Have you bought a new home or are you looking to repaint your home or fix your garage? If you own paint spray guns, you are likely to do it yourself.
Like any responsible adult who is into DIY, you start by checking the stores for the best paint that is suitable for your needs. Maybe you are just looking for the paint that is best for painting cabinets.
Enamel vs Latex Paint
Since you and your family are the ones going to be exposed to the paint, it only makes sense for you to understand which paint works.
The two popular options available in the market are enamel paints and latex paints. But how do we know how latex paint is different than enamel paint? Let’s find out.
Some Important Terminology
Before getting into the differences, we need to understand the meaning behind the terminology.
When we look around most of the water-based interior/exterior paints use the word “LATEX” on their label. But did you know that there isn’t actually any latex in the paint? The word latex simply indicates a level of malleability and versatility integrated into that particular paint product.
The word “ENAMEL” is dubious too. There’s no actual “ENAMEL” in the paint itself. Enamel paints have one good quality which is that it provides a smooth, hard finish at the end of the job.
In several cases we see paint companies use “ENAMEL” on their high-end options, simply because it’s an appealing descriptive word. It makes the painting sound more glossy, beautiful and durable.
Let us understand what latex paint is. Latex paint is more commonly known as acrylic paint. In latex paint, the carrier is typically water with glycols ethers as a solvent.
Note that Latex paint does not contain latex from the rubber plant. The term “LATEX” in the paint actually refers to the resin (binder) used in the paint.
Today, many paints are made with water as their thinner but with resins that are not latex, and are referred to terms as “water-thinned” or “water-reducible”. If you see any paint being called ‘latex’ that’s because it contains a plastic resin that’s not made of rubber. Instead, it’s made of polyvinyl or acrylics.
If you want to paint a un-primed drywall or stonewall or brick wall, you should opt for latex paint and a suitable latex paint sprayer. It also works well on surfaces that have already been painted with other latex or oil-based paints.
Typically, the term “Enamel paint” is used to describe an oil-based product. Enamel paint is a paint that can easily dry in air and turns into a hard, usually glossy, finish coated surface.
They are majorly used for outdoor paint jobs. Most enamel paints are alkyd resin-based, while some enamel paints have been made by adding varnish to oil-based paint.
The origin of enamel paint was in the 1800s when the paints were less reliable and whitewash paints were known to smudge off. This was a time when calling a product “enamel paint” was a powerful marketing move.
Enamel at that time was known as vitreous shell surface of porcelain and ceramic tiles which were impermeable, sanitary and very tough.
Establishing an idea to link cookware, tile, sinks, and bathtub enamel to paint was creative and also convenient to indicate that this paint was equally water-resistant and tough.
Difference Between Latex and Enamel Paints
When we are using latex paint it does not provide a glossy finish whereas enamel paints are meant to provide a glossy finish. As a result, if you need to do a job that requires glossy output then enamel paints are recommended, whereas if you wish to give a paint coating or a colorful coat on your project latex paints are recommended because latex paints are already resin mixed.
If you have to paint a large portion of the wall or a long wall then latex paints are suggested as they are water-thinned paints. Don’t make the mistake of using enamel based paint as they would require a lot of solvents for thinning, cleaning and to complete your task which will consume your time as well as money.
If you wish to use paint for decorative purpose then use enamel-based paints as they don’t leave much brush strokes behind making the output look smooth and attractive. Latex paints are a little thick on the appearance which makes it look a little rough and uneven.
There is a major disadvantage of latex paint that it smudges off or starts peeling out after a certain span of time. So you will have to re-apply another coat of paint. If you are using enamel based paint then it will hold on to a surface for a longer period of time.
When you are using enamel paint, it can be used on a large range of products and materials like glass, porcelain, aluminum, stainless steel, ceramic, etc. You also have the advantage of using paint sprayer for latex. But if you are planning on using latex paint, note that it cannot be used for such a wide range of products. It can be only used on concrete or on moist surfaces.
If you want to use a light color for a paint job then enamel paint is your correct choice as latex paint would require 2-3 coating to get the perfect result which will again increase your time and budget for the job.
Enamel paints can be used for various artistic jobs as well because of its glossy output, smooth finishing and reduced brush marks. Latex paint can’t be used for such jobs.
The major advantage of latex paint is that it is a water-based paint hence is easily washable. If you already own interior paint spray guns, the entire activity of painting becomes less expensive – including the maintenance.
One major drawback for enamel paints is that once the job is done the brushes, rollers and other things used to apply paint need to be cleaned with solvents or thinners, whereas on the application of latex paints you just need to dissolve them in water for some time and they come out clean.