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How Much Does a Gallon of Paint Weigh?

The paint ingredients make it heavier or lighter. The average gallon of paint weighs between 6-12 pounds.

Man in khaki pants, tennis shoes and white shirt wearing work gloves pouring can of white paint into paint tray

When you head to the home improvement store to pick up a gallon of paint, have you ever wondered just how much that gallon weighs? 

There are many different types of paint with varying densities. The density of the paint will determine its weight. Most common types of paint will weigh between 6-12 pounds a gallon.

Figuring out the weight of a gallon of paint requires a little math, but don’t worry, because we have got you covered. Read on to find the weight of a gallon of paint and an easy way to do the calculations yourself. 

How to Determine the Weight of a Gallon of Paint

Woman in olive green shirt holding a gallon of paint and a paint brush in a store in the paint aisle

If you need to figure out the weight of a gallon of paint, you have a couple of options. The easiest way to find the weight is to contact the manufacturer or the paint seller. This information is readily available to both the retailer and the consumer. 

All paint manufacturers have an MSDS, Manufacturer Safety Data Sheet, or a PDS, a Product Data Sheet, which usually will include the weight of the paint per gallon. These information sheets are easily accessible through paint retailers or the manufacturer’s product website. 

You can also check websites where paint is sold and often find the pounds per gallon in the product information section. For example, this barn paint by Majic is 8.34 pounds per gallon, and the information is easy to find in the detailed product description. 

If you don’t have easy access to the weight information of the paint, you can determine the poundage the old fashion way. You will just need to do a simple math formula to get the answer. 

To find the pounds per gallon, you need to know the density of the paint. In this case, we are interested in the relative density or specific gravity number. 

Paint is made up of both liquids and solids, and each gallon of paint has a specific gravity number. This number is the ratio between the solids and water in that paint.  

Relative density chart

The specific gravity number can be found either on the paint label or on the MSDS, Material Safety Data Sheet, or the PDS, the Product Data Sheet, provided by the manufacturer. Look for the specific gravity or relative density number, which will be listed under the Chemical and Physical Properties section of the Data Sheet. 

To determine the pounds per gallon, just multiply the number of specific gravity by 8.35, which is the number of pounds water weighs per gallon. The answer will be how many pounds the gallon of paint weighs.  

What Determines How Much Paint Weighs?

Crushed eyeshadows in small clear containers in a variety of different colors

There is no standard weight for a gallon of paint because the weight depends on what materials and ingredients are in the paint.

Paint is made up of 4 main ingredients.

  1. Pigment
  2. Resin
  3. Solids
  4. Solvents

The different combinations of these four materials will determine how much a gallon of paint weighs.


The pigment is the material that actually provides color to paint. Pigments can be organic or artificially made. They will vary in weight by what they are made of. Some are fluffy and lightweight, while others are dense and heavy.

The color of a gallon of paint is partially dependent on the amount and types of pigments used. In theory, a darker or brighter color of paint, which uses more pigments, should weigh more than light-colored paint. 


Resin can be considered the base of the paint and what gives the paint its name. For example, Acrylic Latex or polyurethane are named for their resins. Resins bind the pigment and allow the paint to adhere to a surface.

The amount and types of resin used in a gallon of paint will affect the total weight of the gallon of paint. 


Solvents help bind the pigments and resins together. Two main types of paint are water-based and solvent-based. 

Manufacturers can use water as the solvent, like water-based latex paint. Water-based solvents will dry faster and are healthier for the environment. They usually weigh less than solvent-based paints because they do not have as many ingredients weighing them down. 

Solvent-based paints are thicker and take longer to dry. One of the positives to using color with a solvent is that it is thicker and can hide imperfections on the wall. Solvents usually weigh more than water; depending on the other materials used in the paint, a gallon of solvent-based paint has the potential to weigh more than water-based.


Additives are used to enhance the paint and change its characteristics. Some additives make the paint glide more easily. Other additives make the paint more durable and resist scuffing. Additives can also speed up the drying time. Additives can affect the overall weight of the paint depending on the amount and type the manufacturer uses.   

What are the Different Types of Paint and Their Weight?

Man wearing a blue shirt, in a paint store looking at the back of a paint can

There are many types of paints used for different applications. The most used paints in the home improvement sector are latex or oil-based paints. These are usually sold in gallon or 5-gallon sizes, but certain paints and brands can be purchased in smaller quantities like quarts.

Paints can also be purchased for specific applications and locations. Interior paints are the best choice for walls inside the home. Exterior paints include ingredients that make them more weather resistant and are used for outside jobs like houses and fences. The ingredients used in each type of paint will influence its weight.

Most gallons of paint used for home improvement will have very similar weights. Let’s take a look at the most common paints used for home improvement and how much a gallon of each weighs. 

Latex Paint

Latex Paint is also referred to as water-based paint. It is the perfect choice for larger areas because it has a medium dry time and is cost-effective. 

Latex paint is the standard paint type for interior walls. It is lighter and thinner than some of the other interior paints because it uses water as its base. The average gallon of Latex paint weighs approximately 10.5-12 pounds. Premium Latex paint has more solvents and solids to make better adherence and require fewer coats. It will weigh more than a thinner latex paint that is not designed to cover or adhere as well.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic Paint is now available in both a water-based and solvent-based formula. A 100% acrylic paint can be used both on interiors and exteriors. It is often used on window trim and shutters because of its hard finish scrubbed clean. 

This thick paint has more acrylic solids than latex paint, covering stains and imperfections. A gallon of Acrylic paint comes in somewhere around 11 pounds per gallon. 

Oil Based Paint

Oil Based Paint is often used on moldings and cabinets. It has a much longer dry time than latex but gives better protection and a smoother coating. Enamel paints are a common type of oil-based paint. They are the lightest of paints, with some specialty paints weighing as little as 6 pounds per gallon, with the average gallon at 10 pounds.

In Conclusion

One gallon of paint may not seem to weigh too much, but when you need several gallons of paint for a project, the weight can add up! Premium paints or paints with more solid ingredients and additives will weigh more than a thin and basic paint, like an inexpensive Latex. The most common paints used in home improvement projects weigh between 10-12 pounds. The average weight of a gallon of most paints, including specialty paints is between 6-12 pounds.