Enamel vs Latex Paint

The use of paint to beautify certain surfaces has become very popular. Similarly, it helps make surfaces durable by protecting them against damage. However, A lack of knowledge of the suitable paint types and materials for your painting projects can cause problems.

A particular type of paint may best suit the surface you plan to paint because latex and enamel paint are two of the most popular paint types. Whether you’re considering painting a portion of your home or just learning more about the enamel vs latex paint, we’ve got you covered.

Enamel Paint vs Latex

What is an Enamel Paint?

Enamel paints are oil-based paints. They are very hard and dry slowly which is perfect for hard coating surfaces. The good thing about enamel paints is that they provide a smooth and glossy finish. The most common use of enamel paints is for outdoor painting.

Enamel paints can contain resin or varnish. This type of paint has a strong odor after drying due to its volatile organic compounds. Using enamel paint requires the use of respirator masks and proper ventilation.

What is Latex Paint?

A lot of water-based paints refer as latex paints. Many painters prefer latex paint because of its less odor and faster drying time. It does not contain rubber. It is common to use latex paints as primers for brick, drywalls, and stone walls.

Differences Between Enamel And Latex Paint

Different paint bases carry pigments in unique ways. The base of the paint might not seem significant to you. However, it affects several other factors. These factors leading to many differences. Let us explain each factor in more detail.

Latex vs Enamel Finish Paint

Choosing a paint color that best matches the finish you want will help you narrow down your choice when it comes to the difference between latex and enamel paint. With latex paints, you can achieve an eggshell, flat and matte finish, whereas enamel offers a hard, glass-like finish that is easy to clean and more stain resistant.

Usually, oil-based or enamel paints are available in satin, high-gloss or semi-gloss, finishes. Because of the enamel paint’s durability, it is commonly used on trim, cabinets, or other areas likely to be exposed to high impact. Furthermore, enamel paint will generally produce a longer-lasting, smoother finish than oil-based paint.

Also, a satin finish can be applied with both enamel and latex paint.

Difference between Enamel and Latex paint


In a latex vs. enamel comparison, both paint types are durable, but how long the paint will last depends on its environmental condition. Latex paint won’t be as durable in fluctuating climates. However, enamel paints are better suited to the weather and temperature changes.

Drying Time

It may take a while for the drying process to complete, depending on the humidity and outdoor temperature. Paints such as latex dry quickly, so you need to work fast and level the paint to ensure it dries evenly.

A longer drying time will enable you to manipulate the paint, resulting in an even and thick coating. Most latex paints dry within an hour. However, enamel paints will dry in six to eight hours.


Latex paints require only water and a cloth towel for cleaning. You can clean most water-based latex paints easily. In contrast, if enamel paint is spilled on brushes and surfaces, you will need paint thinner to remove the paint. Additionally, you must be careful when disposing of latex and enamel paints.

Interior vs Exterior Use

It would help if you chose the paint based on the project. Both types of paint have interior and exterior applications. Although latex paint offers flexibility, it is less suitable for exterior projects. Most interior painting projects require latex paint.

Whereas Enamel paint provides a polished finish that may seem harsh in indoor areas. It is better suited to metal and outdoor spaces.


In terms of price, latex paints are often less expensive. Since latex paints are sold in large paint cans, they are usually more affordable in the long run. However, enamels are sold in small bottles.

Latex paints are cheaper because you don’t need paint thinner or solvents to clean them. You just need soap and water for cleaning purposes.


Significant amounts of paint fumes can cause headaches, breathing difficulties, or eye irritation. Latex paint smells less than enamel paint, so it’s a better choice for walls and more significant projects.

In contrast, Oil-based enamels produce more fumes (VOCs), so you should only use them on smaller projects or outdoors when the weather permits.

If you work indoors with either type of paint, choose a well-ventilated room or area with open windows or doors to allow air to circulate.


You can apply paint with a brush, as there are many brushes available, and some paints require specific brushes. It is best to use natural bristle brushes with enamel paints. Alternatively, you may use synthetic brushes for either latex or enamel paints.

The Conditions of the Surface

You know how important it is to paint on a good surface. When applying latex paint, a little bit of moisture is fine. As a result of the moisture, the paint may thin out slightly but will adhere to the surface better.

On the other hand, The best way to apply enamel paints is on a dry surface because oil-based paints tend to repel water. Therefore, they won’t stick to wet surfaces.

Conditions Of The Weather

You shouldn’t use latex or water-based paint on surfaces exposed to bad weather. Temperature fluctuations can impact the duration of time it takes for paint to dry. If this occurs, paint quality and finish may be compromised.

However, enamel paints can resist weather changes better. Therefore, Temperature fluctuations will not affect their quality or finish as much.

Conclusion On latex enamel paint

Hopefully, with this comparison of enamel vs. latex paint, you will be able to determine what type of paint is best for specific areas of your home. On average, enamel paint is a more versatile product than latex paint. Furthermore, you should consider how you use the paint and the type of paint that may be best for your project.

FAQs On Enamel vs Latex Paint

How is acrylic latex vs acrylic enamel the same?

Enamel vs latex vs acrylic

In contrast to Enamel paint, acrylic paint is completely non-toxic and water-based. A water-based acrylic paint called “acrylic enamel” or “acrylic latex enamel” is highly durable. These paints do not contain natural latex. Also, they have a semi-gloss or gloss sheen which is used on trims, doors, and windows.

Does enamel paint work well on wood?

When we compared enamel vs latex for wood, you can easily apply enamel paint on wood. It allows the surface to last longer, which is great for places like stairways, porches, wooden patios, and decks. Furthermore, it provides a non-slip surface for tables and chairs, easily cleaned.

Is latex paint suitable for wood?

It is relatively easy to paint furnishings with latex paint. A simple latex paint that you find at home stores is usually fine for painting wood furniture.

Is enamel paint suitable for painting furniture?

For enamel vs latex furniture, enamel paints are efficient and offer many advantages. This type of coating is ideal for painting surfaces for outdoor use. You can apply enamel paint to wood to give it a hard, glossy, and durable finish that will last for years.

Is it better to use enamel or latex paint?

In general, enamel paint is more durable than latex paint under the appropriate conditions. Enamel paints are designed to dry hard and are more durable for outdoor use because of the fluctuating temperatures and climates.

Is latex enamel suitable for cabinets?

Comparing enamel vs latex for cabinets, both paint types will produce excellent results. Acrylic latex is the paint of choice for cabinets. Acrylic latex paints are more durable and adhere better than vinyl acrylic paints. However, using enamel instead of wall paint on your kitchen cabinets will provide you with a durable and long-lasting finish.

Is enamel paint latex?

In general, enamel paint differs from latex paint mainly because of its paint base. The paint used on latex is water-based, while that on enamel is oil-based. These enamel or oil-based paints sometimes referred to as hard-surface paints dry slowly, but harden into a hard coating, which makes them suitable for hard surfaces.

Meet Your Hola Paints Author

Jennifer is an experienced professional working with paint sprayers, painting tools, and other supplies. She provides valuable painting tips for visitors according to her experience.