Enamel is oil based paint which dries to a hard, durable finish, and has an even or smooth look to it when it dries. All oil based paints are not referred to as enamel paint, though most enamel paint is oil based paint.

Paint thinner is used to clean enamel paint, but extenders like Penetrol are recommended to extend the paint, making it thinner and more workable. There are some paints which nowadays are called latex enamel, but strictly speaking enamel paint is oil based.

Latex enamel paints are designed to mimic the qualities of oil based enamel paints, but as of yet, there is no latex enamel paint which performs as well as oil based enamel paint.

Finishes of Enamel Paint

Enamel paint comes in a number of finishes. Eggshell finish doesn’t have to do with an eggshell color, but rather the amount of shine. In eggshell enamel, the shine is roughly equivalent to the shine of an eggshell, low luster sheen.

Next is satin sheen enamel, which is used often for door frames and windows. Semi-gloss enamel has a higher sheen and is sometimes used on cabinets or furniture. High gloss is the highest sheen enamel.