Latex paint is fantastic to use because it dries quicker than oil based paints in the right conditions. This means that you can get on with your DIY painting job and not have to slow down for paint to dry. In fact, many paints around the country are latex based. This leaves another issue though: disposing of them in a responsible manner.

Why Should You Use Latex Based Paints?

There are a number of good reasons for why you should consider using latex based paints, including:

  • A latex based paint is usually easier to apply with the brush and work with, even for inexperienced painters
  • It cleans up easily with water and makes less mess because of this
  • It dries faster so it won’t slow your painting work down
  • It won’t crack or peel as easily as some types of paint
  • Oil paints tend to yellow over time, but latex based paints don’t

How Long Does It Take to Dry?

One of the great qualities of latex paints is their drying time. Once a wall has been painted, it should be dry to the touch in one to two hours. In fact, it can be dry to the touch in only a few minutes in an ideal environment.

One thing to understand about paints like this is drying time versus curing time. A paint may be dry enough to paint over with another coat in a few hours, but it won’t be completely cured. A cured paint is one where all of the layers have completely dried and solidified. In this state, it’s hard and will withstand washing and regular use. The curing time for paints like this can be up to two weeks.

What Affects Drying Time?

If you work with latex paint, you need to be aware that environmental conditions will affect both drying and curing time. Here are just some of the environmental factors that will affect how it dries:

  • Ventilation: In a room that has just been painted and is well ventilated, the drying time is often going to be fairly fast, as long as the climate is ideal.
  • Cool days and winter: On a cool day and in the wintertime, drying time is likely going to be negatively affected. The problem is that the moisture in the paint layers doesn’t evaporate quickly.
  • Humid conditions: Likewise, a humid environment will also negatively affect latex paint for the same reasons as a very cool day.

One problem that many people find is that painting on wintry days results in paint layers that just won’t dry quickly at all. In fact, any artist will tell you that acrylic paints are difficult to dry in the wintertime. You could be waiting six to eight hours for paint to dry in these less than ideal conditions.

What all of this means is that you really shouldn’t be painting during the winter or in very cool conditions. In some cases, it’s not just the drying time that’s affected, but the paint may not even cure properly. This will affect both the finish of the paint and how long you’ll need to wait to get on with the job of painting a second coat.

The Problem of Disposal

Now that you’ve painted your walls, what are you going to do with the unwanted paint left over in the tins? It’s something that most people don’t even consider, and it can have a huge environmental impact if not done properly.

Did you know that paint tins with latex paint in them are one of the most common items that cause the most problems in the waste disposal industry? The chemicals in them can leach into the soil and waterways and cause lots of damage to the ecosystem.

Check Your Laws

The next time you come across some old rusted out paint tins that need to be thrown away or have some tins of paint yourself that you don’t need anymore, you should check the local laws and regulations. It is illegal in most states to simply pour the unused paint down the drain or toss it in the trash.

One thing you should do before disposing of the paint in the correct way is to check with your local council on whether they run any paint disposal programs. Some places even have a paint donation program so that you can simply hand in any unwanted paint tins and then someone else can use the remainder. This is so much better than tossing it!

How to Dispose of Latex Paint Properly

So, what should you do if there are no donation programs and no programs to allow for easy disposal? This is when you need to dispose of it yourself in the right way that is consistent with the environmental regulations.

Before you can toss those old paint tins, you need to dry out the remaining paint, whether it happens to be a little bit on the bottom or half a tin. Here are some ideas on speeding up the drying process so you can throw it away safely:

1. Air Dry

If there isn’t much paint at all in the can, you can leave the lid off and let it air dry. Just remember that this only works well when there is less than an inch of paint left. It will also only work well in summer or other warmer times of the year. Once it hardens completely, you can toss it in with the regular trash.

2. Separate the Paint

If there’s more in the tin, you can separate it into different containers. This speeds up the air drying process.

3. Harden It

Some hardware stores will sell a paint hardening product. You can simply mix this in with the remaining paint until it thickens up so it won’t spill out.

4. Cat Litter

If you buy some clay-based cat litter and mix it in equal amounts with the paint, it will absorb the paint and dry very quickly. You can even use sawdust or paper if you have no cat litter, but cat litter is usually the most effective method.

Final Thoughts

Latex based paint is great because it’s easy to work with and dries quickly in the right environmental conditions. But when you’re done with it, you need to dispose of it correctly.

Author

I have a bachelor's degree in construction engineering. When I’m not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies...I’m at home with my wife, two daughters and a dog. Outside of family, I love grilling and barbequing on my Big Green Egg and working on projects around the house.

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