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Latex Enamel Paint: Pros, Cons & When to Use It

Latex Enamel Paint: Pros, Cons & When to Use It

The paint quality of your home’s interior and exterior surfaces plays a significant role in its aesthetic appeal and real estate market value.

So, it is important to choose high-quality paint for your home, especially if you are looking to sell it.

Latex enamel paint is one of the best types of paint you can buy because it offers the best qualities of enamel paint, which is oil-based, and latex paint, which is water-based.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about latex enamel paint.

What is Latex Enamel Paint?

Latex enamel paint on a paint brush in a man's hand

Olya Maximenko/Shutterstock

Latex enamel paint is basically a combination of latex and enamel paint. It offers a shiny, acrylic, and waterproof look, thanks to the enamel oil-based paint.

It also dries quickly because it contains latex. To understand the benefits of this paint, let’s take a closer look at latex and enamel paint.

What Is Enamel Paint?

Enamel is an oil-based paint that is known to dry slowly but gives a glossy, hard, or long-lasting finish, making it ideal for hard surfaces.

It came into the spotlight in the mid-1800s, when paints that would easily smudge off were the only ones available.

Since it offers a hard shell-like finish, enamel paint is more resistant to scratches, stains, and fingerprints, making it suitable for high-traffic areas such as doors.

Its waterproof nature also makes it ideal for high-moisture spaces, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Although it may lose its shine over time, enamel paint can withstand fluctuating climate conditions, making it perfect for outdoor surfaces.

Besides, oil-based paints will cover any surface quite thoroughly, even with one coat, giving you a smoother finish. However, handle enamel paint with care because its fumes can cause health issues when you inhale them.

What Is Latex Paint?

Latex paint is water-based, meaning that it contains soluble bases. For starters, this type of paint is environment-friendly because it can be disposed of like regular waste.

Since it spreads easily, latex paint doesn’t crack or chip off easily when dry. It also has a quick drying time and doesn’t have a strong odor.

Unlike oil-based enamel paint, you can remove latex paint from paintbrushes with just soap and water.

Advantages of Latex Enamel Paint

Guy using latex enamel paint on a cabinet

Benoit Daoust/Shutterstock

Now that we’ve looked at enamel and latex paint, let’s explore the advantages of latex enamel paint.

It Is Eco-Friendly

The soluble bases present in latex enamel paint allow you to dispose of it as normal waste. It also doesn’t contain a lot of chemicals that produce harmful paint fumes, enabling you to use it on your interior surfaces.

It’s Long-Lasting

Since it contains oil-based enamel paint, it can withstand harsh weather conditions. What’s more, surfaces with latex enamel paint are easy to clean without the paint coming off.

It Doesn’t Require Paint Primer

Thanks to the glossy, hard finish of latex enamel paint, you will be able to achieve a perfect paint job without using paint primer.

This ideal paint combination also spreads easily and offers a smooth finish with just a few coats without a paint primer.

Choosing the Right Latex Enamel Paint

Various swatches of latex enamel paint on a desk


Although latex enamel paint gives the best of both enamel and latex paints, there are still a couple of things to consider when selecting the best ones for your property.

The Paint Color

It may seem like a simple decision, but your choice of paint colors for your home significantly affects its overall value.

What’s more, it might also determine how comfortable your home will be. Here are a couple of tips on how to choose the right paint colors for your home.

Choose a Color That Blends Well With Your Home Furniture

As we mentioned earlier, when selecting paint colors for your house, the goal is to go for those that make you feel comfortable.

One way to do so is to go for those that blend seamlessly with your furniture and other items in your home.

It is recommended to select at least three pieces of furniture with different colors. Then, when in the paint store, pick the sample strips with those colors.

With these sample strips, you’ll have about 15 to 18 different colors (since one strip has approximately six paint colors) that blend well with your furniture.

Go With Neutral Colors For Your Walls

You might be skeptical about this if you love bold colors. However, there are many advantages to choosing neutral paint colors for your walls:

  • Neutral-colored walls accentuate the design and colors of your furniture and other accessories
  • If your walls have neutral paint colors, you can easily change the design and color pattern of your accessories without ruining your home’s entire design
  • Neutral-colored walls are perfect if you have kids because they hide dirt and stains quite well

Consider the Natural Lighting in Your Home

Natural lighting is another major factor that affects how the paint colors in your home look. Let’s see how to select the perfect color for your interior spaces based on natural lighting.

South-Facing Rooms

These rooms tend to have a warm yellow-white light because they receive a lot of sunlight during the day.

Although most colors look great in these rooms, it is advisable to go for cooler paint colors since they balance well with the natural yellow-white lighting.

North-Facing Rooms

Rooms that face northwards do not receive as much sunlight during the day; therefore, they will have cooler blue or grey lighting.

Warmer paint colors are suitable for these rooms because they “light up” the atmosphere inside.

East or West-Facing Rooms

These rooms will either have cool or warm natural lighting, depending on the time of the day. You can use warm or cool colors or blend them to ensure the room looks great regardless of the time.

The Gloss

Gloss is simply about the shininess of a paint. It is basically how much light is reflected from a painted surface.

While a paint’s gloss is something many people do not think about, it plays a crucial role in the overall look of your property.

Like any other type of paint, latex enamel paint can be categorized as either high or low gloss.

There are several factors that determine whether you should use low-gloss paint or high-gloss paint. Read on to know when you should use high or low gloss color.

When to Use High Gloss Paint

This type of paint works well on perfect surfaces without cracks, stubborn stains, and other damages.

Using high gloss paint in your living room or dining room walls can be a great way to elevate your home’s entire look, especially if you want to sell it.

The shininess of the walls in these rooms will no doubt attract a ton of potential buyers. You can also use this kind of paint in rooms with low lighting to make them look more lively and warmer.

It is also recommendable to use it in high-traffic spaces where people often touch the walls such as the bathroom or your child’s room. This is because high-gloss paint is easy to clean and maintain.

When to Use Low Gloss Paint

Low gloss paint is suitable for spaces with a lot of light as it prevents the walls from having excessive glare or too much reflection.

It is also ideal for areas that do not get much attention, such as the ceilings.

If you have walls with imperfections like stains and cracks, you might also want to consider using low gloss paint since it makes them less visible.

The Amount of Volatile Organic Compounds in the Paint

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that preserve the paint while in the can.

They also enable it to flow easily, allowing you to remove it from the can and paint it on your surface. However, these chemicals evaporate quickly, forming harmful fumes.

If possible, go for a latex enamel paint with low (about 50 grams of VOCs per liter) or zero VOC content (about 5 grams of VOCs per liter).

This will allow you comfortably use it either on indoor or outdoor surfaces without being uncomfortable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Guy pouring latex enamel paint into a roller tray


Is Latex Enamel Paint Waterproof?

Yes, it is waterproof because it contains an oil base from enamel paint.

Where Do You Apply Latex Enamel Paint?

You can apply it almost on any surface since it spreads easily and has a hard, shiny finish.

How Do You Use Latex Enamel Paint?

If you want to use latex and enamel paint together, it is advisable first to apply enamel paint, then follow up with a paint primer and then apply the latex paint.

The primer will enable the enamel and latex paint to bond perfectly. However, for a more flawless paint job, it is best that you use latex enamel combination paint.

Final Word

Latex enamel paint has become one of the most sought-after types of paint because it brings out the best features of both enamel and latex paint.

But before embarking on painting your property, it is essential to seek help from a professional.

An expert will pick out the right type of paint based on the kind of surfaces you have, and the overall look of your home, among other key factors.