Painting tips for synthetic enamel

Synthetic enamel is an oil-based paint that is relatively easy to apply. It will adhere to all primers and comes in either a gloss or matt finish. Synthetic enamel can be used on all types of metal, wood and building surfaces. It is durable, stain resistant and simple to clean.

Painting wood and siding

Before applying primer, clean the surface of all dust, smoke residue and grime. Fill all knotholes and blemishes with a suitable filler, and sand the surface smooth. Take extra care to provide a smooth, blemish-free finish when applying high gloss enamel; the smooth, shiny finish will emphasise surface imperfections. Synthetic enamel can be applied with a roller, brush or spray gun. Apply two coats, and allow the paint to dry for four to six hours between coats.

Using an airless sprayer

When using an airless sprayer to paint walls or siding, dilute synthetic enamel with a recommended thinner. Place a measured amount of paint in a spare container, and apply small amounts of thinner at a time. Stir well and fill the viscosity test cup supplied with most airless sprayers with paint. Measure the "run-out" time taken to empty the test cup. Keep adding thinner and stirring until the "run-out" time coincides with the viscosity table requirements supplied with the sprayer. Make a note of the paint-to-thinner ratio, which will ensure the most economical mix to use for full coverage on walls and siding with a single correctly applied application. Hold the spray gun perpendicular and at a right angle to the surface. Keep the nozzle 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 inches) from the surface at all times. Do not swivel your wrist, but sweep your arm across the surface and release the trigger at the end of each run. Overlap each layer by one-third of the succeeding fan pattern.

Painting plastered walls

Allow sufficient time for freshly plastered walls to dry completely before applying primer. Prepare the surface as described. Paint the walls with a brush, roller or airless sprayer, allowing four to six hours drying time between coats.

Painting metal

Remove all rust and mill-scale with a wire brush or emery paper. Sand the surface smooth, and wipe it down with a cloth soaked in denatured alcohol. Apply two coats of zinc chromate primer before applying synthetic enamel with a brush, roller or spray gun. Apply at least two coats, and allow four to six hours drying time between coats.

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About the Author

After graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand and qualifying as an aircraft engineer, Ian Kelly joined a Kitchen remodeling company and qualified as a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD). Kelly then established an organization specializing in home improvement, including repair and maintenance of household appliances, garden equipment and lawn mowers.