By definition, enamel is an opaque or semi-transparent glassy substance applied to metallic or other hard surfaces, usually as a protective coating.
The term enamel paint is often misused with many people using the term to refer to paint with a sheen, such as satin or semi-gloss.
So, what is enamel paint?
Enamel paint is a durable coating that has a lustrous opaque finish once dry. Enamel is typically oil based and is resistant to heat, stains and scratches. It is also compatible with most building materials. Typically, you will find that enamel paints are best suited for heavy use areas such as cabinets, doors, windows and trims. It is perfect for areas that will feel the effects of every day wear and tear. The high gloss nature of enamel paint makes it a less suitable choice for areas such as walls and ceilings, not only for the glossy finish but also because it tends to show imperfections like brush or roller marks.
Enamel Painting Tips – How to Best Use Enamel Paint
1. Wash the surface
It is extremely important that this step is done thoroughly. You need to ensure that you remove all dust and grime as enamel paint will highlight any imperfections that are on the surface.
Use a good cleaner or degreaser and then rinse the area with clean water and allow to dry completely. If you have areas that need to be sanded, give the area a light sand, and use a clean, damp rag to remove any sanding dust.
2. Prime the Surface
You can apply primer once you know your working area is completely dry. This is a crucial step for materials that are prone to warping, especially wood. If the area you are painting is outdoors, ensure the primer you are using is suitable for outdoor use.
3. Mix the Paint
Even though the paint you purchase will be mixed thoroughly, it’s important to stir enamel paints before use. You can do this by using a long stick that will reach the bottom of the tin. This ensures that all components are evenly distributed.
4. Apply the Paint
Once the primer has dried, you can now commence painting. Ensure you use a high-quality brush as cheaper brushes may cause streaks and marks in the finish.
What is Enamel Paint used for?
As enamel paint dries hard, it will provide you with a more durable surface.
Enamel paint is best used for:
· Doors and Windows: Doors particularly are high traffic areas, and window sills and frames can be exposed to the elements. Using enamel paint will ensure that these areas don’t wear quickly.
· Painting Metal: Enamel paint is also able to be purchased as enamel spray paint, which is perfect for metal works that may need a fresh new look. It sets hard enough to work well on outdoor furniture, but remember if you are using it on metal fencing or furniture that you should use a sandpaper first (of at least 120 grit). This will ensure that there is a good adhesion between the paint and the metal.
· Garage Floors: Many people like to paint their garage floors; enamel paint is ideal for this. The paint sticks well to concrete flooring and will also be easier to clean if your car ever drips any fluid or oil.
Many people may ask what is the differences between enamel paint and other paints available. Enamel paint, acrylic and latex paint and all well-known and commonly used paints, however they do differ in terms of the use and composition.
Enamel paint is an oil based paint, which means that you will need to use a paint thinner when you are cleaning your paint brushes after use. Acrylic paint is water based paint and is a lot easier to clean up.
Enamel paint takes longer to dry, so keep this in mind if you need to do a second coat.
Whilst enamel paint does dry harder than other paints, this also means that it has little to no flexibility, perfect for metal surfaces, but some areas may be better suited to a latex or acrylic paint.