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Enamel Paint: Pros, Cons, Origins, and How to Use It

If you’re planning to repaint your home, you may be considering different types of paint. One option you may find is enamel paint. You’ll usually find enamel to be glossy and hard, which is what makes it so popular in crafting and touch-ups.

If you’re wondering how best to use this type of paint, let’s look at everything you need to know about enamel paint.

What Is Enamel Paint?

Enamel paints have a glossy, hard finish and are very durable. As you might expect from the name, these paints are derived from enamels, which are meant to coat surfaces and protect them against wear and tear. This is what makes them popular for surfaces subjected to force.

There are various bases for enamel paint, but they generally boast a glossy quality. You’ll find a glassy exterior once it air-dries. That aesthetic texture should not be confused for actual glass content, though.

Take note that enamel paint is not the same as enamel in glass. Kiln-based enamels will be harder than enamel paints. This softer base doesn’t mean it is necessarily weak, however.

The Origins of Enamel Paint

The origins of enamels can be traced back thousands of years to prehistoric times. In the sense of how we know it today, though, we can trace it back to the 1800s.

Enamel coating reached high popularity because it not only looked more pleasing to the eye but also made products more durable and water-resistant. This is what made them more prevalent in bathroom items and cookware. Nowadays, you’ll also see enamel paint in furniture and the like.

Can You Use Enamel Paint Outdoors?

You can use enamel paint for certain detailing or outdoor features. Exterior house painters will know how best to use this type of paint to protect it against the weather and other exterior factors.

In general, you’ll find that enamel is a popular choice for exterior walls and outdoor furniture because of its finish and durability.

However, it should be noted that although you can use enamel paint outdoors, not all enamel paints are weatherproof. Exterior house painters will know how best to use this type of paint to protect it against the weather and other exterior factors.

A primer will help your paint stay on longer, but in general, you’ll want to stick to oil-based and lacquer-based enamel paint for outdoor projects. If you go acrylic-based, don’t expect it to last very long.

Pros of Enamel Paint

Now that you have some background on enamel paint, let’s look at the benefits that set it apart from other paints.

1. Enamel Paint Suffers Less Chipping

When it comes to durability, enamel paint is hard to beat. It is not only resistant to water but also stands up against dirt and abrasion. These paints can last for decades if you choose the right one.

2. Enamel Paint Has a Hard, Glossy Finish

Enamel paints can give you a glossy finish that is hard to distinguish from glass. This is what makes it look great and also provides that hardy shell.

3. Enamel Paint Is More Resistant to Discoloration

If you’re not a fan of chalky, powdery paints, then you may appreciate the enamel finish. These paints resist discoloration better over time and are resistant against yellowing.

Cons of Enamel Paint

Enamel paint does come with its own cons.

1. Enamel Paint May Be More Expensive Than Other Paints

You’ll often find that enamel paints are pricier than other types of paint. The more durable your enamel paint, the more the material and labor costs will likely rise.

2. Enamel Paint Has a Strong Smell

Although this is not a deal-breaker, enamel paints are known to have a strong and rather unpleasant odor as you are putting them on. This is because of their organic compounds, but it will fade over time.

3. Enamel Paint Is Harder to Clean

Unlike acrylic paints, enamel paints cannot be cleaned with a wet or damp rag. You’ll need to rely on the right products to clean your enamel paint, like solvents.


These factors should help you decide on the right paint for your project. A professional house painter will be able to execute the vision you have with the best paint choices.

Alan’s House Painting is one of the most highly-regarded painting companies in Davis. Contact us for quality house painting in California.

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