Two types of maleic acid diesters, dibutyl maleate (DBM) and dioctyl maleate (DOM) were used as comonomers in semicontinuous emulsion copolymerization of vinyl acetate (VAc) in order to improve the film properties of poly(vinyl acetate), PVAc emulsion polymer. The effects of the comonomer type and comonomer ratio on minimum film forming temperature (MFFT), glass transition temperature (T-g), polymer structure, molecular weights, water contact angle and water resistance of PVAc latex films were examined. It was found that MFFT and Tg of the PVAc emulsion polymer decreased by the presence of the maleic acid disters in copolymer composition. This decrease was more affected by the increasing content and alkyl chain length of the comonomers. The molecular weights of the emulsion polymers were also affected by the comonomers and their ratios. Moreover, hydrophobicity and water resistance of the PVAc latex films were increased by using DBM and DOM as comonomer. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.