What is Floetrol?: Everything You Need to Know

In some cases, brush marks on a painted surface add character to it. However, most of the time, these marks are eye sores and can make a piece of furniture look like it was painted by an amateur.

To make things more difficult, brush marks tend to be the most apparent AFTER the paint has dried, meaning you can’t proactively fix the problem as you paint. 

Fortunately, there are easy preventive measures you can take to prevent brush marks from showing up in paint. Using a paint additive to eliminate brush marks is one of the most effective approaches. Of all the paint additives out there, Floetrol is one of the best.

So, what is Floetrol? In this post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about this water-based paint additive.


Floetrol is a water-based paint additive for water-based paint to improve paint flow. It also reduces brush marks and roller streaks. It is popular among DIY enthusiasts, professional painters, and crafters and it is available at most paint and hardware stores.

What is Floetrol?

Floetrol (available here on Amazon) is a brand of paint additive specifically used with water-based paints such as latex and acrylic. This additive is popular with many DIYers and even professional painters because it makes water-based paint easier to work with. It essentially makes latex and acrylic paint flow more smoothly, making these paints easier to apply and spread on surfaces. 

Another key benefit of Floetrol is its self-leveling qualities. The formula helps to reduce pesky brush marks and create an even and uniform finish.

It has an opaque, milky-white appearance, almost like glue. But it does not affect the paint color or sheen, except for glossy paint: it can minimize the sheen of glossy paints.

Floetrol is available at most paint and hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes. It tends to come in two sizes: quart or gallon.

What is Floetrol made of? 

Floetrol is a paint conditioner, mostly composed of a polymer emulsion binder and water. Its made up of the following components (according to the label):

  • Water
  • 2-propenoic acid (Ethyl acrylate)
  • Butyl ester
  • Polymer with ethenyl acetate
  • Cellulose
  • 2-hydroxyethyl ether
  • Proprietary paraffinic oil
  • Fatty acids – alkyl carboxylic acid and unsaturated trialkyl glycerides
  • Sodium salts

Most of these ingredients are generally safe to use and are commonly found in paints, sealants, and solvents. However, some of these chemicals are known as mild irritants. So, necessary safety precautions, like wearing gloves and goggles, are advised when using them.

In particular, 2-propenoic acid (ethyl acrylate) has been reported to be dangerous to aquatic environments. So, it is important to dispose of waste properly.

What is Floetrol used for?

Floetrol is primarily used to give water-based paints like acrylic and latex flow better and level out, resulting in a smooth paint finish.

This paint conditioner is great for:

  • Eliminating brush strokes and roller streaks
  • Increasing paint coverage (covering more surface area with the same amount of paint) 
  • Preventing clogs when using a paint sprayer (thus extending its life)
  • Reducing the need to thin latex paint

Floetrol can be used when painting furniture, painting walls, small crafts, and practically any other painting project.

In recent years, Floetrol has also become popular among acrylic painting artists for acrylic pouring. This is a painting technique in which paint is poured over a canvas. Acrylic is typically thinned with a pouring medium, which is slightly more expensive than Floetrol.

How to use Floetrol

Floetrol is easy to use. As far as tools and supplies go, you only need the Floetrol, your paint, and your paint applicator (brush, roller, or sprayer).

Tools and supplies

For mixing Floetrol with water-based paint, you may also want to secure the following:

  • Stirrer
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Respirator (if sensitive to the smell of paint)

The last three materials are necessary to protect the skin, eyes, and nose, as some paint and Floetrol ingredients are known to cause mild irritation.

Floetrol mixing ratio: How much Floetrol to add to latex paint

To use Floetrol, simply combine however much paint you plan to use with the appropriate corresponding amount of Floetrol.

The Floetrol bottle recommends 8 ounces of Floetrol per gallon of paint when using a brush or roller. It recommends 16-31 ounces with a sprayer. You can see how much Floetrol you should add to smaller quantities of paint in the chart below:

Floetrol to Latex Paint Mixing Ratios: Cup, Pint, Quart, Gallon

Once the additive and paint are mixed, your solution is ready to apply. 

Always apply the mixed solution on a small area first to check if the desired flow has been achieved. If not, adjust your ratio of Floetrol to latex paint accordingly. 

Note that it may be necessary to add some water to the Floetrol-paint mixture if the paint has a glossy sheen. This will help keep the luster while using the additive.

What do Flood Floetrol reviews say?

Floetrol is generally well-received by professionals and home DIYers, and crafters.

For those who use Floetrol as an additive for painting furniture or walls, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. You can find various reviews and before and after photos of painted pieces that illustrate how effective the product is at eliminating brush strokes. 

For those interested in acrylic pouring, many reviewers claim that Floetrol is a great alternative to more expensive acrylic pouring mediums.

Many critical reviews are not related to how the product works but more to the price of the product compared to Floetrol alternatives. There are certainly relatively cheaper Floetrol substitutes out there.

A few also mention using glue or water as a Floetrol substitute, as it is way cheaper. However, we’d argue that this isn’t a valid criticism. Elmers glue certainly doesn’t have all of the same qualities as Floetrol. And while water thins paint, it doesn’t enhance the paint’s self-leveling qualities like Floetrol does. 

Is Floetrol toxic?

As far as paint products go, Floetrol is relatively non-toxic and safe to use. It has low amounts of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) as it has less than 50g of VOC/L.

While Floetrol has low VOC content and has low health risks for humans, proper waste disposal is still necessary. As a chemical-based solution, Floetrol can be harmful to the environment if leaked into the ground. Always read the label to check how to properly get rid of the containers after use.

Floetrol vs. Penetrol

Floetrol and Penetrol are paint additives that improve the flow and texture of paints. The two products basically have all the same benefits. The main differences between these two is Floetrol is used for water-based paints while Penetrol is used for oil-based paints. 

Floetrol, as a water-based additive, is mainly composed of water and a polymer emulsion. And like most water-based mediums, it has low VOC content and is a relatively non-toxic solution.

In contrast, Penetrol is made of oil alkyd resins and petroleum-based solvents. Moreover, it has 550g of VOC/L, which is considerably higher than Floetrol’s VOC content (50g of VOC/L). That said, be sure to wear a respirator and rubber gloves to reduce exposure to the VOCs.

Again, Floetrol is for water-based paint and Penetrol is for oil-based paint. Floetrol is incompatible with oil-based paint and will ruin the paint’s composition. The same can be said with Penetrol and water-based paint. 





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