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What Types of Paint are Water Based?

Discover the ins and outs of water-based paint – from acrylic to latex. Easy cleanup, fast drying, and a variety of uses. Your go-to guide for a successful paint project.

Water-based paint is a go-to for almost any painting job, whether inside or outside. It's user-friendly – easy to clean, dries fast, and lacks the strong smell of some oil-based options. Before your next painting venture, get the lowdown on water-based paints, part three of our "Ultimate Guides" series. Check out our other guides on Oil-Based and Non-Toxic Paint too.


The Four Types of Water-Based Paint


1.  Acrylic Paint

Acrylic Paint

If it says "acrylic" on the can, it means more acrylic polymers are in the mix compared to latex paint. This gives it a higher price tag but delivers better grip, durability, and toughness. While it might be excessive for indoor walls, it's a solid choice for heavy-duty tasks like revamping kitchen cabinets or outdoor furniture. Some labels even throw in "enamel" to highlight extra durability.


2. Latex Paint

Latex Paint

On the flip side, latex paint cuts costs by having fewer acrylic polymers. Perfect for walls, it might not hold up as well on outdoor furniture. DIYers adore it for its cost-effectiveness, eco-friendliness, and better coverage compared to acrylic. And don't forget the pro tip: more volume solids usually mean higher quality, so check that paint can or spec sheet.


3. Chalk Paints

Chalk Paints

If you're into that vintage, shabby-chic look, chalk paints are your go-to. They adhere well to various surfaces and offer a matte finish that screams character. Transform your furniture into timeless pieces with this water-based gem.


4. Watercolor Paints

Watercolor Paints

Watercolor paints are a staple for any budding artist. Easy to blend and layer, they create mesmerizing artworks. Plus, the cleanup is a breeze – just water and soap. Dive into the world of watercolor painting and let your creativity flow.


Advantages of  Water-Based Paint 


Choosing water-based paints comes with some sweet advantages. They stick well to various surfaces, resist common paint issues like flaking, peeling, and blistering, and offer:


1. Durability 


Excellent adhesion and flexibility, even beating oil-based paints.

2. Color Retention 


Resists fading and chalking.

3. Ease of Application


Goes on smoothly, no stubborn brush drag.

4. Mildew Resistance


Additives keep mildew at bay, keeping your paint looking fresh.

5. Versatility 


Works on wood, concrete, stucco, brick, aluminum, vinyl siding, and galvanized metal.

water- based paint
6. Odor


Way less smelly than oil-based counterparts.

7. Drying Time


Quick-drying in one to six hours, so you can recoat on the same day.

8. Cleanup


A breeze with water and soap.


9. Environmentally Friendly

Water-based paints are kind to Mother Earth. They contain fewer harmful chemicals and emit fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than their oil-based counterparts. Choosing water-based paints is a small step toward a greener planet.




In the realm of home decor and artistry, water-based paints shine bright. From the all-around reliability of latex paints to the artistic freedom provided by acrylics, these paints offer a colorful palette of possibilities. Their eco-friendly nature, easy cleanup, and quick drying time make them a favorite among DIY enthusiasts and artists alike.

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