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Acrylic Vs. Elastomeric Paint

Table of Contents

Acrylic and elastomeric paint are among the most popular paint types for interior and exterior painting projects. Because of their unique advantages and disadvantages, it’s advisable to understand their differences before deciding which type to paint with.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is the far more versatile option and is used most commonly indoors. You’ll find acrylic paint on walls, furniture, wood, glass, mirrors, and artwork. Acrylic paint is a chemical-based mixture comprised of acrylic polymer and water.

Elastomeric Paint

Elastomeric paint (also called coatings is used as protective barriers applied on interior and exterior walls. Elastomeric paint is made from polymers formed from large acrylic, butyl, polyurethane, and silicone molecules. They work together to create a waterproof and weatherproof seal when applied to a surface.

Elastomeric coatings are typically used on exterior elements like concrete walls, roofs, and floors. They’re also used in industrial settings that receive heavy foot traffic, pressure from heavy machinery, and spills from harsh chemicals.

Elastomeric paint is more expensive, but this added cost covers the same space with a thicker coating than regular paints like acrylic. Elastomeric paint is far more difficult to work with and apply so inexperienced painters should stay away from it. Improper application can lead to lumps presenting on the surface leading to cracks.

Main Differences Between Acrylic Vs Elastomeric

Strength & Longevity

Elastomeric paint is stronger than acrylic paint. Because of its thickness, it tends to last longer. The durability of elastomeric paint makes it a popular choice for stucco, masonry, concrete, and even log siding.

To seal in the waterproofing that elastomeric paint provides, elastomeric paint needs primer, a base coat, and multiple layers. Elastomeric paint can handle harsh elements like snow, cold, and heat. If your structure is in an area that gets bombarded with heavy dampness, then elastomeric paint can protect your structure from moisture. Elastomeric paint is 10 times as thick as the average paint.

When using elastomeric paint on stucco, it will last longer than acrylic paint requiring fewer repairs.

Breathability (Permeable)

So, after reading that last section, you may be thinking, “Elastomeric all the way”. Not so fast, because acrylic paint is far more permeable than elastomeric. Permeability is ​​the quality of a material or membrane that causes it to allow liquids or gases to pass through it. Because acrylic paint “breathes”, painting wood with acrylic paint is an advantage because it allows moisture to pass through and escape. If your painting surface is not fully dry before applying elastomeric paint, it can seal in moisture causing mold, mildew, and rot.

In the last section, we said that you could use elastomeric paint on stucco exterior. However, always keep in mind that stucco is meant to breathe and that’s exactly what acrylic paint allows it to do

Closing Thoughts

Acrylic and elastomeric are both fantastic options for paint, but they serve different purposes. Elastomeric paint is found more in commercial settings while acrylic paint is more popular on the indoors. 

Hillis Brothers Painting is experienced in using both types of paints in residential and commercial settings. When getting an estimate, make sure to ask your painter what kind of paint they recommend and why.