Although latex paint has been on the market for over 60 years, latex spray paint is a relatively new product. Advances over the past 12 or 15 years in the manufacture of spray painting equipment as well as in the formulation of latex paints have lately resulted in a latex spray paint.
Latex paint, considered an industrial coating, is essentially a mixture of water, resins and pigments. The other major industrial coating is oil-based paint, referred to in the industry as alkyd paint. Latex paint uses water as its vehicle while alkyd paint uses a petroleum-based solvent as its vehicle. The major reason that alkyd paint was predominantly used in paint sprayers is the fact that it was inherently thinner in consistency and doesn't set-up, or dry as quickly.
By nature and design, latex paint is a somewhat thicker paint than is alkyd paint, and also dries quickly. Latex spray paints, however, are actually more emulsions than true paints. Synthetic resins and pigments that are compatible with water, but not necessarily water soluble, result in a latex paint that is thin enough and wet enough to be sprayed in an airless sprayer, or through an aerosol spray can. A singular advantage of latex spray paint is that the spray equipment and over-spray - nearly impossible to avoid with spray equipment - can be easily cleaned up using plain water, or water with a mild detergent.
The benefits of latex paint include low odor, greater flexibility, better breathability, and better color opacity than alkyd paints. Thus, uses for latex spray paint are the same as those for any latex paint. The low odor of latex spray paint makes it perfect for interior use. Because the synthetic resins and pigments used in its formulation are not as water-intensive, latex spray paint is effective on metal, unprimed wood, masonry, plastic, even on wallpaper, all once taboo for latex coatings.
A latex spray paint gun essentially atomizes the paint in order to assure an even coat. Until now, because of its higher viscosity, or its inherent thickness, latex paint has been difficult to be effectively thinned without losing its effective properties. The latest latex spray paint, with the latest reworked formulations, is a thinner and "wetter" paint, able to be applied evenly and no longer gumming up the spray nozzle because it set up too quickly. Uses of latex spray paints include all the quality features of latex coatings, as well as saving the professional and the homeowner hours of time and a considerable amount of energy.