The difference between adding water to latex paint and using paint conditioners lies in what happens to the paint’s quality afterward. Indeed, water may help thin paint to increase workability but this is often at the expense of the paint’s inherent qualities.
But there are even more advantages to using paint additives. These additives help slow down paint’s drying time and provide a better flow which reduces brush marks.
After ruling out water, you now have to decide which paint additives will be the best choice for your project. This can be a tough choice to make as there are several products out there, each with its promise.
XIM Latex Extender and Floetrol are among the two most common latex paint additives to choose from. But how do you decide which would benefit your product the most? The simple answer is that it is easier to make a choice when you are fully informed about both products.
You will learn everything there is to know about both products here and that knowledge will help you make a worthwhile decision.
Using Floetrol can help eliminate brush strokes, especially when working on an exterior surface. The project will be exposed so you want to avoid brush marks at all costs. Floetrol makes the latex paint behave more like oil-based paints which are usually less likely to create brush strokes.
It also increases the paint’s coverage and for this reason, Floetrol is often recommended for large projects where you may prefer to complete the painting in just one coat. Another advantage of this additive is that it serves as a lubricant for paint, increasing its fluidity and putting less strain on your spray gun.
Similarly, XIM Latex Extender is designed to increase the open time for latex paints up to an extra 10-15 minutes. This results in improved brush and roller application. Thick latex paint flows and levels better with this additive, reducing brush marks.
Both products provide identical advantages to paint. Whether you are looking for an additive to extend drying time, eliminate brush marks, or improve flow, Floetrol and XIM Latex Extender are both reliable options.
To apply XIM Latex Extender, you need to mix the product well and use around 2- 6 fluid ounces per gallon of paint. Be careful not to add too much extender so that the drying time is not extended.
With Floetrol, the amount of product to use often depends on the chosen application method. When using a spray gun, add 16 – 32 ounces per gallon of paint. Begin small and then gradually increase the amount as needed. If using an airless sprayer, use 32 ounces per gallon of paint while 8 ounces to a gallon should do for a brush and roll application.
However, be careful when using Floetrol with high-gloss paint. Consider mixing the paint conditioner with some water to preserve the gloss of your coating.
Floetrol increases the paint’s coverage by over 20%, provided you use the right amounts. Adding too much can have the opposite effect. Depending on how you use it, a quart of Floetrol can cover up to 300 square feet. You will get a similar coverage with XIM Latex Extender.
Floetrol can increase the drying time of paint especially if you are working in a humid area and use high concentrations of the additive. This sometimes means having to wait a full day before going over with the next coat.
The product manufacturers confirm that XIM Latex Extender will not alter the normal cure time of your paint but simply extends its wet edge during application.
Both XIM Latex Extender and Floetrol can be cleaned with water. Wipe off spills with soap and warm water mixture. Floetrol may be slightly harder to clean because it makes the paint thicker.
XIM Latex Extender neither alters the cured film properties nor leaves residue. It also does not change the color of latex paint but rather improves its gloss.
Floetrol, on the other hand, might reduce the sheen in gloss paint if applied in excessive amounts. It shouldn’t change the paint’s color but you can test a small amount on the surface to completely rule out any case of discoloration.
What Other Ways Can You Prevent Latex Paint from Drying Too Fast?
It can feel frustrating working with paint that dries too quickly. Here are some other methods to try out when using a paint conditioner is out of the question:
- Control humidity
The entire process of paint drying depends on evaporation. If you want to manipulate the drying time, you have to consider ways to control water evaporation. The dryer the air in your workspace, the quicker the paint dries off. This means you can achieve workability by keeping the air around the paint wet.
Using a humidity monitor can be helpful so you monitor the humidity levels in the area and know how to adjust your techniques accordingly. If there is a high amount of water in the atmosphere, use a humidifier to introduce a higher level of moisture in the air.
- Pay attention to the temperature
If you are painting on a hot day and have the air conditioning unit on, this can decrease the paint’s workability since airflow promotes evaporation. Ideally, latex painting should be done when the temperature is no less than 49° F. Working below this temperature can cause drying failures and poor adhesion.
How To Achieve a Smooth Finish Without Latex Extenders
DIYers love latex paint because it’s easy to use but without proper preparation, you risk achieving a dull finish even with the most quality paints. To achieve professional results without a paint extender, observe the following practices when painting.
1) Proper Surface Preparation
You may not realize it but whether or not you end up with a smooth finish often depends on how much you invest in surface preparation. You have to clean and repair the surface before going over with the paint. Use a cleaning solution to thoroughly sponge the wall, then fill any existing dents.
Sanding is another important part of surface preparation. Sand until you get a smooth surface and clean off the dust. Dirt and dust particles on the wall can attach to the paintbrush and ruin your results.
2) Maintain a Wet Edge
Keep a wet edge as you paint to attain a smooth finish. This sometimes means speeding up the application time so that as you apply more paint, it blends with the old paint that is still wet. You can tackle the problem of paint ridges by not applying excessive pressure when releasing the paint. So long as you use a good roller cover, the tool should hold the needed paint for a uniform finish.
Expert painters use the tipping technique to keep the brush loaded with paint but not so much that it starts to drip. Simply apply the paint to an area and smoothen it with the tip of the brush that still contains sufficient paint. Attempting to get all the paint out of the brush can cause brush strokes that damage your finished job. Instead, apply more coats in thin layers.
Tips to Avoid Brush Strokes with Latex Paints
Adding paint extenders or conditioner to your latex paint can help with preventing brush marks only if you use the right tools and technique while painting. Here are a few tips:
- Use High-Quality Brush
Cheap brushes are more likely to bend, have their bristles fall off, and leave brush strokes. Invest in a good brush when painting furniture and details. Rollers are usually better for walls and large surfaces. The bristle material also matters. Synthetic bristles are better when working with latex paint.
- Apply Thin Layers
Especially if you are a beginner, applying thin layers of paint gives you more room to make mistakes and cover them. Thicker coats take longer to dry and the paint flow may be difficult to control.
- Avoid Pressing Too Hard
Don’t press too hard on the brush as this can cause the bristles to fall out and affect smoothness. Allow the paint to flow evenly.
- Paint in One Direction
Follow the wood grain when painting and stick to its direction. When working on a flat surface, work horizontally so that you have better control of the painting process.
- Allow Enough Time for Drying
Brush marks sometimes show up because you didn’t give enough time for each layer to properly dry. Read the product instructions well and adhere to the recommended drying time.
Paint additives are great if you need your latex paint to flow more smoothly, eliminate brush strokes or get better coverage. Both Floetrol and XIM Latex Extender carry out these tasks excellently. Deciding which to go for might be a matter of availability or personal preference. Alternatively, you can try out both additives to see which does it best for you.
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