Determining Your Paint's Base: Is it Latex Free?

Tony 12/07/2018

In a 2017 interior design trends survey, more than a third of respondents said they would choose a neutral color palette if redecorating their home. But whatever your painting project needs may be, ensuring you've chosen the right paint is critical to the quality of the end product. While latex free paints are some of the safest for human health, it's not always easy to determine the type of paint you're working with, especially if you're using leftover paint from storage. With that in mind, here's what you should know about determining whether you have oil, latex, or latex free paints.

Do Opposites Attract?

In short, no. Before you start any type of painting project, make sure to think about the type of paint that may already be on your wall or floor, if any. Latex paints don't blend well with latex free paints, and oil paints don't blend well with other types of paint either. The biggest issue is that these paints don't properly adhere to each other, and only a skilled painter knows how to work around this. Certain primers may also help.

Determining the Paint Type

To determine the type of paint that's already on your wall or project area, you can perform something known as the alcohol test. Start by washing a small section of the area with a light detergent mixed into warm water. Dry the area with a clean towel, and then rub it with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball. If the paint comes off, it's latex based, and if not, it's oil based.

Health Concerns

As mentioned, choosing anything but low VOC or latex free paints may pose long-term risks to your respiratory health. In a recent study, participants spent six full work days in an environmentally-controlled office space at the TIEQ lab at the Syracuse Center of Excellence. In this space, VOC levels were reduced to approximately 50 micrograms per cubic meter and 40 cubic feet per minute of outdoor air per person. They found that, on average, cognitive scores were 101% higher than in conventional workspaces.

Ultimately, it's important to be aware of the type of paints you're using for any given project. Low VOC paints and other latex free materials provide a better quality color application while preserving human health and safety. For more information about picking out paint, contact Ecos Paints.