Latex or Oil or Acrylic or Alkyd
Paint types explained
New and old paint formulations can lead to some confusion about the types of paints available and what the differences are between them.
There are two basic types of house paint commonly used for residential applications:
1- "Latex" or water based paint
2- "Oil" or "Alkyd" based paint
The term "Latex" is used by some paint companies to refer to their water based paints. There is no natural latex in modern paints.
The term "Oil based" is used to refer to paints that have a linseed oil or Alkyd base. 'Alkyd" is a synthetic oil base. These paints require a solvent such as mineral spirits for thinning and clean up. Oil or Alkyd based paints are almost exclusively considered "enamels" due to their hard durable gloss or semigloss finish and are typically used for coating windows, doors, and woodwork trim.
( color will yellow or darken over time )
"Acrylic" or "Acrylic Latex" paint are water based paints that contain "Acrylic" as the film forming binder ingredient. neither contain any natural latex as an ingredient. "Acrylic" provides a non yellowing durable finish. Water clean up.
"Acrylic enamel" or "Acrylic latex enamel " paint is a water based acrylic paint with a high durability rating. Neither contain any natural latex. Typically these paints have a (non yellowing ) gloss or semigloss sheen for coating windows, doors, and woodwork trim. Water clean up.
"Acrylic wall paint" and "Acrylic latex wall paint" are water based paints that contain the acrylic binder, neither contain any natural latex. Most wall paints are not considered enamels however some wall paints carry an enamel label due to their sheen (shine) or durability rating. Water clean up.
Not all "Latex" paints contain "acrylic". Some contain different types of binders, film forming ingredients, and fillers, however "acrylic" is considered to be superior to most and is an important part of high quality paints.
Be sure to check the lable for the desired sheen and remember that the more shine the paint has the more it will show surface imperfections.