Latex Paint: Your Complete Guide

A can of latex paint with a paint brush

"Latex paint,” appears on the cans of many paints. But what is latex paint? What are some reasons you may want to choose latex paint over other types? And where and how do you properly use latex paint? We have put together a latex paint guide that will attempt to answer all these questions. The more that you know about latex paint before you get started painting, the more you can be sure you are making the right choice. For more information about latex paint, read on.

What is Latex Paint?

Latex is a term applied to water-based acrylic, latex, or vinyl styrene paints. We call them that because they contain chains of man-made polymers that act like natural latex would: as binders. Originally, latex was the name for sap from the Brazilian Rubber Tree. Some people refer to this substance as latex rubber. Now, we engineer this same chemical compound in labs. Rubber latex is never found in latex painter, even though it is called latex paint. Binders in these sorts of paints cause them to appear milky before applications to surfaces, but they dry clear.

Latex paint can also be referred to as acrylic paint, according to Wikipedia. They are sometimes interchangeable.

Safer and Greener

Latex paint is, often, a better choice for your house painting Colorado Springs jobs. It is safer to use in that it contains less harmful chemicals than oil paint. It also releases fewer harmful fumes as it dries. After it is dried, latex paint is relatively safe. Latex is also a better choice for the environment. You can actually recycle unused latex paint! Although most recycling centers charge a fee for this, it is well worth it. Or, you can simply allow the latex paint to dry, then throw the paint away. The paint can may be recycled, after. If you want to store it for later use, that is perfectly fine, as well.

How and Where to Use Latex Paint

Latex paint is great for interior and exterior paint jobs. It is washable with soap and water after drying. Even though latex paint is safer to use than oil, still be sure the area is well ventilated, and that you are wearing proper breathing equipment. Use it on trim, siding, ceilings, and walls. Before starting to paint, wash the area. Apply a latex based primer and let dry. Next, apply your first coat of paint. You can apply a second coat (if needed) in as little as 4 hours.

Here's a guy who does a great job explaining the differences between oil-based paints and latex:

Keep in mind that latex paint is not great for painting concrete or other rough surfaces. Epoxy or oil based paints are best for that - such as on a garage floor.

A small transparent graphic of a houses floor plan.
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