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Enamel Vs Latex Paint

Painting a surface gives it an altogether different look and has the potential to make the surface or product appear visually alluring. However, different surfaces and climatic conditions demand different types of paints.

Understanding the various aspects of different kinds of paints is a crucial step to making an informed decision.

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The significant differences between both types of paints are listed below:

Paint bases:

This is the major difference between enamel and latex paints. Enamel paint is oil-based, and latex paint is water-based. Enamel paints are known as hard-surface paints as they dry slowly but stay hard, making them apt for those surfaces. Latex paint is malleable and is suited for objects or surfaces that may expand or have mobility.

However, a few water-based enamel paints possess few features of latex paint.

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Latex paints provide a matte or flat finishes that give a modern and sophisticated look. Latex paint is easy to clean and durable to survive in high-traffic areas.

Enamel provides a hard glass-like finish which is easy to clean and hard to stain. Enamel paint is available in satin, semi-gloss, or high-gloss. Because of their high durability, oil-based/enamel paints are commonly used for trim, cabinets, and high-impact areas.

Paint Fumes

Paint fumes can cause headaches, irritation to the eyes, and even respiratory issues. Latex paint possesses a mild odour when compared to enamel paint. This is one of the reasons latex paint is being opted for bigger spaces. Enamel paints are recommended for smaller projects or for outdoors.

Used Surface:

Latex paint offers a modern look, is easy to clean, and possesses water-resistant properties that make it the ideal coat for interior spaces. It is flexible and durable, making it famous for home interior walls.

Enamel paints' hard and glossy finish is well suited for outdoor areas. Though these fade over time, opting for neutral color shades like beige, tan, etc., are less prone to breakdowns when compared with other color tones.

Drying Time

Enamel paints consume a reasonable amount of time to dry; however, it gives a flawless polished look. Latex paints dry faster; hence they should be laid quickly and left to level.


Latex paints are often easy to clean and require water and a rag. The process is pretty simple because latex paints are water-based. On the contrary, enamel paints call for paint thinner for cleaning brushes and surfaces.

Advantages of Enamel paint:

  • Oil-based enamel paint takes longer to dry, thus consuming a lot of time. This may appear as a disadvantage, but this longer duration allows more time to work with paint to get a perfectly smooth coat. When left for drying, a smooth and thick coat of enamel paint will produce a smooth and durable finish.

  • Enamel paints are comparatively easier to clean. It is a golden rule that the shinier the finish, the easier the cleaning part.

  • Enamel paint is waterproof, making it an ideal choice for outdoor conditions.

  • Excellent adhesive and heat-resistant properties

enamel paint

Advantages of Latex paint:

  • Latex paint is the perfect choice for unprimed drywall, stonewall, or brick walls. It can also be applied to a surface coated with latex or oil-based paints.

  • It is an economically feasible option usually preferred on large interior surfaces.

  • It is easier to apply and dries at a quick rate.

latex paint

Disadvantages of Enamel paint:

  • It is toxic as it emits fumes that can be irritating and harmful.

  • It consumes a long time to dry and is vulnerable to scratches.

  • It is difficult to clean and an expensive option.

Disadvantages of Latex paint:

  • Latex is usually water-based paint, so it doesn't work well with most surfaces. The prerequisite of primer application is needed with this type of paint. This paint is unsuitable for appliances due to the absence of water and heat-resistant properties.

  • It can easily crack as it is vulnerable to high temperatures. There are more chances of peeling and cracking of this type of paint.

Painting is a resource-intensive process and disrupts the usual workflow. This is why painting is undertaken after a considerable amount of time or when an old coat is damaged.

Contact Metrowest Corporation for the best interior and exterior painting services. Our services are based in Massachusetts & Connecticut.

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