Difference Between Lacquer and Enamel (With Table)

Surface finishing is done to protect the object from environmental factors. Surface coats reduce the contact of environmental agents such as moisture, dust, molds onto the surface of the object that coating has been applied to. But different surface finishes produce different results on the surface of the object, in terms of appearance.

Lacquer vs Enamel

The main difference between Lacquer and Enamel is that Lacquer is a coating solution, whereas Enamel is a paint meant for coloring. Lacquer is a clear coating solution that produces a glossy, matte, or resinous effect on the surface of the object. Enamel is an oil-based paint that is used to provide a hard and durable coat, for preserving the surface of the object.

Lacquer is a coating solution that is used primarily used in the automobile and furniture industries. The main objective of using lacquer is to provide a highly shiny and glossy coat on the surface of the wood or any object that is being coated. Lacquer is not a durable substance, and it is only used for its appearance.

Enamel is a hard surface coating paint, which is durable and provides a hard surface finish on the object, to prevent it from environmental degradation. Enamel paints are used on walls and metallic surfaces, as well as for coating automobiles. Enamel paints are available in different shades with different surface finish styles.

Comparison Table Between Lacquer and Enamel

Parameters of ComparisonLacquerEnamel
DefinitionLacquer is a coating solution that is primarily used to give a shiny coating to surfacesEnamel is a hard paint solution that is used for coloring as well as to give a hard coating on the surface
DurabilityLacquer is not durable and long-lastingEnamel is a durable and long-lasting coating
Drying timeLacquer dries very quickly, right after applicationEnamel takes a longer time to dry
ThinnerSpecific lacquer thinners are usedSpirits are used as thinner agents while applying enamel
DefectionsLacquer develops bubbles if not applied properlyEnamel does not have such bubble formation

What is Lacquer?

Lacquer is a clear coating solution that is used to give a thin, shiny surface coat on objects. It is primarily used in the automobile and furniture industry. For applying lacquer, lacquer thinner is used. The general purpose of lacquer is to make a highly shiny surface coat on furniture and metallic surfaces. Lacquer dries very quickly, right after application. Although lacquer can produce a shiny coat, it is not very durable. Lacquer coat degrades quickly, as compared to other coating substances such as enamel paints.

Thus lacquer is primarily used for the appearance that it provides. Another drawback of using lacquer is that if the coating is not applied properly, lacquer tends to form bubbles on the surface. Hence it is important to use the right lacquer thinner and to apply it properly on the surface. Lacquer is also more expensive than other surface coating substances.

These days, lacquer is mostly used by furniture manufacturers and it is rarely used in modern automobiles, as newer and better surface coating agents provide better surface protection than lacquer. To preserve the lacquer coating, constant buffing and waxing are required, as the moisture and water droplets present in the environment can degrade the lacquer surface quickly.

What is Enamel?

Enamel is a paint solution that is used both for colouring the surface of an object as well as to provide a hard and protective surface coating. It is used for its durability. Traditionally enamel was made by using an oil base with pigments and other substances to provide a glossy finish to the metallic surface.

These days enamel is can be water or latex-based, depending on the type of finish that is desired. Enamel forms a hard and glossy finish after it is dried which is durable. Hence enamel is used extensively by artists to preserve their work and to give a glossy coating. Enamel paints can also be washed without degrading the surface finish.

Before applying the enamel coat, spirits are used as thinner agents for thinning the paint. Another benefit of using enamel is that, as compared to the lacquer, it does not lead to the formation of bubbles on the surface of objects. Enamel paints are also less expensive as compared to other surface coating solutions. It is used extensively in the metal products manufacturing and automobile manufacturing industries due to its long-lasting and durable nature. It is also highly resistive against moisture and hence kitchens and bathrooms are painted using enamel paints.

Main Differences Between Lacquer and Enamel

  1. Lacquer is a clear coat that is primarily used to give a shiny coating to surfaces. Enamel is a hard paint solution that is used both for coloring as well as to give a protective coating to surfaces.
  2. Lacquer is not durable and long-lasting. Enamel is very durable.
  3. Lacquer dries very quickly, right after application. Enamel takes longer to dry completely.
  4. Before application of lacquer, lacquer thinner must be used. In case of enamels, spirits are used as thinners.
  5. If the lacquer is not properly applied onto the surface, it leads to formation of bubbles on the surface. Enamel paint does not lead to any bubble formation on the surface of objects.

Conclusion

Surface coating is a very important prevention of object surfaces. The coating protects the surface by creating a layer on top of the actual surface to keep atmospheric agents such as dust, water droplets from contacting the surface.

Many substances can be used as surface coatings, and depending on the results desired, using the right coating is essential.

Lacquer gives a highly shiny and glossy finish on surfaces. Hence it is used mainly on furniture because of the appearance that it provides. But it is not durable and long-lasting.

Enamel on the other hand is very durable. It forms a hard and protective layer on the surface of objects. Hence enamel is used where surface protection is the main objective.

References

  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=rp5JklFUpacC&oi=fnd&pg=PR11&dq=lacquer&ots=7IMgjd3ki8&sig=4MKau-YHb2MhETjcj4vAAlg81yE
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030094400400164X
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935109001315
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969806X16300573
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