Acrylic paint, also called latex paint, is water soluble, but becomes water-resistant when dry. As a binder not only acrylic is used but also vinyl or PVA. Acrylic paints are better resistant to moisture and cleaning, have fewer tendencies to grow mildew and have more elasticity then vinyl and PVA. Since vinyl and PVA are much cheaper than acrylic, companies make combinations of them to match the market.
Acrylic paints have many advantages over oil paints. They offgas much less organic fumes (VOCs) because they don’t need an organic solvent. Acrylic paints are however not free of harmful substances. They can contain agents that can emit VOCs, such as antibacterial, anti mildew, quick drying or conservant agents.
Acrylic paints dry more quickly and are more elastic then oil based paints. They are more suitable for application on wood because they allow the wood to shrink and expand without letting cracks occur. Generally they need more layers to be fully opaque compared to oil paints.