Latex paint can be successfully applied to an enameled surface, but only if proper preparations are made. For every painting project, remember these steps: Clean, Dull, Dry.
1. If you are unsure of the age of the enamel, you should have the paint tested for lead. Paints manufactured before 1978 could be lead-based, and sanding them with out proper protection may cause health problems.
2. Once you've established the safety of the enamel, thoroughly clean the surface. Paint will not adhere to a dirty surface. Paint stores offer special formulas that are created with the purpose of to preparing oil-based surfaces for painting, but old-fashioned soap and water will get the job done too.
3. After the surface is dry, sand it thoroughly with medium grit sandpaper. Be sure to vacuum the dust and wipe the surface with a wet cloth.
4. Priming is essential for this project. Oil- or shellac-based primers have traditionally been recommended; however, paint manufacturers are continually improving their latex primers, so talk to your local paint store expert to see which water-based products may be available.
5. Once the primer is dry, sand and clean the surface again.
6. Latex dries faster than oil, so before you begin painting, you may want to add a conditioning agent to the paint. This will help the paint to flatten and create a smoother surface. Some paint companies are manufacturing paint with these conditioning agents already added, and there are some great products available.
When it comes to paint and painting products, you get what you pay for. Painting projects are not the time to skimp. Invest in quality products, and talk to an expert at a store that specializes in paint.