Are you prepared for the excitement of learning about the differences between chalk paint and latex paint?
Because it’s gonna be very enjoyable!
I have scoured the Internet’s most authoritative sources to find out exactly how chalk paint and latex paint are different, the pros and cons of each, and when it’s better to use either or.
If you have never heard of chalk paint, it’s a type of paint that’s very versatile, easy to use, and is a core element of Joanna Gaines’s modern farmhouse art style, specifically as it applies to painting furniture.
So, if you’re ready, let’s jump in and do some fast and furious learning.
MAN this is going to be FUN!
What Is Chalk Paint?
Wikipedia’s definition for chalk paint is, “Chalk paint is a water-based, decorative paint invented by Annie Sloan which may be applied over almost any surface. It requires very little preparation and needs a topcoat to avoid flaking.”
While chalk paint doesn’t necessarily contain chalk, it does yield a chalky, matte finish. It’s an ornamental paint most commonly used for creating vintage, rustic character on furniture pieces.
However, it’s a very versatile type of paint that adheres well to not only wooden furniture, but also metals, drywall, plastic, and just about anything else.
Chalk paint can be included in nearly any design scheme to achieve enticing results. It can be used to complement any decor style, from bohemian to farmhouse to minimalist.
This easy-to-prep-for type of paint is most popularly used to create a distressed appearance on furniture. It looks classy, classic, and captivating. It adds charm and a distinct feeling of history.
What Is Latex Paint?
Latex paint is a water-based coating that has relatively low volatile organic compound (VOC) levels, and is therefore a popular choice for painting interior walls, cabinetry, furniture, balusters, and more.
This type of paint is made up of a water base, a solvent, and pigments. It coats well over existing latex paint or oil-based paint, although it doesn’t typically adhere well to surfaces with high-gloss finishes.
“Acrylic” latex paint contains added plastic resins, like polyvinyls or acrylic resins, which make it adhere more effectively.
How Is Chalk Paint Different from Regular Paint?
There are loads of differences between chalk paint and regular latex paint, including viscosity, application techniques, clean up methods, and the final appearance after full curing.
Chalk paint has a thicker consistency than latex paint does, meaning it applies on surfaces in bulkier layers while also being less prone to run or drip.
Project-dependent, chalk paint typically only requires a single coat, whereas latex paint often requires two or more coats.
Chalk paint is also easier to clean up. It’s easy to remove from your skin, painting equipment, and even your clothing. It just takes some warm soap and water. After latex paint dries, it typically requires mineral spirits or some other type of solvent to clean up.
Another key difference between chalk paint and latex paint is that chalk paint only comes in one finish, a creamy matte finish. Latex paint is available with flat, eggshell, semi-gloss, and high-gloss sheens.
Crafty DIYers enjoy using chalk paint on vintage furniture pieces that have loads of cracks, scratches, and other anomalies. The chalk paint coats smoothly and fluently, even over multiple layers of paint.
Pros of Chalk Paint
There are loads of benefits associated with chalk paint, including:
- Awesome for use on vintage furniture, bar stools, cabinetry, and other classy decor items
- It requires very little prep work and can effectively coat numerous surfaces
- Can be used to create a refreshed appearance on old or new furniture
- Effectively conceals wood grains, scratches, stains, and blemishes
- Adheres to just about any surface very well without prep
- Light sanding is recommended but not required
- Creates a unique, vintage, rustic appearance
- Typically only requires one coat
- Priming is optional
- Dries quickly
Fully cured chalk paint can be easily modified to achieve a distressed or antiqued appearance. It simply requires a follow-up coating with a quality wax or finish product.
Pros of Latex Paint
While the list of pros of latex paint may not be as lengthy as that of chalk paint, latex paint is an affordable, versatile, and low-toxicity option. Some of the benefits of latex paint include:
- Available in multiple finish types (sheens)
- Available in an infinite color range
- Water-based and low VOCs
I’ve used latex paint for many years, and I can assure you that it is a much more pleasant experience than working with anything that’s oil-based. So, that’s another benefit of latex paint. It’s water-based and relatively easy to clean up.
Cons of Chalk Paint
There aren’t a lot of bad things to say about chalk paint. About the only thing I can think of is that it isn’t very durable if it’s left unsealed, especially if it’s going to be used on outside furniture or for any high-traffic purpose. In that case, or if you want it to have a sheen, you’ll want to coat it with wax or a finish.
Cons of Latex Paint
Well, I don’t want it to seem like I’m picking on latex paint, because I like it. However, it does have some drawbacks relative to chalk paint, including:
- Works well on walls and furniture, but is not so great for surfaces not made of wood or drywall
- Priming is always recommended, as is sanding in between every coat
- Typically requires more than one coat to achieve the desired finish
- Does not work well to cover sealed wood without extensive prep
- Requires considerably longer to dry in between coats
- Difficult to create antiqued or distressed finishes on
- Does not conceal patterned or grained wood well
There’s also a possibility that water-based latex paint will cause bare metal to rust, or, possibly, wallpaper to peel off of the wall.
My Final Thoughts About Chalk Paint vs Regular Latex Paint
There aren’t any rules set in stone about when it’s better to use chalk paint instead of regular latex paint. The choice is yours. You are in command of your painting destination!
Seriously though, it’s going to depend on the size, scope, and other nuances of your particular painting project. It all depends on how much work you’re willing to put into achieving the results you want, if you want what you’re painting to have a sheen instead of a chalky matte finish, and how much the price difference between chalk paint and latex paint matters in your budget.
Thank you very much for reading along with me today, and I hope that you find the information valuable and helpful. In my opinion, working with chalk paint is better in almost every way relative to working with latex paint, unless you’re after a glossy finish. However, even then, you may incur less physical work by using chalk paint first, and then applying a wax or other finish to achieve a gloss.
Enjoy your painting experiences. They are reflections of your creative beauty!
- Katie Scott SALVAGED by k. scott
- Miss Fix This