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Is Acrylic Paint Best for Walls?

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100% acrylic paint is a derivative of water-based latex paint composed completely of acrylic resins. It offers a colorful protective coating for walls and quickly forms a waterproof surface. It combines the easy cleanup of water-based latex paint with the superior durability of oil-based paint. Acrylic paint offers an excellent choice for many, if not all, house paint jobs.

With one coat, acrylic paint adheres to a wide variety of surfaces (assuming they are primed properly) like wood, plastics, metals, and masonry. Acrylic paint is highly elastic, able to expand and contract without splitting. By holding its surface intact and keeping moisture out, peeling is prevented. Acrylic paint also resists mildew and features a breathable surface membrane, allowing moisture to escape without blistering or losing adhesion.

Acrylic paint has excellent color retention and possesses better resistance to sunlight and the elements than oil-based paint. It also keeps its sheen longer than oil-based paint and paint touch-up is easier.

Acrylic paint dries more quickly than oil-based paint, within as little as 2 hours, and allows a second coat to be applied as soon as 4-6 hours later. It has less odor than oil-based paint, making it easier to use in enclosed spaces, and it has a low temperature application down to 35 F.

Acrylic paint has a few drawbacks, though, compared to the other paints. Acrylic paint doesn't flow well like oil-based paint, showing brush strokes. Paint additives like conditioners and enamel are required to reduce this effect. Acrylic paint also doesn't harden as much as oil-based paint upon curing, showing damage in active, highly trafficked areas.

Acrylic paint's main drawback occurs if applied to preexisting oil-based layers. Acrylic paint's elasticity can have a tendency to loosen underlying paint coats and cause peeling and wood damage. Prevalent mainly in older houses, oil-based paint layers that aren't removed should be repainted with oil-based paint rather than acrylic paint.

100% acrylic paint offers superior protection and color retention when compared to most commercially available latex water-based paints and oil-based paints. Acrylic paint, along with a suitable primer, is therefore highly recommended for walls and most other paint jobs, especially outdoors.

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