Latex Paint: The Pros and Cons for Interior Painting Projects

Are you thinking about tackling an interior house painting project? Are you wondering if latex paint is the best type of paint for the job? Before you commit to using latex paint in your next home improvement project, it’s important to understand both its advantages and disadvantages. By the end of this blog post, you will know all the pros and cons of using latex paint for your project so that you can make the best decision for your needs.

Latex Paint: The Pros and Cons for Interior Painting Projects

Latex paints have been around since the 1940s, and they’ve become a popular choice for interior painting projects. It’s made of synthetic polymers emulsified in water, and it can be used to paint over almost any interior or exterior surface. Latex paint has several available finishes–high-gloss, semi-gloss, and matte–so you’re sure to find one that fits your aesthetic needs. But if you’re having trouble choosing a color, be sure to check out our guide on how to choose a paint color quickly and more easily.

But before you commit to using latex, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons. 

Let’s start with a breakdown of the pros of latex paint. 

Latex Paint Pros

Tribble employee painting a wall

Easy To Clean Up

Latex paint is easier to clean up than other types of paint, which makes it ideal if you have children or pets who might make a mess– an especially crucial advantage when dealing with an indoor painting project. This is due to the fact that latex paint is water-based rather than oil-based or chemical-based.

Typically, all you need is some soap and water to clean up any accidental spills or applications. This also means that you can clean off your brushes and rollers with water rather than using turpentine or other chemical-based cleaners.

Doesn’t Yellow Over Time

Another advantageous quality of latex paint is that it doesn’t yellow over time. Unlike many oil-based paints that tend to yellow with age, latex paint maintains its color. This is an especially important quality if you are applying pale-colored or white paint indoors since those are the colors that tend to yellow the most with oil-based paints. Using latex paint indoors means that you don’t have to worry about your walls looking dingy after a few years.

Dries and Cures Faster

Latex dries and cures faster than other certain types of paints, making it easy to get your project done quickly. This quality makes latex paint advantageous to use when you have a large area to cover in a short amount of time. 

More Environmentally-Friendly

Latex is also more environmentally friendly than oil-based paints since it produces fewer fumes and is made with lower amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This is a benefit for indoor painting projects, where harmful fumes can quickly build up without proper ventilation.

The low levels of VOCs help make water-based latex paint non-flammable. This quality makes latex paint easier to store or dispose of than other paint types.

More Widely Available

The growing popularity of latex paints means they are easier to find than many other types of paint–especially oil-based paints. So if you want a paint that is easier to find and comes in a wider selection of colors, latex paint may be the best option for your project.

Latex Paint Often Features A Better Warranty

Many latex paint manufacturers offer a 10-15 year warranty on latex paint. Some paint makers even offer a lifetime warranty! That being said, warranties from the manufacturer usually only cover any defects in the paint product itself. So if you didn’t properly prepare the surface or use the correct primer, this type of warranty wouldn’t cover your paint failure. That’s why it’s crucial to hire experienced painting professionals since they will usually offer a warranty on their work that exceeds the manufacturer’s warranty.

Less Expensive

In most cases, latex paint is the more affordable option when it comes to indoor paints. This makes it the most cost-effective choice when it comes to painting large areas.

Latex Paint Cons

Painted Home Interior Wall Before

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of latex paint let’s take a closer look at the downsides.

Multiple Coats Are Often Required

While any professional painter worth their salt will tell you that it’s always a good idea to apply at least two coats, latex paint often requires even more. This is especially true if you are painting over a dark color with a light color. For instance, if you’re planning to paint over a navy blue color with white, multiple coats may be required in order for the lighter color to show through properly–which can add time and expense to your project. 

Latex paint tends to blend better than other paints, so a dirty wall or a dark color will still show through after you apply an initial coat. This is also why it’s crucial to properly prep the area you are painting and ensure that it has been cleaned. Generally speaking, latex paints usually don’t hide imperfections in the wall quite as well as oil-based paints do–so if your walls have bumps or divots that need covering up, then oil-based might be the way to go instead. 

Latex Doesn’t Work On Wood As Well As Oil-Based Paint

As a water-based paint, latex tends to get absorbed by the wood, causing it to swell and expand. This can cause latex paint to crack or peel, especially if you don’t sand in between coats. On the other hand, oil-based paint works well with wood and covers more thoroughly with just one coat.

Doesn’t Work Well On Rough Surfaces Or Objects That Get Touched A Lot

While latex paint can be utilized on a coarse surface, it’s not typically intended to withstand frequent contact. It can start to chip and flake away with continuous manipulation, making it more suited for surfaces that will not require consistent handling or sitting. This means you shouldn’t use latex paint on furniture or other objects that get touched a lot.

Less Durable

Latex paint isn’t as durable as many other types of paint. It’s not as resistant to scratches or abrasions as other certain types of paint are. This makes it less ideal for areas prone to wear-and-tear or high traffic, such as kitchens or hallways. 

Latex Paint vs Oil-Based Paint

When choosing between latex versus oil-based paint for your interior painting project, consider these pros and cons carefully before making your decision. It’s also important to keep in mind that each type of paint has unique characteristics that make them better suited for certain applications–so make sure you understand how each type will affect your end result before beginning your project!  

Latex paint:

  • Dries quickly
  • Cleans up easy
  • Releases fewer odors
  • Generally less expensive
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Widely available
  • Not ideal paint for wood

Oil-based paint:

  • Better coverage on wood surfaces
  • Goes on smoother
  • Shrinks less
  • Takes longer to dry
  • Better for high-traffic areas
  • Not environmentally friendly and has more fumes
  • Can yellow over time

Latex Paint vs Acrylic Paint

Still, debating whether to use latex paint or acrylic paint? Use the lists below to easily compare the benefits and disadvantages of each type of paint.

Latex paint:

  • Dries quickly
  • Cleans up easy
  • Releases fewer odors
  • Generally less expensive
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Widely available
  • Not ideal paint for wood

Acrylic paint:

  • Water-resistant
  • Better adhesion
  • Resists blistering and cracking better
  • Good stain protection
  • Handles cleaners better
  • Highly flammable
  • Not environmentally friendly and has more fumes

More Interior Painting Tips

painting office interior
  • No matter what type of paint you choose, you should always wear protective material. Latex has fewer chemicals than many other types of paint, but it still contains them.
  • Use a paint primer!
  • Always clean and prep surfaces you plan to paint to maximize the lifetime of your paint job.
  • If you are painting a flat wall, latex is generally your best paint option.
  • When painting inside, paint the trim first, followed by the ceiling and then the interior walls.
  • Corners and other areas that are painted with a brush tend to have a different texture than roller-painted areas. Try using a small roller over the brushed-on paint to ensure a consistent texture.
  • If you want an ultra-smooth finish, try sanding between coats with fine-grit sandpaper.
  • Not sure what to do in a particular situation? Consult a professional painter!

Let The Experts At Tribble Painting Company Handle Your Interior Painting Project

If you’re still undecided about what type of paint to use for your next project, remember that latex has a number of advantages over oil-based paints. Not only is it cheaper and easier to work with, but it’s also more environmentally friendly and durable.

However, if you’re painting over a dark color with a light one, multiple coats may be necessary. And if you’re working with wood, oil-based paints are usually a better option since they don’t swell the grain like latex can. When it comes to choosing between latex and acrylic paints, it really comes down to personal preference.

If you have any questions about which type of paint is right for your project, our team of experts would be happy to help. Just fill out our contact form today, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

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