Latex Vs Acrylic Paint – 7 Key Differences

Perhaps you want to apply paint on a particular surface and wonders which option to take. Would latex paint work better than acrylic paint on furniture or concrete?

What about in the wet area, which is the best paint to go for without affecting the primary surface? Latex Vs Acrylic Paint

So, on latex vs acrylic paint – latex paint is a water-based paint, while acrylic paint is chemical-based paint. 

Latex and acrylic paints are both made of polymers and resin. There is no rubber integration in latex paint due to its name “latex.” Latex paint represents all paints that are water-based and breaks instantly upon contact with water. 

Besides, acrylic paints are more durable than latex paint, while latex paint is easier to clean when restoring a given surface. Essentially, acrylic paint leaves behind a strong and fine surface finish while the latex surface is a bit rough. 

See Also: Removing Latex Paint from Concrete

Details: Latex vs. Acrylic Paint

a. Structural Base Components

Acrylic paint is a chemical-based compound, while latex paint is a water-based compound. Acrylic paint comes with a complex chemical structure that finely sticks on the surface firmly upon application – latex paint formulation takes longer to stick and cure. 

Though both latex and acrylic paints contain acrylic resin and polymers in their structures at different ratios for better action. Moreover, latex paint has water-base integration that mates its mix evenly with water during dilution.

The chemical structure in acrylic paint needs thinning, which is not required in latex paint.

b. Areas and Means of Application

Acrylic paints are best for outdoor applications, while latex paints work best indoors. You can use latex paint on concrete walls, metallic surfaces, plastics as well as furniture without preps.

However, latex paints need to be prepped during application. Latex paints are used on surfaces such as interior places, furniture, surface primers/undercoat, non-permanent metallic exterior, concrete, and ceiling.

NB: avoid using acrylic paints indoors since they are highly flammable. Don’t use latex paint for your indoor apartment painting – unlike latex paints.

c. Durability

Acrylic paints are more durable than latex paints. Acrylic paint sticks on the surfaces firmly and opposes peeling, cracking, and flaking – unlike latex paint.

Moreover, acrylic paint is more elastic and covers the surface uniformly without much dripping than latex paint.

Surfaces painted with acrylic paints are more durable and scratch-resistant as compared to those applied with latex paint.

Furthermore, latex paint has weak stickiness ability on some material surfaces such as metal and plastics. It thus peels off easily, unlike acrylic paint – your latex paint needs frequent coat application to maintain its aesthetic appearance.

Remember, acrylic paint is waterproof/resistant, while latex paint is highly washed away by water contact, thus bleaching the area undercover.

d. Removal mechanism

Latex paint is more comfortable to remove than acrylic paint. Indeed, latex paint can easily be washed out with water and soapy detergents, while acrylic paint needs thinning or scrapping before the cleaning process.

Besides, acrylic paint irritates the skin upon contact, while latex paint does not. You may get choke when you inhale latex paint fumes during paint removal, unlike latex paint that is less irritant.

When there are surface flaws prior to painting, latex paint may peel off fast. Thus, it is important to effectively prep your surfaces through the removal of old paint

Acrylic paint is tedious during removal (require more time for thinner to cure and break paint molecular bonds) while latex paint is fast – breaks instantly without waiting for cure time. 

See Also: Sprayer for Latex Paint

e. Economical Aspect 

Acrylic paint is slightly expensive as compared to latex paint. Acrylic is mainly packed is small containers while most latex paints are packed in a large can.

The high cost associated with acrylic paint is a function of chemical combination and resin quantity that makes the overall production cost higher.

However, the acrylic paint’s durability aspect makes it more suitable for outdoor applications than latex paint. You will need only one coat for a given period – several re-applications are needed for latex paints in the same period comparatively. 

See Also: Valspar Cabinet Paint

f. Advantages/Pros

Latex paint

  • Relatively cheaper than acrylic paint
  • It’s resistant to high humidity and mildew
  • It’s convenient – dries faster
  • Safe on contact – no skin irritation 
  • It resistant fading – protection from  damaging UV rays compared to oil-based paints.
  • Doesn’t choke nasal cavity upon inhaling – less toxic
  • Can be cleaned faster with soap and water
  • It’s environmentally friendly – has few volatile organic compounds
  • Gives excellent coverage on a few coats application

Acylic Paint

  • It’s easier to apply – contacts and expands uniformly/elastic – but may leave roller marks on ceiling and walls.
  • Waterproof/dirt resistant/keeps off UV-rays and humid accumulation
  • High stickiness ability and has high penetration on primary material
  • It does not require preps during application – acts on the surface instantly.
  • Durable and scratch-resistant and leaves behind a smooth surface finish as compared to latex paint
  • Has multiple areas of applications as compared to latex paint – great for artworks.

Major Problems with Latex Paints and Acrylic Paints

Several challenges are associated with acrylic paints and latex paints during applications, which may be traced to the structural formulation and active ingredients used. The following are some of the challenges/cons:

Latex paint

  • Over dilution and concentration control problems – you may not be in a position to mix paint into the exact concertation needed for a given surface.
  • Require frequent re-painting to maintain its aesthetic outlook
  • Chips and peels off faster than acrylic paint – low-quality product
  • Not elastic thus, chips faster on paints for outdoor application
  • Not resistant to UV-rays like acrylic paints
  • Not waterproof –can easily be washed out by water and soap
  • Requires primer and sanding before applying latex paint on furniture or the metallic surface
  • Less durable as compared to acrylic paint
  • Less penetrative
  • Low stickiness ability as compared to acrylic paint

Acrylic Paint

  • Quite expensive as compared to top acrylic paint –sold in small containers.
  • Tedious and difficult to remove/clean as compared to acrylic paint -for painting your surfaces.
  • Require thinning – can’t be washed with soap and water easily
  • Takes longer to dry than acrylic paint
  • Contain toxic chemicals that affect both nasal cavity and skin – cause irritation
  • Not environmentally friendly – contains pollutants that affect the soil and air
  • Highly flammable components
  • Slippery when applied on the floors

See Also: Acrylic Paint On Metal?

How to Choose the Best Finish Paint

To select the best finish paint, you will need to consider some of the following factors in-depth:

  1. The surface area to be covered
  2. The color of the primary surface
  3. Number of coats to be applied
  4. The nature/type of the surface under application
  5. Whether the material is newly painted or under the re-painting process
  6. Polishing level needed on the primary surface
  7. Cost of paint available in the current market
  8. Availability and variety of paints
  9. Removal process required
  10. Durability and final impression needed
  11. Ease of preparation
  12. Safety associated with a particular type of paint

Remember, the best paint choice should be economical, long-lasting, easier to clean, and leaves a classic impression upon application.

It would help if you considered budget-friendly paint and one that shouldn’t affect primary surface material upon application – including exterior cabinet painting

Which are the Best Available Acrylic Paints and Latex Paint

1. Acrylic Paint

a. FolkArt Extreme Glitter Acrylic Paint

Folk Art is an assorted acrylic paint that comes in classic colors, which glitters upon application. The paint integrates quick-action formulation and super active ingredients that work best for most surfaces.

Besides, Fold Art is heavily loaded and agitated to give a smooth application process and excellent elastic properties for uniform surface cover.

Notably, Folk Art is long-lasting and economical. 

See Also: Removing Acrylic Paint from Canvas

b. Sargent Art, Gold Liquid Metal Acrylic Paint

Sargent Art is a versatile acrylic paint, which comes in a liquid metal form safe for smooth and more comfortable application. The paint is specially formulated to achieve seamless washes and achieve incredible brush painting motion.

Moreover, Sargent is APA certified and non-toxic upon contact. Sargent is packed in a large container that will cover a large surface.

2. Latex paint

a. Rust-OleumPainters Touch Latex

Rust-oleum is a water-based latex paint that works instantly upon application. The strong base formulation features odor-free ingredients that are environmentally friendly and safe – won’t irritate your skin upon contact.

Besides, Rust-Oleum in dries faster (within 30 minutes) and works best for surfaces such as wood, metal, concrete, and composites without any problems.

Notably, Rust-oleum is packed in classic cans and comes in multiple colors for optional selection.

b. KILZ 2 Multi-Surface Interior/Exterior Latex

Kilz is a strong paint sealant and primer that works best for both indoor and outdoor applications.

The product is design with an extra-powerful base formulation that sticks perfectly on various surfaces without peeling off abnormally after application.

The incorporated ingredients work instantly upon application – resist humidity and UV-ray penetration. Besides, Kilz dries off fast and seals the dry surface completely.

Importantly, Kilz is light-medium and resists mildew growth.


The main difference between later and acrylic paint is that latex is water-based paint, while acrylic is chemical-based paint. Both paints contain resin and polymers that are combined in varying ratios to achieve the intended active properties.

You can apply acrylic paint over latex paint without stripping, but you can’t cover acrylic paint with latex paint. Acrylic paint contains toxic and flammable components that may cause environmental hazards, unlike latex paint.

Notably, latex paint in more economical and easier to clean with soap than acrylic paint.

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