Latex paint is the most utilized type of coating for the interior of most homes due to its advantages over other paint products. A few of those advantages would include easy clean up, quick drying time and low odour.

If you're interested in what goes into the making of a gallon of latex paint you should find the information below of interest.


Paints are created using an assortment of products. Some of the basic ingredients for a latex paint will, in most cases, include the materials that follow.

  • Pigments:
    Adds color to the paint.

  • Resins:
    Creates a durable film on the paints surface.

  • Additives:
    For thickening, drying or an anti-foaming.

  • Solvents:
    Prevents drying prior to paint application.

Latex paint is a suspension of synthetic resins in water (or water base as it is commonly called). The resins can include acrylics, vinyl's and epoxies. Latex is superior to alkyd (oil base) coatings for the majority of paint projects.


Latex coatings do have their advantages, most ofm which involve them being much better for both humans and the environment.

  • Benefits:
    Latex cleans up easily with soap and water and is less hazardous to you and the environment.

  • Health and the Environment:
    A latex paint has less volatile organic compounds (VOC's) than oil based coatings and is well suited for most interior home projects. Due to latex having lower VOCs it's less of an environmental pollutant.

  • Why are volatile organic compounds bad:
    VOC's have been known to cause eye, lung and skin irritations. Along with headaches, nausea, respiratory difficulty, muscle weakness, liver and kidney problems. Latex paint significantly reduces the pollution that causes these irritants.

  • Latex paints are much easier to use:
    Latex requires less skill to use. Latex has a shorter drying time. It can be applied to areas that are a little damp. Latex paints are easy cleaning.

  • Resists Mildew:
    Even in rooms with high humidity latex paints are resistant to mildew.

To put latex paint into perspective, over one billion gallons of coatings are sold in the United States alone and fifty percent of those products are used for new structures. While the DIY industry in the U.S. applies 185 million gallons of paint, 73% is water based. So, with that said, the more latex products used by the home owner the better it will be for the environment and living organisms (which would include us).


Some common questions follow regarding latex paint. If you can't find the answers that your looking for then this ask a question page should help you out.

  • Can I apply latex over oil ( Alkyd ) paint:
    Yes, if you wish to use latex for your home decorating paint it can be applied over oil. Prior to doing so, a gloss or semi-gloss finish must be sanded, liquid de-glosser applied or primer used. If either of these steps are not followed the paint may not adhere properly to the painted surface.

  • Are there precautions when using latex paint:
    The temperature of a surfaces area cannot be warmer than 90 degrees F neither can it be colder than 45 degrees F.

    Hotter temperatures can induce water to evaporate from the paint. Colder temperatures on the other hand will stop the latex coating from forming a proper film. Both conditions can cause the painted surface to look flawed and uneven.

    Know your weather forecast prior to painting so that the paint has a chance to cure properly.

  • Can I thin latex paint:
    Thinning of latex paint can cause drips, sags and the probability of extra coats. However, diluting latex by up to 10% (maximum) is recommended for some paint spraying equipment.

  • How do I keep my can of paint from ageing:
    The recommend is for latex paint to be kept for no longer than two years. I, of course, have successfully applied coating far past the recommended time (I knew there was a risk though).

    Be sure the lip of the paint can is clean and free of debris. Place a layer of plastic wrap over the can and then hammer down the lid. The paint should be stored upside down in a cool, dry place and protected from freezing.

  • My paint froze what should I do:
    Prolonged or repeated freezing can cause paint to separate. Even so, frozen paint is usable just as long as it stirs freely when thawed. Also, once throughly stirred there should be no obvious separation of the paints ingredients o? clumps and grittiness.

  • I'm allergic to latex maybe I shouldn't use latex paint.
    Latex paint is not made from rubber plant products, therefore your latex paint will not cause you an allergic type reaction.

  • Is oil based more costly than latex:
    Generally alkyd paints are, in most cases, more expensive than latex.

In time, (I believe) that alkyd paints will no longer be used for home decorating projects. Especially with the new modified oils (they are water clean up) on the market. Furthermore, a large amount of research dollars are earmarked for the elimination of VOC's entirely.

With that said, if at all possible it's always best to use a non-VOC, latex based paint coating.

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