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What are the differences between acrylic and latex paint?

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Quick Answer

Acrylic paint is chemical based and almost always used for artwork, while latex paint is water based and used for painting homes and other buildings. Latex and acrylic paints have largely replaced alkyd and oil-based paints that were used for decades. They are similar, but there are several differences between them.

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What are the differences between acrylic and latex paint?
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Full Answer

Latex paint is used for homes because it provides better coverage in fewer coats and is less expensive than acrylic paint. Latex dries faster, and it is usually not prudent to use acrylic paint for the exterior of structures because it expands and contracts depending on the temperature.

Latex paint offers painters easy clean-up using only water. Acrylic paint has to be cleaned up using chemical thinners and takes longer to clean up. Latex paints are more readily available in many stores and most people have to go to craft stores to find acrylic paints.

Generally, artists are the only ones who use acrylic paints because they are elastic and work well for a variety of projects. Acrylic paints are flammable due to their chemical composition. They are also more toxic than latex paint for the same reason. Both latex and acrylic paints are safer for the environment and safer than oil-based paint.

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