How Much Does 1 Gallon Of Paint Weigh?

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

There are all sorts of variables that go into why someone selects a can of paint. There is the color, the brand, the quality, the paint type and the finish to name a few. Selecting the right can of paint is crucial, as it can have a profound impact on how a surface looks, and how long the paint job lasts. There are even more subtle factors you might want to know about your paint can, including how much one gallon of the paint weighs.

One gallon of paint weighs anywhere from 6 to 10 pounds, depending on several factors. Paint type is the biggest factor, with water-based paints usually weighing between 11 and 12 pounds. Oil-based paints tend to weigh less, around 6 to 8 pounds. The brand of paint and its recipe can impact the paint’s weight. The pigment density also changes the exact weight of one gallon of paint.

If you need to know exactly how much a specific gallon of paint weighs, you will need to do some digging. Unlike things like water or milk, paint is a liquid whose weight can fluctuate significantly. This is because no one paint mixture is exactly the same as any other.

So, since each can of paint is made with different ingredients, and these ingredients have different weights, all paint has a slightly different weight. But while each paint might have a slightly different weight, there are average weights for paint that you might find helpful if you are looking for a ballpark number.

How Much Does A Typical Gallon Of Paint Weight?

As we mentioned previously, a gallon of paint can weigh anywhere from 6 to 12 pounds. But there are definitely trends and averages that narrow the scope of this number.

For one, you can take a look at which type of paint is most commonly used. Water-based paints are the most popular paint type. Latex paint and other water-based paints are overwhelmingly the most commonly purchased paint type. This is important, as these paint types have a particular weight of between 10 and 12 pounds per gallon.

In fact, paints that weigh between 6 and 8.5 pounds are often oil-based paints or other specialty paints. These paints are certainly used in many circumstances, but are more a specialty item, and represent a small portion of the paint market. This means that a typical can of paint, for most purposes, will weigh between 10 and 12 pounds per gallon.

Factors That Impact How Much 1 Gallon Of Paint Weighs

The Type Of Paint

The type of paint is arguably the biggest variable when it comes to how much a paint weighs. This is because different types of paint have different makeups. For example, water-based paints are made of mostly, you guessed it, water. Oil-based paints are made mostly of oil. Oil and water do not have the same weight of density. Therefore, checking the average weight for the “type” of paint you use is helpful.

Brand Of Paints

Different paint brands can also impact the weight of the paint. Each paint brand uses its own formula, which can have an impact on the weight of a gallon of paint. This impact is normally not as major as the type of paint, but still worth considering.

Specific Ingredients

In addition to the brand of paint, certain paints are designed to achieve different things. Some paints try to block UV rays, while others are waterproof and more durable. All of these objectives are achieved through the use of specific ingredients. These ingredients, especially those to build durability and longevity, can have some added weight. This is why not all water-based paints weigh the same. They all have a different “recipe” so to speak.

Pigment Density

One specific ingredient that is known to change the weight of paint is the pigment. Pigment density can vary greatly among the color spectrum. As a general rule, opaque colors tend to have a higher density than their translucent counterparts. Therefore, even the color of the paint can change how much a gallon of it weighs.

Popular Paint Types And How Much They Weigh

Latex Paint

Latex paint is one of the most commonly used paints for all sorts of DIY projects. It is a water-based paint. This makes it cheaper than most oil-based paints, and it also makes it safer. Water-based paints tend to have fewer toxic fumes, which is another reason they are so popular with casual non-professional painters.

Latex paint and other water based paints are also among some of the heaviest paints. The average latex paint weighs between 10.5 pounds and 12 pounds. That puts latex at the heavier end of the spectrum when it comes to painting. Other water-based paints also tend to hover at the 10 to 12 pound mark. Therefore, if you are doing a DIY project and need to know how much a gallon of paint weighs, the odds are it weighs between 10 and 12 pounds, unless you use an oil-based or other specialty paint.

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint is not as common as latex-based paint or other water-based paints. It is, however, still used in all sorts of circumstances, and has some clear benefits. This is why it has been around for centuries and still thrives today. Oil-based paints tend to have more VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which are toxic when inhaled. This is why oil-based paints are used more by professionals, and less by casual DIY enthusiasts. Still, there are some projects that call for oil-based paints, and you might need to know how much a gallon of oil-based paint weighs.

Because of its different ingredients, oil-based paint tends to weigh less than latex and other water-based paints. In fact, oil-based paint weighs between 6 and 8 pounds per gallon in most circumstances. This, of course, is significantly based on the base and other ingredients used. But in the end, oil tends to have a much lower density than water. This, in the end, is the main reason it is usually lighter than most water-based paints.

Acrylic Paints

Acrylic paints are actually water-based paints technically. But unlike most water-based paints, they have a lot more acrylic in them than other water-based paints, hence the name. This key difference also changes the recipe and general makeup of the paint.

Acrylic paints rarely come in sizes larger than a liter. They are used to paint smaller fixtures, and even fingernails. Still, if you want to know how much the paint weighs in comparison to other paints, you should know they are on the heavier side. In general, acrylic paints tend to weigh between 11 and 12 pounds per gallon, putting them at the high end of the scale.

Lightweight Paints

There are some specialty paints that actually aim to achieve a lower weight. These paints are often called “lightweight paints.” These paints are used on racing objects, like cars and boats, and also for anything you are trying to fly, with model rockets being a perfect example. There are certainly other uses for lightweight paints as well.

As the name suggests, these paints aim to be lighter in weight than most other paints. These paints can weigh even less than 6 pounds per gallon, but tend to fluctuate on the low-end of the spectrum.

Ways To Find Out How Much A Specific Gallon Of Paint Weighs

Consult The Paint Company

One of the easiest and most reliable ways to find out how much a gallon of paint weighs is to consult the paint company and read the paint specs. Most paint companies provide the weight of each paint can.

You might need to find some very basic information to find the exact number you are looking for. Still, the paint can or the customer service line for any major paint company should get you the answers you desire.

Weigh It

If you have access to the paint in question, the most reliable way to know its weight is to simply weigh it. Weighing your paint is not always an option, but it is always going to be your most reliable method of measurement. After all, weights can vary significantly from paint to paint, so getting a reliable weight measurement first-hand is the best way of knowing the exact weight of a gallon of paint.

Do The Math

Even if you can’t access a gallon of paint to weigh it, the odds are you should have enough information to calculate it. As long as you can get a few basic volume and density numbers from a paint can or the paint company, you should have an approximate idea as to how much one gallon of it weighs.

Why The Weight Of Paint Is Important

Sometimes the weight of paint might not matter to you, especially if you are just conducting a simple home improvement project. Larger scale projects, on the other hand, require additional considerations. If you are doing a project that involves many gallons of paint, or need to store a lot of paint, weight might be important. So make sure you take this into consideration if you are transporting lots of paint or have the need to store many gallons of paint.

Wrapping Up How Much 1 Gallon Of Paint Weighs

One gallon of paint can weigh anywhere from 6 to 12 pounds depending on a variety of factors. Paint type is the biggest variable. Latex paint, for example, weighs between 10.5 pounds and 12 pounds. Oil-based paint, on the other hand, typically weighs between 6 and 12 pounds per gallon. The exact recipe of the paint also impacts how much it weighs, including the type of pigment used.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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