Being provided on interior and also exterior surfaces, they come in a wide range of finishes, and also they space both relatively easy come apply.

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However, if you are trying come decide in between the two, then expertise the major difference between latex and enamel will assist you make the best-informed decision about which one is the right repaint for her needs.

Of course, it help if you know the differences between all paints ~ above the market which encompass acrylic and oil-based paints together well.

But right here in this article, we will be discussing mostly latex and enamel paints.

IMO, the more knowledge girlfriend have, the much better the decision you will certainly make in this regard.

So, let’s acquire started…

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Latex vs Enamel paint Differences

Latex vs Enamel paint Differences

While enamel and latex paints carry out have plenty of similarities the differences between them need to be clearly understood prior to you pick one among them.

Each type of paint has actually its own attributes and means of applications or removal.

You deserve to see the distinctions in the features that are listed below.

Latex (Water-Based)Enamel (Oil-Based)
OdorLess toxicity odorMore toxicity odor
FinishDoes not last longHigh quality and long-lasting
DryingDries come touch quicklyTakes a longer time come dry
RemovalEasy to remove with waterNot easy to remove, will call for thinner
SafetySafer for skin, eyes, and also lungsCan be hazardous because that skin, eyes, and also lungs


The very first thing you have to note is that neither paint contains latex or enamel regardless of what it says on the label.

Latex does describe the properties of the paint however is no an ingredient in the paint.

The use of the term latex is shorthand to explain how malleable and also flexible the paint is supposed to be.

It is why that is regularly used on locations that tend to increase or contract ~ above the home, such as the expansion joints for example.

Enamel is mostly used for interior paints yet again does no contain any type of enamel.

It is a descriptive term provided to relate just how the paint will be smooth and also durable, as with enamel.

It is really a marketing term that gets you come imagine the repaint being glossy, beautiful, and also perfect for the internal of your home.

This is essential to remember due to the fact that you may uncover paint commodities that insurance claim to be both latex and also enamel.

Of course, they execute not have either in the paint, but again these are descriptive terms supplied to assist you visualize what the repaint will do once it is applied to her home.

So, you might see the word “enamel” as part of water-based latex repaint to define how solid and smooth the end up will be.

Water or Oil-Based

It’s no so lot the name, however what the repaint is based on that renders the actual difference in between them.

So, a more important difference in between enamel vs latex repaint is the latex paints tend to be water-based if enamel paints tend to it is in oil-based.

Typically, latex paint is a water-based emulsion whereby the pigment corpuscle of the repaint are rely in water.

While ~ above the other hand, oil-based repaint carries the pigment corpuscle in a thinner, mineral spirit or solvent.

This is the most crucial difference between the two products.

Drying Time

Oil-based enamel paints take much longer to dry compared to water-based latex paints.

However, when it has actually dried the enamel paint is fairly beautiful and also will last because that a lengthy time.

The fence is that you cannot usage water come clean the surface ar of oil-based paint.

You will need a product that contains paint diluent if you want to remove stains from the surface.

Latex paint dries quicker to touch, and you have the right to use water to eliminate stains native the surface.

It does not last as lengthy as enamel, but it is easier to maintain. 


Both latex and enamel paints save toxic products unless they speak otherwise ~ above the label.

However, the real difference between the two varieties of paints is oil-based enamel paint includes far more toxins contrasted to water-based latex paint.

For oil-based enamel paint, the toxicity properties are linked with an smell that can be overwhelming if you do not ventilate the area properly.

You might suffer from breathing issues and irritation the the eyes unless you keep the wait moving.

While water-based latex paints have actually less odor and are normally safer, they still contain toxicity properties such together volatile necessary compounds (VOCs).

This type of pollutant is much less dangerous initially, but more insidious since it can develop up in your residence if you carry out not ventilate properly.

It deserve to especially influence children and also seniors, therefore you should keep them far from the room for any prolonged period.

Plus, store the fans running until the odor has actually faded as soon as the paint fully dries.

You need to purchase latex repaint that has actually low come no VOCs present.


Enamel vs Latex: Which repaint to Use and also When?

Now the you understand the straightforward differences, the following step is which repaint to use.

This will count on the outcomes you desire to achieve.


This form of paint is provided when you need a high-quality product to cover various surfaces such as doors, trim, baseboards, and window frames.

Because these areas of the house are much more exposed to the outdoor environment, they need the tough, durable, and also beautiful results that just enamel paint have the right to deliver.

Plus, enamel offers a difficult surface that deserve to last a lengthy time with minimal maintenance.

Providing a sleek complete that beats acrylic is likewise a large plus.

Enamel is likewise used ~ above surfaces together as steel that do not reaction well come water.

There is one added range of enamel paints that are recognized as hybrid enamels.

Although they have the right to be applied in a similar means and administer nearly the very same end an outcome (to the oil-borne enamel), they are much more eco-friendly due to the fact that of low VOC release.


Latex is generally much better for big surfaces such as walls given how basic it is come apply.

Plus, any kind of surface that could experience expansion or contraction as result of heat or cold is likewise a candidate because that latex repaint as enamel might crack under the strain.

Such locations include however are not minimal to the following.

PorchesDeck FlooringDrywall PlasterStuccoSiding

It is true that the distance between alkyd enamel and latex paints has closed in recent years.

This way that latex paints can be provided with an ext confidence when you need a hard, smooth complete that will certainly last because that a lengthy time.

It’s quiet not fairly an enamel, but in countless cases, it is close.

However, the enamel is still better suited because that surfaces the respond fine to oil-based paints.

While latex is an ext versatile, part surfaces together as steel or those exposed come the aspects may be much better suited for enamel paints.

Be sure to perform your research an initial before deciding i beg your pardon one is ideal for her needs.

Final Thoughts

Basically, you have two type of paints i.e., enamel and also latex.

While the previous is oil-borne and smooth, the latter uses water-based technology.

Either type will carry out for your DIY house remodeling project, noted you know exactly how to use them.

As protest to what it to be before, in recent times numerous companies have actually started developing latex paints the offer lot stronger and also smoother finishes.

See more: How Many Scoops Of Formula For 3 1/2 Oz ? — The Bump

And for this reason, it’s typical to watch the ax “enamel” discussed on a few of your water-based latex paints.

Keep in mind the there will be some similarities and also even cross of terms, but for the many part, the significant difference is the water or oil base for each type of paint.