Difference between enamel & acrylic paint in outdoor situations

Written by david searls
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Difference between enamel & acrylic paint in outdoor situations
Do your homework before deciding on enamel vs. acrylic paint.

Water-based acrylic latex paints and oil-based enamels, also called alkyds, offer a host of advantages and drawbacks on houses and other exterior surfaces. Whichever you choose, quality paints are your best guarantee of satisfaction.

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Features

Acrylic latex paints are made with water as a thinner and can range in appearance from flat to ultra-glossy. Enamels are oil based resins known for their tough, glossy surface.

Benefits

Acrylics dry quickly and clean up easily. Just run brushes and pads under a hose or outdoor faucet. Enamel paints are thicker, easier to spread and offer a greater stain resistance.

Drawbacks

With acrylic paint, the fast drying time can mean a sticky brush if you work slow. Enamels have a tendency to flake and peel under harsh sunlight.

Environmental Impact

Oil-based enamels contain white spirit, which are released into the environment. Changing air-quality regulations are changing the composition of these alkyd paints and reducing such advantages as ease of application and faster drying time.

Final Word

"Oil over water, but no water over oil." That means you can apply oil paint over water based acrylic surfaces, but acrylics can't be applied over an alkyd surface unless the surface is first primed.

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