Are you preparing for a massive painting job or making some home improvements? Whether you’re sprucing up the exterior or interior of your home, re-painting a boat, putting up a large fence, or something even more significant, you might need to plan ahead. One of the first factors to consider is how much does a gallon of paint weigh?
On average, a gallon of paint weighs somewhere between 6 and 12 pounds. However, the exact weight varies based on the type and brand. Acrylic, latex, enamel, and oil-based paints all vary in density and weight. Five-gallon buckets weigh much more, between 40 and 60 pounds.
Let’s look at the varying paint types more in-depth, so you know the weight of your paint before you transport it. In this article, we’ll even include a table with the exact weight of 20 actual paint gallons for your convenience.
- How Much Does A Gallon Of Paint Weigh?
- The Actual Weight of 20 Paint Gallons
- What Are the Standard Paint Measurements?
- How Much Does 5 Gallons of Paint Weigh?
- How to Convert From Gallons to Pounds
- What Factors Affect Paint Weight
- Is Paint Heavier Than Water?
- Weight of Paint per Liter
- When Does the Weight of Dry Paint Matter?
How Much Does A Gallon Of Paint Weigh?
Paint is generally sold in gallons or quarts, so disconcerting the exact weight of your paint gallon can help you determine the actual weight of the full load your project will require. This knowledge is helpful if you were buying a lot of paint at once or painting something like a boat. The weight also varies based on the paint type and brand.
Most gallon-sized paints weigh anywhere from 6 to 12 pounds, on average. You’ll most likely find latex and enamel paints in this size. Tempera paints sometimes come in gallon or half-gallon sizes. However, acrylic and oil-based paints typically come in smaller amounts.
Sometimes you’ll also find acrylic and latex mixed in a single paint. They’re latex paints with 100% acrylic versus vinyl. Vinyl is a cheaper ingredient than acrylic resin, so the color may not adhere to surfaces as well. Gallon-sized acrylic/latex paints are considered the highest quality.
To find the ideal paint type for your project, you can zone in on the paint’s specific information to determine the weight. Some manufacturers list the weight in a product’s information section if you purchase paint online. Or, you could ask for help calculating the weight at your local hardware store.
The Actual Weight of 20 Paint Gallons
The actual weight of paint gallons depends on the type of paint and brand. There are four main types: acrylic, latex, enamel, and oil-based paints.
The table below depicts the actual weight of 20 popular paints. Use the data to help you determine how heavy your paint gallon will be before you head to the hardware store.
|Diamon Brite||Paint Type||Weight|
|KILZ Porch & Patio Floor Paint||Latex||11 pounds|
|Recolor Recycled Interior Paint||Enamel||10.7 pounds|
|Prestige Exterior Paint and Primer in One||Latex||8 pounds|
|Sargent Art||Latex||12.1 pounds|
|Handy Art||Tempera||8.63 pounds|
|Krylon Colormax||Tempera||9 pounds|
|Rust-Oleum Simply Home||Acrylic Latex||9.39 pounds|
|Rust-Oleum Professional||Latex||10 pounds|
|Benjamin Moore Coronado||Enamel||9.02 pounds|
|Valspar Porch & Floor||Latex||10.61 pounds|
|BEHR Premium||Latex Enamel||11.09 pounds|
|Prestige Interior Paint and Primer in One||Enamel||11.57 pounds|
|Montage Signature||Acrylic latex||12 pounds|
|Boomerang Eco-Friendly Interior Paint||Latex||10 pounds|
|FIXALL Anti-Slip Skid Grip||Latex||11.82 pounds|
|Modern Masters Metallic Paint Collection||Acrylic||11 pounds|
|Duralux Aluminum Boat Paint||Acrylic||9.35 pounds|
|Micro-blend Interior Paint and Primer||Oil-based||10.98 pounds|
|Rust-Oleum Zinsser Mold and Mildew-Proof Interior Paint||Latex||11.41 pounds|
What Are the Standard Paint Measurements?
Before you talk about different paint types, let’s discuss standard paint measurements. Most paints come in gallons. One and five gallons are the typical sizes you’ll find in a hardware store.
More specifically, a gallon is a unit that measures volume or the space your paint occupies. Density and weight don’t affect volume, so the gallon size always remains a gallon no matter what liquid you’re measuring. For example, a gallon of paint equals the same as a gallon of water or milk.
However, the word gallon also refers to three varying measurements in the world. The term gallon could mean:
- The imperial gallon
- The U.S. gallon
- The U.S. dry gallon
An imperial gallon is the measurement people use in Canada, the United Kingdom, and parts of the Caribbean. It’s around 4.5 liters. By comparison, a gallon in the U.S. is around 3.8 liters or 231 cubic inches. It’s the standard measurement for a gallon of paint.
A dry gallon is 4.4 liters and measures the weight of a liquid when it becomes solid. However, using the U.S. dry gallon is rare.
Because gallon is the measurement for volume, you must convert it to weight. The standards for weight vary around the world as well.
In the U.S., the pound is the standard measurement for weight. A gallon is the only measurement for volume without density, so there’s no easy math formula to convert gallons to pounds available unless you happen to know the paint’s gravity.
How Much Does 5 Gallons of Paint Weigh?A five-gallon bucket of paint weighs much more than a single gallon, typically between 40 and 60 pounds. However, the exact weight depends on the paint type and brand.
For example, a five-gallon can of latex paint has a density of 11.2 lbs per gallon, which is a mass of 56 pounds.
The weight of the paint bucket also adds around 10 or more pounds to this total.
How to Convert From Gallons to Pounds
Converting gallons to weight depends on the liquid. Liquids vary in density or weight. They also slightly vary based on the temperature. For example, a gallon of milk is about 8.6, and water is 8.35 lbs.
To find the weight for each gallon, you would have to remember the gravity or the ratio of the substrate’s density in comparison to water’s density. Some manufacturers print the paint’s gravity on the safety data sheet you can find in the physical properties section. Multiply the gravity number by 8.35 for the lbs/gal (if the temperature is 39.2 degrees F).
You can also use a gallons to pounds converter, like this option from the Calculator Site. However, the calculator only converts for latex paint and other types of liquid.
What Factors Affect Paint Weight
Paint type is the most significant factor. Many paint types scour the market. The most likely option you’ll find in gallon sizes is acrylic, latex, enamel, and oil-based paints. They all have varying densities and weights.
The reason for the weight difference is due to how the paint is made. Paint types include two main categories: oil and water-based. Every paint contains a pigment and liquid. They may also contain a few other special ingredients to make the color unique or add to its priming abilities.
The base, either oil or water, is the primary liquid ingredient. As the paint names imply, water-based contains water, while oil-based contains either a solvent or oil.
In general, water-based is heavier than oil-based. It’s also more eco-friendly because the medium has fewer harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and dries faster. It also washes away with soap and water fairly quickly.
Water-based paints are also the most popular in America. They’re used for various jobs. However, oil-based paints are more durable.
Let’s discuss how the paint type alters the weight more in-depth below.
Like latex paint, acrylic is water-based. Both have acrylic resin. The difference is that acrylics use acrylic polymer emulsion, so it contains more acrylic by nature. This paint type is mainly for art and craft or nail polish.
Due to the water base, acrylics take on a similar weight to latex paints. However, there are many brands and varieties. They each vary slightly. Most acrylic paints don’t come in gallon sizes unless they’re mixed with latex. You’re more likely to see acrylics in smaller amounts, often using in ounce sizes.
A liter of acrylic is around three pounds, which would make a gallon weigh anywhere from 11 to 12 pounds. The weight depends on the brand and color as well.
Acrylic is thicker than latex, however. A gallon of the paint won’t coat as much surface area as a gallon of latex. Expect a gallon to paint about 250 ft2. Because acrylic is standard for minor projects, and needing to cover a larger area is not typical.
Latex is the paint of choice for home improvement and construction projects. It’s famous for both exterior and interior walls. If you’re re-painting your home, latex paint is probably the best option. It dries quickly, and cleanup is relatively simple because it’s water-based.
Because it’s water-based, this paint type is non-toxic and is more eco-friendly. The fumes are not as harmful as oil-based paints, so you only need moderate ventilation to work with the paint. It’s also water-soluble, making clean up much more straightforward. It will come out of your brushes, tools, carpet, or clothes better than any oil-based paint.
On average, a gallon of latex paint is around 11.3 lbs. The weight will vary based on the brand.
One gallon typically covers around 400 ft2 with the first coat, so you may need quite a few gallons for a large painting job like the interior of your home. If you’re painting the ceilings, trim, cabinets, and doors, the project could add up to include pounds of paint in the hundreds.
Due to the high water content, you also need to store latex paint at temperatures above 40 degrees F. Otherwise, the cold may affect the drying time later. It’s also best to avoid applying it in cold temperatures or climates.
Enamel paint refers to many paint types. It could mean the finish or the material inside the paint. Enamel paint typically dries quickly, and the result is a hard, glossy finish that’s ideal for painting cars, RVs, and boats. You’ll see enamel paints for outdoor use, like a porch, patio furniture, and stair railings. It’s also sometimes in basements and garages to seal and protect concrete floors.
Finding the specific weight of enamel paint is tricky. The paint category includes a broad range of options. Enamels can be acrylic or oil-based, and the density of the paint depends on the manufacturer as well. You can multiply the density by volume to find the weight if you’re unsure what type of paint you have.
Automotive enamels typically weigh around 11 pounds. The weight varies based on the brand and color as well.
With enamel, you may paint something where you need to account for the final dry weight of the paint, such as a derby car, boat, or airplane. The dry weight is significantly less.
Oil-based paints have a more extended history than water-based paints. They were the only paint option for hundreds of years. Today’s oil-based paints consist of a pigment suspended in natural linseed oil or a synthetic solvent known as alkyd. You may find other oils used in natural options as well, like walnut oil.
The toxicity is a significant consideration with oil-based paints. You must use caution when applying the paint and make sure you have proper ventilation at all times, especially with large jobs. The toxins also affect the environment. VOCs contribute to ozone damage. You need harsh chemicals like paint thinners or mineral spirits to clean your tools and brushes after use.
You probably wouldn’t use oil-based paints on your walls, but you might apply them to trim, fixtures, handrails, and other small items around your home’s interior and exterior. The paint’s durability to water makes it excellent for standing up to the elements.
On average, a gallon of oil-based paint weighs around 6.7 lbs and covers 400 ft2. The weight varies based on the base you use, the color, and the surface you apply the paint to. Some colors have more color pigment than others, so high-quality brands may weigh more.
However, oil has a lower overall density than water. This means an oil-based paint is lighter than the same amount of acrylic or latex paint. Dry oil-based paint also has a much lower weight, which is essential for hobby or craft projects.
Is Paint Heavier Than Water?
Even though some paints are water-based, the non-water ingredients account for the weight. Some paints may be half water in their weight but remain lighter than water itself.
Paint is much heavier than water, which is why a gallon of paint weighs more than 8.35 pounds. You can assume the average latex household paint has a density of 1.2 or 20% more than water, so a gallon equals 10 pounds.
For comparison, an oil-based clear varnish has no paint pigments. The density is about 80% of water, making a gallon weigh 6.7 pounds.
Weight of Paint per Liter
Because acrylic and oil-based paints typically come in smaller measurements, you may want to account for the weight of your paint per liter. A liter of acrylic paint weighs around three pounds. However, ounces is the standard unit of measurements because it comes in smaller amounts. That said, the weight depends on the brand and color.
When Does the Weight of Dry Paint Matter?
Once dry, a gallon of paint weighs much less. For example, a gallon of dry latex paint weighs as little as four pounds compared to the 11.3-pound average of wet paint.
When paint dries, much of the weight evaporates. However, the weight of the dry paint itself can impact the object you’re painting significantly.
The weight of dry paint on walls and ceiling doesn’t affect your home much. But painting furniture or automotive projects can have a significant impact.
Understanding how a paint’s weight changes as it dries is helpful if you’re taking on a large project, such as an RV or a boat. You want the boat to float after you re-paint, so you need to make sure to account for the added weight.
If you need to know how much your paint will weigh after it dries, check the distributor’s material safety data sheet. The sheet should contain a chart with the percentage of solids in the paint.
For example, a paint with 60% solids has 40% water. This information tells you that you have at least four pounds of water if your paint weighs 10 pounds for each gallon. That means you have six pounds of solids. The solids are what account for the paint’s weight after it dries.
If you use less than the entire gallon, you can still find the dry paint weight. Multiply the solid weight by the percentage of paint you use.
You may need to figure out your paint’s weight for many different reasons. Large projects are a massive example. You may need to transport the paint from the store safely, for example. To find your paint gallon’s weight, you need to know the type. From there, you can find the paint’s density. Alternatively, check with the manufacturer for the exact weight.
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