If you are preparing to do a major paint job around the home, one thing you may be considering is how to carry around the heavy paint itself.
So, one important factor to consider is how much a single gallon of paint weighs or how much will be the weight of a 5-gallon paint bucket.
After all, if you need a lot of paint, you will need some way of carrying it around.
A typical gallon of paint will weigh from six to twelve pounds depending on the brand and type.
And five-gallon buckets may actually weigh more than five one-gallon buckets of paint.
This means a five-gallon bucket of paint weighs from forty to sixty pounds which can be a lot of paint to carry around.
The difference in weights can be due to the elements like acrylic, enamel, latex, and oil-based paints that vary in terms of density which affects their overall weight.
Surprisingly, the type of paint is the most significant factor in terms of the differences in weight. So, let’s understand them.
Different Paint Types & Approximate Weights
Gallon sizes are the most common among brands and types that vary from acrylic to enamel, latex, and oil-based paints.
The reason for the differences in weight lies within how the paint itself is manufactured.
Paints come in two basic types, oil and water-based. And while every paint contains liquid and pigment, there are other ingredients that are unique to each type of paint.
This will add to the weight of the paint itself.
It may sound counterintuitive, but water-based paint tends to be heavier than oil-based varieties.
Despite the heaviness, the reason water-based versions are more popular in the US compared to oil-based paints is they are more friendly to the environment, are easy to wash away with soap and water, and have fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) compared to oil-based versions.
However, oil-based paints do have one advantage in that they are considerably more durable in nature.
What follows are the different types of paint and how they affect the weight.
You see acrylics used in arts and crafts and especially in nail polish. It is water-based, has an acrylic resin, and uses polymer emulsions.
Because of the water base, it is similar in weight to latex paint.
However, you will find more varieties and brands of acrylics paints on the market.
Such varieties tend to exist in paint cans that are considerably smaller than gallon-size.
The only exception is when acrylic paint is mixed with latex.
Although there are differences depending on the color and brand, a typical gallon of acrylic paint will weigh roughly twelve pounds.
Acrylic tends to be less expensive per gallon compared to latex. It also happens to be thicker as well.
A standard gallon of acrylic paint will cover an area of 250 square feet. But most people use acrylic paint to cover much smaller areas or objects.
Although acrylic paint is good quality material, latex is generally better to paint your home.
Latex paints will dry quickly and are easy to clean up because it is a water-based paint.
That also means it is non-toxic and more friendly to the environment thanks to the lack of VOCs.
You can expect a gallon of latex paint to weigh just over eleven pounds depending on the brand.
A typical gallon of latex paint will cover 400 square feet. And you may need more than a few gallons to cover your entire home.
For painting the full interior which includes the trim, cabinets, doors, and ceiling you may be looking at over a hundred pounds of latex paint.
One downside of latex paint is that the water content makes it unsuitable to store in cold conditions.
It also makes it difficult to paint when the temperature drops below forty degrees F.
The term enamel may refer to different types of paint, such as the material inside the paint or the finish itself.
You’ll find enamel paint used on vehicles and boats because it dries quickly and has a hard, glossy finish that resists water.
Because of its water resistance, enamel paints are perfect for outdoor use which includes the exterior of the home, stair railings, patio furniture, and the like.
Enamel is also used as a sealant for garages and basements to protect the concrete.
However, the exact weight of enamel paint is not easy to come by.
This is because enamel paints cover a broad range of options. The variations include whether the enamel paint is based on oil or acrylic.
Plus, who manufactures the paint and what other materials they include is also a factor.
Most enamel paints used on vehicles will weigh around eleven pounds per gallon. This may vary depending on the color and brand.
However, the paint will lose a lot of weight as it dries, which is why it is often used on boats, airplanes, or racing vehicles.
Oil-based paints are the oldest of paints on the market, dating back centuries.
Either based on linseed oil or synthetic alkyd, oil-based paints offer a wide variety of applications.
The big downside is that oil-based paints have VOCs and are not environmentally friendly.
That is a significant consideration, so you will need to paint in a well-ventilated area.
Plus, oil-based paints are harder to clean up and often require toxic products such as paint thinners or mineral spirits to clean the brushes and tools.
Trim, fixtures, and handrails are good places to use oil-based paints.
This is because they are quite durable and is perfect for outdoor use because of their water-resistance.
Oil-based paints tend to weigh considerably less compared to water-based paints.
On average, a gallon of oil-based paint weighs just under seven pounds.
It will cover 400 square feet depending on the base, color, and surface to which it is applied.
Higher quality brands may have more color pigments, so the weight may be greater.
Because oil-based paints are not as dense compared to water-based versions, especially when they dry, they are often used for craft or hobby projects.
What are the Standard Paint Measurements?
You’ll find most paints in gallon containers with some that are five gallons in size.
The gallon is a measurement that applies to the space your paint will occupy when applied to the surface.
Volume is not affected by the density or weight of the paint.
In other words, a gallon of paint is the same as a gallon of water.
Of course, the term is a little more complicated as gallon may refer to one of the following.
- Imperial Gallon
- US Gallon
- US Dry Gallon
Imperial gallons are used in the UK, Canada, and some parts of the Caribbean.
It equals about 4.5 liters. A US gallon is roughly 3.8 liters and is considered a standard measurement.
A dry gallon is about 4.4 liters which is the weight of liquid when it turns to a solid, but such measurements are considered rare.
And since a gallon is a measurement of volume, it must be converted to weight.
This means that you are dealing with another variation of standards.
In the US, the pound is the standard measurement, but the real difficulty is that gallon is the volume without the density.
So, there is no agreed-upon math formula to make the conversion unless you understand the gravity of the paint.
How Much Does a Gallon of Paint Weigh After It Dries?
When the liquid inside the paint evaporates, a gallon of what remains will weigh considerably less.
For a typical gallon of latex paint which weighs just over eleven pounds, when it dries out the weight drops to roughly four pounds.
While the weight of dry paint will have little effect on the stationary objects such as the walls and ceiling of your home, it will have an effect on movable objects such as furniture, vehicles, boats, and more.
After all, you’ll want your boat to remain above the surface once you have applied a new coat of paint.
The distributor’s material on the datasheet should tell you the dry weight of the paint.
Such data sheets often come with charts to make them easier to understand.
For example, a paint that has 60% solids with the rest being liquids informs you that at least four pounds of water exist for every ten pounds the paint weighs.
So, when it dries only the solids will remain.
If you use less than one gallon of paint, you can find the dry weight by multiplying the solid weight by the percentage of the paint that you have applied to the surface.
The Bottom Line
Many paint cans are one gallon in size, although there are some exceptions.
And in that case, you will need to buy a 5-gallon bucket that can be too heavy to carry around.
If your painting project is such that having all the available paint nearby is necessary, then you’ll need some way of carrying it.
Otherwise, you can separate the paint and only take with you what is needed while leaving the rest behind.
In other words, if you do not know the approximate weight of the paint – you need to carry – you may want some help with really large painting projects.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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