Difference Between Acrylic and Latex

Acrylic vs Latex

Paints are of different types; some are for fabric painting, some are for building paintings, and there are separate paints for art work.

Latex Paint

Originally latex is a natural product found in the rubber tree. Although the paint is named as latex paint, it doesn’t contain this original latex. In fact, latex paint has a synthetic polymer which is completely different and has different properties from natural latex. Latex paint is a general term used to indicate all paints that use synthetic polymers. They use synthetic polymers such as vinyl acrylic, acrylic as binders. Since, natural latex and these synthetic polymers share a milky appearance and they become clear and flexible when dry, these paints are called latex.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic is a group of resins derived from acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, or other related compounds. They are thermoplastic or thermosetting plastic substances. They are polymers generated by a monomer using a polymerization initiator and heat. Acrylic paint is paint where the pigments are suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion.

Acrylic paint dries fast after applying. It is thick and can be diluted with water when using. Depending on the degree of dilution, the finished acrylic painting can have the effect of water colour or oil painting. Other than water, acrylic paint can be modified with acrylic gels, media, or pastes. Although the acrylic paints are soluble in water, after the painting dries out they are not washed away with water. Further, the painting is non-removable with other mild solvents. However, acrylic paintings on solid surfaces can be totally removed by some solvents which will also remove all the layers of the painting. Acrylic paint on the skin can be removed using oil.

There are different types of acrylic paints available. Some have gloss finish and some have matte finish. Usually politec acrylics are fully matte. Paintings made by acrylic paints have a satin sheen finish. Artists can alter the finished look by using top coats or varnishes. When acrylic paint is dissolved in water it dries rapidly but by using retarders like glycol or glycerine based additives, fast evaporation of water can be slowed.

Using acrylic paint is more flexible and it can be applied directly onto the raw canvas if needed. They are stable than oil paintings and do not crack or fade easily like oil paints. One advantage of acrylic paint is that it can be mixed with any other media. Pastel, pen, or charcoal can be used to draw on top of dried acrylic painted surface. Even other substances like sand, rice can be incorporated into the artwork when acrylic paint is used.

What is the difference between Acrylic and Latex?

  • Acrylic paint is also a type of latex paint.
  • Acrylic paints are better than other latex paints.
  • Acrylic paints have a high water and stain resistance.
  • Acrylic paints are more expensive.
  • Acrylic paints resist cracking and have the resistance to alkali cleaners.
  • Acrylic paint is often used for artwork whereas latex paint is used for interior and exterior of buildings and houses.