Difference Between Lacquer and Enamel

Surface finishing is done to protect the object from environmental factors. Surface coats reduce the contact of environmental agents such as moisture, dust, and moulds onto the surface of the object to which the coating has been applied to.


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But different surface finishes produce different results on the surface of the object in terms of appearance.

Lacquer vs Enamel

The difference between Lacquer and Enamel is that Lacquer is a coating solution, whereas Enamel is a paint meant for colouring. 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 vs Enamel

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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 wood’s surface or any object being coated.

Lacquer is not a durable substance, and it is only used for its appearance.

Enamel is a durable hard surface coating paint that provides a hard surface finish on the object to prevent environmental degradation.

Enamel paints are used on walls and metallic surfaces and for coating automobiles. Enamel paints are available in different shades with different surface finish styles.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonLacquerEnamel
DefinitionLacquer is a coating solution primarily used to give a shiny surface coating.Enamel is a hard-paint solution used for colouring and 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 used to give objects a thin, shiny surface coat. 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 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 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 in the environment can quickly degrade the lacquer surface.


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, artists use enamel extensively to preserve their work and 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 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 resistant to moisture, so kitchens and bathrooms are painted using enamel paints.


Main Differences Between Lacquer and Enamel

  1. Lacquer is a clear coat primarily used to give a shiny surface coating. Enamel is a hard paint solution that is used both for colouring 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 the application of lacquer, lacquer thinner must be used. In the case of enamels, spirits are used as thinners.
  5. If the lacquer is not properly applied onto the surface, it forms bubbles on the surface. Enamel paint does not lead to any bubble formation on the surface of objects.
Difference Between Lacquer and Enamel
  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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