Q:

What is the difference between enamel and acrylic?

A:

Quick Answer

Enamel paint is a high-gloss oil-based paint that is typically used on hard, non-porous surfaces such as metal, whereas acrylic paint is a chemical-based paint that is best used on porous and outdoor surfaces due to its ability to expand and contract with rising and falling temperatures. Emulsified polymers give acrylic paint its flexibility. These flexible bonds make acrylic paint ideal for painting on non-porous surfaces as well as porous, because air is what allows the polymers in the paint to maintain their bonds.

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Full Answer

Acrylic paint also wears much faster than enamel paint. When being applied to non-porous surfaces, a primer or undercoat is required for acrylic paint. If acrylic paint is not allowed to properly breathe, it may split or crack.

Enamel's slower drying process is the direct result of its oil base. Although enamel paints are slower to dry than acrylic paint, they stand up to handling and high traffic very well and are easy to clean. The stability of enamel makes it a favorite of model builders. Although enamel is not traditionally considered an artist's paint, several famous artists have successfully incorporated enamel into their works. Pablo Picasso, for example, created works of art using a commercial-grade enamel paint.

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Related Questions

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    Is acrylic paint toxic?

    A:

    Although acrylic paint is considered non-toxic, some acrylic paints may contain toxic pigments. These paints may contain ammonia, which is irritating to sensitive individuals. However, poisoning is unlikely.

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    How do you paint over enamel?

    A:

    To paint over enamel you must first degloss the surface and apply latex primer. The required supplies are drop cloths, soap, water, a large sponge, a bucket, cleaning gloves, masking tape, paint brushes, deglosser, latex primer, a paint roller and a plastic painting tray. The procedure takes about a day, including drying time.

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    What is alkyd enamel?

    A:

    Alkyd enamel is a paint made for various interior or exterior surfaces, such as wallpaper, plaster, wrought iron, brick and aluminum, according to Behr. Painters can apply the product to cabinets, trim, doors and molding, but it is not intended to be used on surfaces on which people walk.

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    Can I put polyurethane over enamel paint?

    A:

    Polyurethane can be used over enamel paint, which often provides a harder finish than latex-based paints. For best results enamel paint should be allowed to dry for three to seven days before applying the finish.

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