Water Based Enamels (Acrylic Enamels)

Solvent Based Enamels (Oil or Turps based Alkyds)

Application & Handling Properties

  • Non flammable
  • Lower odour
  • Reduced volatile organic compounds (VOC)
  • Clean up with water
  • More tolerant of damp surfaces
  • Usually touch dry in 20-30 minutes
  • Usually recoatable in 2 hours
  • Contains flammable solvents
  • Strong odour due to solvent fumes
  • High level of volatile organic compounds (VOC)
  • Clean up with mineral turps
  • Surface needs to be completely dry
  • Usually touch dry in 6-8 hours
  • Usually recoatable in 16 hours

Interior Use Properties

  • Non yellowing
  • Gloss and semi-gloss sheen levels
  • Not able to produce a brilliant gloss or as smooth a finish
  • Full range of colours
  • Not always suitable for harsh treatment areas
  • Not suitable for all window frames (blocking or sticking can occur)
  • Tends to yellow in absence of UV
  • Full gloss and semi-gloss sheen levels
  • Able to produce a brilliant gloss and very smooth finish
  • Restricted colour range
  • Excellent resistance to wear & tear (harder and more abrasion resistant)
  • Generally suitable on all window types or frames (non-sticking)

Exterior Use Properties

  • More flexible hence more able to cope with substrate expansion and contraction
  • Retains its sheen level well over extended periods of time in UV
  • Excellent UV durability (good for exterior timber) (better resistance against chalking & colour fade)
  • Less flexible and becomes harder and more brittle with age (not good for exterior timber due to cracking)
  • Not capable of retaining its initial sheen level over time in UV
  • Poor UV durability (becomes chalky and more faded in short time frame)

General Use Properties

  • Excellent for use on masonry due to resistance to alkalis
  • Resistant to alkalis in zinc-rich metals
  • Not resistant to alkalis present in masonry (paint will lose adhesion)
  • Not resistant to alkalis in zinc-rich metals

Note: A water-based enamel system is recommended where maximum exterior durability is the prime consideration. A solvent-based enamel system will provide greater resistance to wear and tear along with superior flow and levelling.

Related technical advice

Lead in paint

LEAD ALERT - lead is a health hazard so take it seriously! How to deal with old paint coatings containing lead.

Paint touch up

'Touch up' is the term most commonly used to describe the recoating of very small localized areas of a newly painted surface, in order to conceal repairs to minor damage or to cover up small surface defects...