Enamel


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Old 10-26-06, 03:05 PM
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Enamel

The other day I was discussing paint on a thread and enamel came up. This led me to thinking, just what is enamel. It is on nearly all of the paint cans I sell. I asked my customers and coworkers only to receive a variety of answers. I finally determined what answer I think is and now pose the question to all of you.

So what is your definition of enamel?

Keep in mind that both latex and oil paints have “enamel” on the label. Furthermore, these paints come in an array of sheens.
 
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Old 10-26-06, 07:38 PM
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I don't know the technical answer but I have always considered enamel to be a harder and more washable coating than regular flat paint.
 
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Old 10-26-06, 07:54 PM
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but many flat paints have enamel on the label.
 
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Old 10-26-06, 08:11 PM
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Yes but unless things have changed recently, the majority of the flat paints aren't enamel. I know some of the higher priced flats are classified as a flat enamel.
 
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Old 10-27-06, 05:05 AM
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After talking with my coworkers and customers we determined that enamel means nothing. enamel is nothing more then a marketing term. it used to mean a hard durrable finish, now it is put on all paints that are considered to marketed as a washable coating.
 
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Old 10-27-06, 05:26 AM
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Enamel paint is a paint that usually dries to a hard, often glossy, finish.
 
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Old 10-27-06, 05:58 AM
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For more:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enamel_paint
 
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Old 10-27-06, 12:14 PM
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But everyone here can go to a paint store or box store and find half a dozen choices that do not fit the deffinition "hard, usually glossy, finish." Further, we must then define "hard," at least reltive to some other coating. If we go with wikipedia's deffiniation, which includes "...paint brands of higher quality..." how can lower end products be considered enamels. Yet their labels claim they are. and, if it is to imply that the coating "...has the same properties as true, fired vitreous enamel." then is that not getting back to the idea that enamel no longer has any relevance to the performance of a coating?
 
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Old 10-27-06, 07:39 PM
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The use of the word 'enamel' in the paint industry is a matter of semantics--how meaning in language is created by the use and interrelationships of words. It does not mean that the 'hard glossy finish' has the same properties as kiln-fired vitreous enamel. That is where the marketers borrowed the word to help sell paint.

Enamels have more resin solids, which give enamel sheen and toughness. The higher the quality the paint, the more resin content and vice versa. The greater the amount of resin, the higher the sheen or gloss. It's resin that defines the paint as an enamel.

Another case in point, the expression 'tough as nails' in the paint and coating industry has nothing to do with construction nails. The implications to have a product that is as tough as a nail, which can hold up a building, appeals to the sense of the end user of the product.
 
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Old 10-28-06, 01:18 AM
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The little universe of paint is filled with misnomers, anachronisms, marketing hype, and simply misleading labels. "Enamel" is just a word that I ignore since it's use is inconsistent and it was only an analogy to begin with. With all the paint company blather, CR silliness, and good old paint paranoia, finding out what finishs are and how they perform is like tracking down tribal lore. Thankfully we have the internet where a number of real craftsmen discuss products and techniques.
 
 

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