painting Disadvantages

While water-based paints have many advantages, some people still opt for oil-based ones.

When temperatures dip below 50degF (10degC), water-based paints can become difficult to use.

Although these colors tend to be more expressive than oil-based ones, if applied incorrectly they won’t lay flat as oil-based ones do.

Water-based paints may not adhere well to shiny, glossy or raw metal surfaces.

Unprimed wood can be raised by water-based paints.

Oil-based paints work best in damp and humid exterior applications.

Are You Using Oil- or Water-Based Paints?

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Dig your thumb into the wall to determine whether it’s oil- or water-based paint. If it can be pushed in easily, then it is likely latex. A rag soaked with rubbing alcohol can be used to clean a secret area; paint that easily comes off is water-based; if it sticks, oil-based.

Some water-based colors cannot be applied over oil-based ones, so always consult the manufacturer before trying to cover oil-based paint with water-based. Painting is a popular home improvement project and water-based paints are the preferred choice of both professional and DIY painters alike.

Local Professional Painters

Feeling overwhelmed? Our experts will take care of everything for you from beginning to end. Our customers receive the highest quality paint at an unbeatable price because we work closely with Sherwin-Williams.

Palm Garden Painting is a premier provider of interior and exterior painting services to both residential and commercial customers. Our experienced painters manage every project from start to finish!


Water-based paints have many advantages that should be weighed when deciding what type to use. They provide greater coverage, are easier to apply, last longer, and are better for the environment than oil-based paints. Additionally, they can be used on virtually any substrate and are great for both interior and exterior applications. However, if temperatures are low, oil-based paints might be the better option. When in doubt, seek our professional help to determine which paint is best for your project!

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