Are you wondering what latex paint is and how it differs from other types of paint? Well, look no further! In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of latex paint.

Latex paint, also known as acrylic paint, has become increasingly popular for its versatility and ease of use. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a professional painter, understanding the characteristics and benefits of latex paint is essential. What is latex paint, and why would you use it over other types of paint? What about paint from particular manufacturers like Dulux, Taubmans and British Paints? Do they make latex paints for the Australian market? 

We'll tackle these questions and more, including why you would choose latex paint, whether it requires a primer, and how it compares to other types of paint. So, let's dive in and demystify the world of latex paint together!

So latex paint is the same as acrylic paint in Australia?

latex and acrylic

Yes, both latex paint and acrylic paint are essentially the same thing. They are both water-based paints that use acrylic resin as their binder. This means they are easy to clean up with water and have low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The main difference between the two is the terminology used. In North America, the term latex paint is commonly used, while in Australia and other parts of the world, acrylic paint is the preferred term. So, when someone in Australia talks about using latex paint, they are actually referring to the same type of water-based, colour-rich acrylic paint that is used worldwide.

Does Dulux make latex paints?

Dulux Latex Paint

Dulux is an Australian paint brand that offers a wide range of paint products. While Dulux does offer a range of latex-based paints, they also offer a wide variety of other paint options, including oil-based paints.

Latex-based paints are popular due to their durability, ease of application, and quick drying time. They are also known for their low odour and easy clean-up.

In Australia in 2023, Dulux continues to be a trusted brand for both professional painters and DIY enthusiasts, providing high-quality paints that meet the needs of different projects and surfaces.

What is considered latex paint?

When choosing a new colour for your walls, it's important to know what water-based paint options are available. In Australia in 2023, latex-based paint is a popular choice for many painting projects.

Here are three reasons why latex paint is worth considering:

  1. Easy application: latex-based paint is known for its smooth application and quick drying time, making it ideal for DIY projects.

  1. Primer included: many latex paints have built-in primer, saving you time and money.

  1. Durability: latex paint is highly resistant to cracking, peeling, and fading, ensuring a long-lasting finish.

So, when it comes to painting your walls, latex-based paint is a reliable and convenient choice, ensuring a beautiful and durable finish for your home.

Why would you use latex paint?

use latex paint


If you're looking to achieve a professional-looking finish with minimal effort, opting for latex paint would be a wise choice.

Latex paint is a popular option for both DIY enthusiasts and professional painters alike due to its various advantages.

Firstly, latex paint dries quickly, allowing you to apply multiple coats in a shorter amount of time. This helps to expedite the painting process and allows you to complete your project more efficiently.

Additionally, latex paint is easy to clean up with just soap and water, making it a convenient option for those who want to avoid using harsh chemicals.

Furthermore, latex paint is known for its durability and long-lasting finish, ensuring that your painted surfaces will remain vibrant and fresh for years to come.

How can you tell if paint is latex or enamel?

latex or enamel

One way to determine whether a paint is latex or enamel is by examining its drying time and the ease of cleaning it up.

Latex paint generally dries faster than enamel paint, usually within an hour or two. On the other hand, enamel paint takes longer to dry, often requiring several hours or even overnight.

Additionally, latex paint can be easily cleaned up with soap and water, while enamel paint typically requires harsher solvents or paint thinners for cleanup.

Another clue is the odour - latex paint usually has a mild, almost odourless smell, while enamel paint tends to have a stronger, more chemical-like odour.

By considering these factors, you can easily determine whether the paint you are using is latex or enamel.

Does latex paint need a primer?

Applying a primer before painting with latex is like laying a sturdy foundation for a beautiful, long-lasting finish. It may seem like an extra step, but it's worth it in the end. Here are three reasons why latex paint needs primer:

  1. Improved adhesion: primer creates a smooth surface for the latex paint to adhere to, ensuring better adhesion and reducing the chances of peeling or chipping.

  1. Even coverage: primer helps to even out the surface, allowing the latex paint to spread more evenly and reducing the number of coats needed for full coverage.

  1. Enhanced durability: by providing a barrier between the surface and the paint, primer helps to protect the underlying material from moisture, stains, and other damage, resulting in a longer-lasting paint job.

So, don't skip the primer step when using latex paint. It will help you achieve a professional-looking finish that will stand the test of time.

The great news is - as explained above - some latex paints include a primer which means you don’t need a separate layer of a specific primer before applying coats of paint.

What happens if you apply latex paint over oil-based paint?

When you apply latex paint over oil-based paint, it can lead to cracking and peeling, creating an unsightly and unstable finish. This is because latex paint and oil-based paint have different properties and do not adhere well to each other. The oil-based paint forms a hard and glossy surface, while latex paint has a flexible and breathable nature. As a result, when latex paint is applied over oil-based paint, it cannot properly bond and may start to peel off over time. To avoid this issue, it is recommended you properly prepare the surface by sanding and priming it before applying latex paint. This ensures better adhesion and a long-lasting finish.

Oil-Based Paint

Latex Paint

Hard and glossy

Flexible and breathable

Requires mineral turpentine for cleanup

Cleans up with soap and water

Longer drying time

Quick drying

Strong odour

Low odour

Suitable for exterior and interior surfaces

Primarily used for interior surfaces

Can I paint latex over enamel?

Enamel paint is known for its durability, but can you use latex over it? The answer is yes, you can paint latex over enamel, but there are a few important steps to follow. First, you need to prepare the surface by sanding it lightly to create a rough texture. This will help the latex paint adhere better. Next, clean the surface thoroughly to remove any dirt or grease. After that, apply a coat of primer specifically designed for use with latex paint. This will ensure proper adhesion and prevent any issues with peeling or bubbling. 

Finally, you can apply your latex paint as usual. Keep in mind that latex paint may not be as durable as enamel, so you may need to take extra precautions to protect the painted surface.

Pros of using latex over enamel

Cons of using latex over enamel

Easy to apply

May not be as durable as enamel

Quick drying time

Requires proper surface preparation

Wide range of colour options

Extra precautions may be needed for protection


So, now you know all about latex paint and its uses. Latex paint, also known as acrylic paint in Australia, is a popular choice for its durability and ease of use.

Brands like Dulux offer latex paint options, which are considered the equivalent of latex paint.

Latex paint is best applied with a primer and can be applied over oil-based paint, although it's always recommended to prep the surface properly. Overall, latex paint is a durable and versatile option for your painting needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Dulux paint be classified as latex paint?

Yes, Dulux has some types of latex paint, commonly recognised as a type of water-based paint. They offer a wide range of paint products.

Is there an equivalent type of paint to latex paint available?

Yes, there is an equivalent type of paint to latex paint available. It is called acrylic paint, which is also water-based and provides a durable, long-lasting finish.

How is latex paint defined or considered in the paint industry?

In the paint industry, latex paint is defined as a water-based paint that contains synthetic polymers. It is known for its durability, quick drying time, and ease of cleanup.

What are the advantages or reasons for using latex paint over other types of paint?

The advantages of using latex paint over other types include easy cleanup, low odour, fast drying time, and the ability to be used on various surfaces. It's a popular choice for interior painting projects.