There are two basic kinds of paint: acrylic and latex. Each one has its uses. There are advantages and disadvantages. Lately, latex paint has been the preferred paint for interior and exterior uses. However, acrylic paint still has its place. So, what’s the basic difference and why would you choose one over the other?
Both paints are actually made from acrylic compounds. Once they were invented, they almost completely replaced oil paints for exterior and interior uses. The major difference is the base of the paint. Latex paint is water based, whereas acrylic is chemical based. That makes the acrylic paint slightly more toxic than latex paint. If you use it, you need better ventilation as it dries. Also, acrylic paint is flammable since it has chemical compounds.
Acrylic paint is more flexible than latex paint. It’s more elastic, which means that it moves and expands better without cracking or chipping. That’s why acrylic paint is used on flexible surfaces such as art canvases.
Latex paint tends to give better coverage with fewer coats. Therefore, it tends to be used for exterior and interior painting more than acrylic. However, acrylic paint is more effective if there will be much movement of the materials. For example, acrylic is still a great choice for painting exterior wood.
In most cases, latex paint is going to be your best choice. It provides the best coverage with the fewest number of coats. It is available at every hardware and paint store. It’s available in a wide range of colors and shades. There are latex paints designed for just about every situation. The time for choosing acrylic paint is when you are painting an exterior surface that will expand and contract in changing weather. Painting wood with acrylic paint is often the better choice because wood absorbs moisture and heat. When it is humid or rainy outside, wood will swell somewhat. When it’s dry or cold outside, the wood will contract. That movement over time will cause a latex paint to crack or chip. Acrylic will respond better to that uncertainty.
Latex paints also dry faster and cost less money. In almost every situation, latex paint is your best option. The only exception being artistic endeavors and flexible situations. That is a pretty basic overview of the difference between acrylic and latex paint. A professional at a paint store can give you a more in-depth analysis of the two paints.