How Much Does a Gallon of Paint Weigh?

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For those in the woodworking business, final finishes and paint jobs are often par for the course. Whether you’re crafting from scratch or tackling a home improvement project, knowing precise measurements is crucial for planning.

So in this guide, I’ll explain how much a gallon of paint weighs and guide you through estimating its coverage.

Estimated Weight of a Gallon of Paint

chalk paint

Paint is commonly measured in terms of gallon. But estimating how much a gallon weighs can highly vary. The exact weight differs based on the materials and brand. 

Here are some of the common paint types and their weight on average:

Standard Paint Measurements

Paints come in certain sizes and measurements in your local hardware store. The term “gallon” refers to a unit that will measure the volume or space that the paint occupies. 

However, determining how much a gallon weighs isn’t that necessary, as the density and weight do not affect the value of a gallon of a liquid being measured. 

The word gallon can also refer to the following measurements that are used worldwide:

painting fence with KILZ Siding, Fence, and Barn Pain

The imperial gallon is used among the people in parts of the Caribbean, Canada, and the United Kingdom. One imperial gallon is equivalent to 4.5 liters. On the other hand, a gallon in the US is equivalent to 3.8 liters of 231 cubic inches. 

Furthermore, a dry gallon is equivalent to 4.4 liters. This also measures the total weight of a liquid when it is in solid form. However, using this measurement nowadays is rare. Gallon measures volume so you need to convert it to weight. 

The US uses the pound as a standard of measurement when it comes to weight. Gallon, on the other hand, is the measurement that refers to volume without the density. You can use a formula to convert gallons to pounds. 

Related Read: Paint Can Sizes 

Determining the Weight Per Gallon of Paint

Knowing how much a gallon of paint weighs is not rocket science. This is best done by checking the manufacturer’s safety data sheet. 

man painting wall

5-Gallon Paint Weight

Five gallons of paint weigh approximately 40 to 60 pounds. However, the exact weight of a 5-gallon paint highly depends on the brand and the paint type. 

Take for instance a five-gallon can of latex pain has a density of 11.2 pounds per gallon which is equivalent to 56 pounds. The paint container can also add to the total pounds.

Converting From Gallons to Pounds

Converting from gallons to pounds depends on the type of liquid. Especially since the weight or the paint’s density of the liquid highly varies. There are differences in weight of liquids where a gallon of water is 8.35 pounds whereas a gallon of milk is 8.6 pounds. 

Determining the weight of a gallon or even more than a gallon would require you to know the specific gravity or the ratio of the substrate’s density compared to water’s density. 

In addition to finding the specific gravity, I always recommend checking the manufacturer’s guidelines. They typically include these details on their safety data sheet.

preparing acrylic paint

You can proceed to multiply the specific gravity by 8.35 for the lbs/gal. Alternatively, you can also use gallons pounds converter using an online calculator. 

One of the downsides of doing this is that the calculator only converts latex paint and certain liquid types inclusive of the specific gravity. 

Estimated Coverage of a Gallon of Paint

Now that you know how much does a gallon of paint weigh relative to its composition, it will also help you determine the area of the coverage. A gallon can approximately cover 350 to 400 square feet. This area is equivalent to one small room.

However, if you are working with a larger room or a large painting job it is best to use two gallons of paint.

Weight Indicating Factors Per Gallon of Paint

The exact weight of the paint depends on the ingredients and materials that went into its formulation. So what ingredients and factors affect paint weight?  

acrylic paint

Pigment

Pigments provide the visual color of the paint. Pigments can either be synthetically sourced or organic ones. These materials vary in weight where some are light and fluffy whereas others are heavy and dense. 

The resulting color of one gallon of paint is highly dependent on the concentration and types of pigments added to it. In general, a darker or more vibrant paint is heavier compared to light-colored ones. 

Resin

Resin is known as the paint base giving the paint its namesake. Take for instance acrylic resin, latex, or polyurethane are named from their resins. Furthermore, the resins allows the binding of the pigment which allows the paint to stick to the surface. 

The type and concentration of resin will dictate the weight of one gallon of paint.

Additives

Additives are utilized to further enhance the paint as well as change its characteristics. These additives can allow the paint to glide others can make the paint resist scuffing and become more durable. 

solvents

Other additives can shorten the drying time. Lastly, these additives may affect the weight of the paint. 

Solvents

Solvents allow the pigment and resin to bind together. Paint manufacturers have the option to use water as a solvent. A water-based solvent has a shorter drying time and is environmentally friendly since it has less harsh chemicals. 

Solvent-based paints have a thicker consistency which makes them longer to dry completely. Using color with solvent can help hide imperfections on a painting project. Solvents are known to weigh more than water. 

Types of Paint and Their Weight

Different paints have different weights. Let me share the most common types of paints, their respective weights, and a few essential details to guide you through your project.

Latex Paint

Latex paint is usually used for many construction and home improvement projects. It’s particularly favored for both outdoor and indoor walls.

Latex paint is an option I often recommend for home use. It dries quickly and, importantly, it’s water-based.

painting floor with KILZ Low-Lustre Enamel Porch & Patio Latex Floor Paint

Latex paint is environmentally friendly and does not cause as much harm as other types of paints. Using this will require ample ventilation since the fumes are not as toxic. Since this is a water-based paint, the clean up is also easy. 

An entire gallon of latex is on average approximately 11.3 lbs. As usual, the weight of the paint will vary depending on the brand of the paint. A gallon of this paint cover approximately 400 ft2 of first coats. A larger painting job will require more. 

As water-based paints, you need to store latex paint at temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and above. Once the paint is stored in a cooler place the drying time will be affected. 

Read More: Can You Paint Latex Over Oil-Based Primer?

Enamel Paint

Enamel paints have shorter drying time. Once it has completely dried up, it leads to a hard and glossy finish. This paint is ideal for applications involving cars, boats, and RVs. 

spray painting MDF board

Enamels can be acrylic or oil-based paints. Enamel paints are also utilized in stair railings, porches, and patio furniture. It is often used in garages and basements to help seal and protect concrete floors. Is your basement ready for hardwood flooring? Learn more. 

The density of the enamel paint varies depending on the brand that manufactures it. You can easily multiply the density by its volume to get the weight. Automotive enamel paints commonly weigh approximately 11 pounds. 

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is water-based. This kind of paint uses an acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints are commonly used for nail polish. Acrylic paint is also used in arts and crafts. Since this type of paint is water-based, it has a similar weight to latex paints. 

Many acrylic paints do not come in gallons unless mixed with latex. Acrylics are more likely purchased in smaller containers and often measured in ounces. One liter of this paint is equivalent to three pounds.  A gallon of acrylic paint weighs 11 to 12 pounds. 

man painting wooden cabinet

Compared to latex, acrylic paint is by far thicker. A gallon of latex will not coat as much surface area compared to a gallon of acrylic paint. But can you use acrylic paint on wood? Find out next!

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paints are formulated with pigment suspended in natural linseed oil or other synthetic solvents that are commercially known as alkyd. Other natural oils like walnut are used as another option as the suspension material. 

When using an oil-based paint, make sure to work in a well-ventilated area since it has toxins and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) [1]. 

Furthermore, solvents such as mineral spirits and thinners are needed to clean your brushes and tools once you are done with the application. 

Oil-based paint is commonly applied to small items, fixtures, and handrails that can be found inside or outside your home. This type of paint is very durable and is capable of withstanding harsh elements. 

oil-based paint

A gallon of oil-based paint can approximately weigh 6.7 pounds, which can cover about 400 ft2. Some brands may include more pigments in their formulation, so some brands especially premium ones possibly weigh more. 

Oil is known to be less dense than water, so a dry oil-based paint is lower in weight. This  makes it a good product to use on craft projects and other woodworking hobbies you have. 

Actual Weight of Top 20 Paints Per Gallon

The actual paint’s weight can vary depending on the type and brand. I’ve personally verified the weight of the top 20 paints per gallon currently available in the market.

I’ve also categorized them into types, including latex, oil-based, enamel, and acrylic:

BrandPaint TypeWeight
Diamon BriteLatex11 pounds
KILZ Porch & Patio Floor PaintEnamel10.7 pounds
Recolor Recycled Interior PaintLatex8 pounds
Prestige Exterior Paint and Primer in OneLatex12.1 pounds
Sargen ArtTempera8.63 pounds
Handy ArtTempera9 pounds
Krylon ColormaxAcrylic Latex9.39 pounds
Rust-Oleum Simply HomeLatex10 pounds
Rust-Oleum ProfessionalEnamel9.02 pounds
Benjamin Moore CoronadoLatex10.61 pounds
Valspar Porch & FloorLatex Enamel11.09 pounds
BEHR PremiumEnamel11.57 pounds
Prestige Interior Paint and Primer in OneAcrylic latex12 pounds
Montage SignatureLatex10 pounds
Boomerang Eco-Friendly Interior PaintLatex11.82 pounds
FIXALL Anti-slip Skid GripAcrylic11 pounds
Modern Masters Metallic Paint CollectionAcrylic9.35 pounds
Duralux Aluminum Boat PaintOil-based10.98 pounds
Micro-blend Interior Paint and PrimerLatex11.41 pounds
Rust-oleum Zinsser Mold and Midlew-Proof Interior PaintLatex10.49 pounds

Does the Weight of Dry Paint Matter? When?

The weight of dry paint is a crucial factor. This is especially true for substantial undertakings like repainting a boat or an RV. Naturally, you’d want the boat to float effortlessly after a fresh coat. So, it’s essential to consider the weight of the paint once it’s dried for the overall success of the project.

drying paint

A gallon of paint weighs less when dried down. Take for example dry latex paint is four pounds once the gallon dries down. Wet paint is heavier than dry ones. Much of the solvent evaporates once the paint dries down and you are left with the final dry weight. 

You will need to check the manufacturer safety data sheet to check the weight of the paint when it dries down. This sheet contains a chart showing the percentage of solids found inside the paint. 

Which is Heavier, Paint or Water?

There are different types of paint manufactured for consumers. Different elements and ingredients constitute its final weight. Generally, paint is denser than water. A gallon of paint is equivalent to 8.35 pounds. 

painting furniture with acrylic paint

Oil-based varnish has no pigments. The density is approximately 80% water and a gallon is approximately 6.7 pounds.  

Weight of Paint Per Liter

Owing to the fact that oil-based paints and acrylics are marketed in smaller measurements it is recommended to determine the weight of the paint per liter. One liter of acrylic is equivalent to three pounds. 

FAQ

How much does a 55-gallon drum of paint thinner weigh?

A 55-gallon drum of paint thinner weighs approximately 411 pounds. This weight varies depending on the paint type and brand.

Is it cheaper to buy paint in 5-gallon buckets?

It is cheaper to buy 5-gallon buckets as opposed to 5 units of 1-gallon buckets. The larger receptacles are ideal for bigger jobs. 

Will the paint weigh lighter when it is dry?

The paint weighs lighter when it is dry. As the paint dries, its volatile components evaporate, leaving behind the solid pigments and binders that form the dried paint film.

Since the water or solvents evaporate into the air, the overall weight of the paint decreases.

How much are 4 gallons of paint in pounds?

A gallon of enamel paint weighs approximately 11 pounds. Thus, 4 paint gallons is about 44 pounds. 

How much does a 5-pound paint bucket weigh?

A 5-pound paint bucket weighs approximately 50 to 60 pounds, while a 1 lb bucket weighs about 11 pounds. 

How much do full five gallons of paint weigh in pounds?

A full five-gallon bucket of paint weighs up to 50 pounds. Bear in mind that a gallon of paint weighs varies and changes depending on the container. 

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Conclusion

Working and looking at a gallon of paint will not give you its correct weight. It is best to know the different types and brands to help you with this issue. Now that you have a rough idea of how much does a gallon of paint weigh, you can properly plan a woodworking project confidently. 

It will help you plan properly and purchase the right amount when painting furniture and other projects without spending on excessive materials. 

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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