How Much Does A Gallon Of Paint Weigh?

Last Updated on August 17, 2023 by Ernest Godia

Paint is one of the most popular materials for protecting surfaces, so you may have it in your storage or will require some at some point.

From renovating homes, to expressing ourselves creatively, the uses of paint can be endless. In any case, it does an excellent job of protecting and waterproofing wood surfaces.  

But since weight plays a crucial role in determining the cost of paint, how much does a gallon of paint weigh?

Knowing how much a gallon of paint weighs can also have practical implications, such as project planning and deciding on the appropriate transportation. 

This article will guide you through the ins and outs of paint weights.

How much does a gallon of paint weigh?

The weight of a gallon of paint ranges between 6 and 12 pounds, depending on the type and ingredients. However, a more general approximation is that a gallon of water-based latex paint typically weighs around 11 to 12 pounds, while a gallon of oil-based enamel paint can weigh up to 12 pounds.

How much does a gallon of paint weigh

How much does one gallon of paint weigh?

Before we delve into the weight of a gallon of paint, it’s essential to understand what paint is and why it’s so significant. 

Paint is a fluid material that dries to form a thin, solid, decorative, or protective coating when spread over a surface. 

At its core, paint is a mixture of pigments, binders, solvents, and additives. They broadly fall into water-based paints (like latex and acrylic) and oil-based paints (like enamel). 

If you’ve been around paints long enough, you’ve probably realized that one-gallon-sized paints are the most common. However, paints are typically sold in cans or buckets ranging from pint-sized to larger five-gallon options. 

So, how much does a gallon-sized paint weigh? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, and you’ll see why in the next section. 

What determines the weight of paint?

One of the main causes of differences in paint weight lies in individual formulations. Here’s how various paint ingredients determine how heavy or light it will be.

Pigment content

Paint pigment is the component that provides color and opacity to the product. They can be organic or inorganic compounds, and their concentration affects the weight of the paint. And so, the more pigment a paint has, the heavier it will be. 

Binder type

Binders are resins that help hold the pigment particles together and provide adhesion to the surface. Different binders, such as acrylic, vinyl, or oil-based, have varying densities. Therefore, the type of binder used in the paint formulation can impact the overall paint weight.

Solvent concentration

Solvents are the liquids that carry the binder and pigment. They can be water or oil-based, and their quantities determine the paint’s viscosity and drying time. Generally, paints with a higher solvent concentration may be lighter than paints with a lower solvent concentration.

Additives and fillers

Additional ingredients, such as extenders or thickeners, enhance paint properties like durability, drying time, and resistance to fungus and mildew. These additives and fillers may slightly increase the weight of paint per gallon.

Factors that affect the paint weight

Other than paint composition, see how these factors affect paint weight.

i) Paint type

Different paint types have varying densities due to variations in their compositions. For example, oil-based paints, like enamel paint, tend to be heavier than water-based ones, like latex or acrylic paints.

ii) Paint quality

Higher-quality paints often contain more concentrated pigments, binders, and additives, resulting in a heavier weight compared to lower-quality alternatives. 

iii) Paint Color 

The color of the paint can impact its weight. Darker colors require more pigment, resulting in a slightly heavier weight than lighter shades. 

iv) Temperature

Extreme temperatures can cause slight changes in the paint’s weight due to the ingredients’ expansion or contraction. This is why you’re always advised to use and store paint at room temperature.

What are the standard paint measurements?

The gallon, especially in countries like the United States, is a fundamental unit of volume used frequently when dealing with liquids, including paint. There are three standard measurements: the US gallon, the US dry gallon, and the Imperial gallon.

US gallon measures the volume of liquids and is equivalent to 128 fluid ounces, 231 cubic inches, or 3.785 liters. This measurement is widely used in the United States of America.

US dry gallon: This unit primarily measures dry goods and differs slightly from a US liquid gallon. It measures approximately 4.405 liters or 268.8 cubic inches. However, this measurement is hardly used in the context of paint.

Imperial gallon: This unit is slightly larger than the US gallon. It measures approximately 4.546 liters or 277.42 cubic inches. The imperial gallon is commonly used in the United Kingdom and some parts of the Caribbean.

How much does a gallon of water-based paint weigh?

Water-based paints are renowned for their ease of application, quick drying times, and less toxic fumes, making them a more eco-friendly option.

Here is a detailed look at the weights of various water-based paints.

Latex paint

Latex paint gets its name from using synthetic latex polymers as a binder. It is a type of water-based paint popular for its ease of use, quick drying time, and low odor. 

Latex paint contains water as its primary solvent, making it environmentally friendly and easy to clean with soap and water. It is suitable for various surfaces, including drywall, wood, and masonry.

The weight of a gallon of latex paint usually falls between 10 and 12 pounds or 4.5 and 5.4 kilograms. It covers around 400 square feet.

Acrylic paint

Acrylic paint is also water-based. It is thicker than latex paint because it contains more acrylic solids. 

This paint is versatile and more durable and is often the obvious choice among artists and craftsmen. However, its thick viscosity means acrylic paint covers less surface area compared to latex paint.

A gallon of acrylic paint generally weighs 11 to 12 pounds and covers about 250 square feet.

Recommended read: Can I put polyurethane over acrylic paint?

How much does a gallon of oil-based paint weigh?

Oil-based paints offer superior adhesion and durability compared to their water-based counterparts. A gallon weighs about 6.7 pounds and covers up to 400 square feet.

This paint uses petroleum-based solvents as the primary carrier, resulting in a tougher finish resistant to wear and tear.

However, they contain more Volatile Organic Compounds, requiring safety gear and adequate ventilation. They also take longer to dry and can only clean up with mineral spirits or paint thinner.

Enamel paint

This paint is known more for its hard, glossy finish than its specific composition.

It’s widely used in a variety of applications, such as automobiles, boats, RVs, outdoor furniture, and even in garages and basements to protect concrete floors. 

When it comes to its weight, a gallon of enamel paint generally weighs around 11 to 12 pounds. This figure, however, can vary based on the brand, type (acrylic or oil-based), and color of the enamel paint. 

Keep in mind that this is the weight of the wet paint. The weight will be significantly less once the solvents evaporate and the paint dries.

How to convert weight from gallons to pounds

If you need to convert weight from gallons to pounds, it is important to consider the specific gravity of the paint (weight per gallon value). 

If you shop online, this information is usually mentioned on the paint container or in the technical details section of the product description.

Multiply the number of gallons by the weight per gallon to get the approximate weight in pounds. The conversion formula looks like this: 

Weight (in pounds) = Volume (in gallons) x Weight per gallon (in pounds)

For example, if you have 5 gallons of latex paint with a weight per gallon of 11 pounds, the calculation would be:

Weight = 5 gallons x 11 pounds/gallon = 55 pounds. This means that 5 gallons of latex paint would weigh approximately 55 pounds.

Packaging and its Impact on paint weight

The packaging of paint, such as the metal container or plastic bucket, adds to the product’s overall weight. The specific weight of the packaging depends on its material and design. 

However, when discussing the weight of paint, it usually refers to the net weight of the paint content, excluding the weight of the container.

While the container’s weight is relatively minor compared to the weight of the paint itself, it’s not negligible. This is especially true when handling or shipping multiple cans or buckets of paint.

When does the weight of dry paint matter?

To begin with, dry paint refers to the solid content of the paint after the solvents or water have evaporated. 

The weight of dry paint is relevant in industries where weight impacts performance, such as aviation or car manufacturing. In such cases, the paint’s weight could significantly affect the overall efficiency and performance of the vehicle or aircraft.


How much do 5 gallons of paint weigh?

5 gallons of water-based paints, like latex or acrylic, weigh around 55 to 65 pounds. Oil-based paints, such as enamel, can weigh between 60 to 75 pounds for 5 gallons.

How much does a quart of paint weigh?

Given that, a quart is one-fourth of a gallon, a quart of water-based paint weighs around 2.5 to 3.5 pounds. At the same time, a quart of oil-based paint can weigh approximately 3.5 to 4.5 pounds.

Weight of paint per liter

On average, water-based paints weigh around 2.5 to 3.5 kilograms per liter, while oil-based paints can weigh approximately 3.5 to 4.5 kilograms per liter.

How much does a pint of paint weigh?

The weight of a pint of paint –one-eighth of a gallon– depends on the paint type. A pint of water-based paint typically weighs around 1.25 to 1.75 pounds. A pint of oil-based paint may weigh approximately 1.75 to 2.25 pounds.

How much does a gallon of paint cover?

A gallon of paint can cover approximately 350 to 400 square feet (32.5 to 37.2 square meters) with one coat. However, this coverage varies based on the type, brand, paint viscosity, and color. The surface being painted and the desired thickness of the coating also influence the coverage of paint per gallon.

Is paint heavier than water?

Yes, paint is generally denser and, therefore, heavier than water. Generally, a gallon of water weighs about 8.35 pounds, while a gallon of paint usually weighs between 11.5 and 14 pounds.

If you’re planning a deck revamp, find out whether it’s best to paint or stain your deck.

Final thoughts on the weight of paint per gallon

Determining the weight of a gallon of paint isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Various factors contribute to this, including the type of paint, its composition, and even the packaging.

Knowing this information can help make your painting project more efficient, whether you’re planning a small home revamp or a large professional job.

So, the next time you lift that gallon of paint, you’ll appreciate the weight behind the magic it creates on the surfaces.

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