Difference Between Alkyd and Latex Paint

Alkyd and latex paints are used widely for painting purposes. Their properties create the difference between these two paint varieties. One is oil-based, and the other one is water-based.


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Latex is used for domestic purposes like home interiors and large surfaces. While Alkyd, on the other way, is used for crafting and painting purposes on wood and metal.

Key Takeaways

  1. Alkyd paint is oil-based, offering durability, excellent adhesion, and a glossy finish.
  2. Latex paint is water-based, dries quickly, and has a low odor and low levels of toxic emissions.
  3. Alkyd paint is best for high-traffic areas and exterior surfaces, while latex paint is suitable for indoor applications and easy clean-ups.

Alkyd vs Latex Paint

The difference between Alkyd and latex paint is that latex paint is water-based, also called acrylic paint. This category of paint is thinner and easy to use. It takes around one to two hours to dry. They cannot be used directly over the steel. A primer is required. On the contrary, alkyd paint is oil-based and takes days to weeks to dry on the surface. It is thicker, so it would be more difficult to spread. The oil-based paint is not versatile at all.

Alkyd vs Latex Paint

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The alkyd paint is oil-based paint which means that this type of paint has better adhesion. This type of pain is thick and heavy with a strong odour.

Alkyd paints are comparatively durable and last longer without peeling or cracking. Due to this reason, this paint is used often in the bathroom, kitchen, and in other exteriors.

Latex Paints are water-based and easy to use. This type of pain is thin and can spread easily and dry faster.

They are less durable in humidity areas. Latex paint is also called acrylic paint. They are versatile and can be used easily and conveniently with other materials like charcoal and pastel.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAlkyd PaintLatex Paint
CompositionAlkyd paints are oil-based.Latex paints are water-based.
UseThey are thick and difficult to use.They are thin and can be used easily.
Time to DryDepending on the coats, the drying time of latex paint varies from days to weeks.It takes nearly one to two hours to dry.
OdorIt has a strong odor.It has a mild odor.
ToxicityThey are toxic.They are not toxic.
FinishingAlkyd paints are smoother with glossy finishing.Latex paints have a matte and glossy finishing.
DurabilityThey are not easily stained but may fade or turn yellow with time.They are easy to stain but it does not peel with time.
CostingThe pricing of latex paint may vary with the quality.Latex paints are comparatively cheaper than latex paint.

What is Alkyd Paint?

Alkyd paints are composed of oil, or in other words, they are generally called oil-based and used for painting purposes.

They are usually made from linseed oil and are comparatively thicker. This type of paint stir and shake well before using and mixing because they tend to have bubbles.

The finishing of this type of paint is glossy and smoother as it covers the surfaces thoroughly in just one coat. However, it has a strong smell and is more adhesive in nature.

For stains, better coverage is required. The paint should be applied to the primed canvas properly to prevent the canvas from rotting. They are stain-resistant but not versatile.

What is Latex Paint?

Latex paint is also called acrylic paint. They are water-based and water-soluble in nature.

No priming is required before applying this paint. It takes around one to two hours to dry.

Before starting the painting, they can be used or applied to the canvas but primed with material like gesso.

Latex paint is versatile and can be used conveniently with other materials like charcoal. They can create an astonishing watercolour-like effect when diluted with water.

They are matte and easy to stain. Acrylic paint has a mild smell and is non-toxic.

latex paint

Main Differences Between Alkyd and Latex Paint

  1. Alkyd and latex paints are used for different purposes. These two paints vary from one another in composition. Alkyd paint is oil-based and usually made from linseed oil. On the contrary, latex paint is considered water-based.
  2. Latex paint is thin, and hence it would be easy to use because no prior priming is required before painting. On the other side, Alkyd paint is thick and quite difficult to spread over the surface. Hence a priming coat is mandatory before applying the latex paint to avoid peeling.
  3. Alkyd and latex paint have their respective properties that differentiate these two from one another. Latex paint takes nearly one to two hours to dry. Alkyd paint, on the other side, is thick, and hence it takes days to weeks to dry, depending on the number of coats and the surface.
  4. Every painting has a significant smell. Latex paint has a mild or light smell, but Alkyd paint on the other side has a strong smell, and this is due to the composition of this type of paint as they are composed of oil and other similar material.
  5. Durability plays an important role in selecting the paint. Alkyd paint is durable and does not easily get stained. But this type of paint may get fade or turn yellow with time, or in other words, it gets oxidized. Latex paint, on the other hand, is comparatively less durable than latex paint and easy to stain.
  6. The cost of Alkyd and latex paint has wide differences. Alkyd paint is further categorized into various types, and the pricing of each one is different from another, depending on the quality. Latex, on the other side, is comparatively cheaper than Alkyd paint.
Difference Between Alkyd and Latex Paint
  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10473289.1998.10463741
  2. https://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/pdf1994/willi94b.pdf

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