Latex paint that has been freshly mixed usually has the right viscosity for application on drywall with a paint roller. However, if you intend to use a paint sprayer or if you have other application needs in mind, the paint in your can may be too thick to apply properly. On the other hand, when paint sits unused for a long period of time, it can naturally thicken. Older paint may be too thick to apply with a roller, a paintbrush or a sprayer. Before you toss your paint away or change your application plans, learn how to thin latex paint for brushing with tap water.
How to Thin Latex Paint for Brushing in Five Easy Steps
Latex paint is a water-based paint product. Unlike oil-based paints that must be thinned using special oil or mineral-based materials, latex paint can be thinned relatively easily with water. Are you ready to learn how to thin water based paint?
1. Pull Together the Essentials
Before you walk through the other steps of thinning latex paint, you need to gather all of the essential supplies together. By doing so, you can proceed quickly and confidently through the rest of the steps. In addition to the can of thick latex paint, you will need a measuring cup, access to water at room temperature, a power mixer with a metal spiral, a cordless drill, latex gloves, a strainer, a viscosity cup and a paint stirring stick.
2. Prepare the Paint
The paint should be at room temperature before you attempt to thin it. You actually cannot determine if the paint needs to be thinned until it is at the appropriate temperature. The actual desired temperature range may be slightly outside of what you would consider to be room temperature, and this range is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You will have better results if the paint temperature is at a moderate level in between these extremes.
3. Mix the Paint
Before mixing the paint, put on latex gloves and old clothes. If you are thinning paint that you have recently purchased, you will not need to complete this step. If the paint can has been sitting for a while, on the other hand, the paint may have separated. Put the metal spiral attachment on the drill, and use this to stir the paint for a few minutes. Then, rub the paint stick across the bottom of the can. If you feel resistance, you should continue mixing the paint with the drill and attachment for a few more minutes. You will know that you are done mixing when the paint consistency is even throughout the can.
4. Determine Viscosity
Use the viscosity cup to determine the viscosity of the paint. If you intend to use a paint sprayer, read the instructions to determine the recommended paint viscosity. After determining with certainty that the paint does need to be thinned, you must remove any film, chunks or other impurities from the paint. Running the paint through a strainer is the easiest way to do this.
5. Thin the Latex Paint
You are now ready to add water to the paint. If you are working with a full gallon of paint, start by adding four ounces of room temperature water to the can. After you mix the paint and water, test it with the viscosity cup. Make any additional adjustments as necessary to arrive at the right viscosity. Keep in mind that thinning the paint excessively may alter the color slightly.
Now that you know how to thin latex paint properly with water, you can use the paint that you have on-hand to complete your project.