What is the difference between 1K and 2K paints?


A common question when trying to buy the correct paint for your project. What is the difference between 1K (one pack/component) and 2K (two pack/component)?

The simple answer is quite clear, 2K paint requires a separate hardener (sometimes called an activator) whereas 1K products do not. 2K products are also generally considered a tougher, more hard wearing finish. To help you fully understand, we’ve written this short guide.

1K vs 2K – The main differences:

  • 2K is more hard wearing
  • 1K has quicker drying times
  • 1K is easier to use

1K vs 2K – Application:

  • 1K is mostly ready for use
  • 2K requires activation with separate hardener
  • 2K products can be more harmful and are for professional use only
  • Respirator, gloves and goggles should always be worn when applying 2K (correct PPE is required for all paint application)
  • Both may require Thinner

1K vs 2K – Curing:

  • 1K has faster drying times
  • 1K is air drying
  • 2K requires a chemical reaction to set the paint hard

1K vs 2K – Uses:

  • 1K – suited to interior use, low traffic areas, and places less prone to general wear and tear
  • 2K – suited to exterior use, heavy use areas, high temperature surfaces and other harsh environments

As of the 24th, August 2023 professional training is required before industrial or professional use of 2K paints. Training can be found through the designated web portal Safe Use of Diisocyanates.

Always refer to the Product Data Sheet and Material Safety Data Sheet for specific product information. Correct personal protective equipment should be worn at all times in accordance with the relevant COSHH guidelines.

If you require more information or advice on the paint you are looking for, please call our professional customer service team on 01536 747337 or email sales@onlinepaintshop.co.uk