Painting interior walls

Old 10-03-00, 12:16 PM
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We have just recently moved, and I am wanting to re-paint the rooms of our house. Unfortunately, most of them have been painted with 'enamel' paint (we live in Africa, so I don't know if this paint is called by any other name anywhere else!!!!). Can I paint over this, or must I remove it. If I need to remove, what is the simplest and most cost effective way of doing this?
Old 10-03-00, 05:26 PM
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No need to remove the paint, if it is an oil based enamel then you can go back with the same or if you are wanting to use latex over oil based, use a quality oil based primer then 2 coats of quality latex. Make sure your walls are clean and free of any oil or grease before you start.
Old 10-04-00, 07:13 AM
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The easiest way I know of to tell if a paint is latex or oil based is to try cleaning it off with some nail polish remover. Years ago, nail polish remover consisted of a mix of acetone and isopropyl alchohol, and the acetone in it cut through latex paint like a hot knife through butter. Nowadays, nail polish remover is amyl acetate, and it doesn't cut through latex as well as acetone, but it still will remove it much faster than an oil based paint.

I've tried a number of times to pin down exactly what is meant by the term "enamel" on a can of paint. The knowledgeable people I've talked to so far tell me that it's most often used in association with oil based paints, but not necessarily, and the most accurate translation they can come up with is "this paint dries harder than our regular paint". If a company puts the word "enamel" on all of their oil based paints, then the translation changes to "Buy our paint!".

If anyone else out there knows exactly what the difference between an enamel and a non-enamel paint is, please post.
Old 10-04-00, 08:27 PM
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You could also rub it with Goof-Off (found at paint and hardware stores), it will take off latex and won't touch oil based paint.

Enamels are mostly thought of as oil, but now you can get latex enamel also, I am not sure what the exact difference is in enamel paints are but I did look up the definitions:

Main Entry: 1 enam·el
Pronunciation: i-'na-m&l
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): -eled or -elled; -el·ing or enam·el·ling /-'nam-li[ng], -'na-m&-/
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French enamailler, from en- + esmail enamel, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German smelzan to melt -- more at SMELT
Date: 14th century
1 : to cover, inlay, or decorate with enamel
2 : to beautify with a colorful surface
3 : to form a glossy surface on (as paper, leather, or cloth)

Main Entry: 2 enamel
Function: noun
Date: 15th century
1 : a usually opaque vitreous composition applied by fusion to the surface of metal, glass, or pottery
2 : a surface or outer covering that resembles enamel
3 a : something that is enameled b : ENAMELWARE
4 : a cosmetic intended to give a smooth or glossy appearance
5 : a hard calcareous substance that forms a thin layer capping the teeth -- see TOOTH illustration
6 : a paint that flows out to a smooth coat when applied and that dries with a glossy appearance

I think it is called enamel because it dries to a hard enamel like finish, if applied properly.


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