Paint and enamel finish for interior doors—what’s the difference?

Not all paint is the same. There are many different types of paint, each for different surfaces. For example, cars can not be painted with wall paint because the paint is not meant to be applied to their surface.

Different brands manufacture different varieties of paint, which are tailored to suit various materials. Each paint type requires its own set of techniques and tools.

Doors usually have to endure a lot of wear and tear, and so a durable paint finish with a semi-gloss or gloss sheen works best for them. Semi-gloss finishes are also much easier to clean and tolerate cleaners well.

DoorDesignLab has a wide range of factory-made doors that come with a durable urethane semi-gloss enamel finish.


Paint is an umbrella term that generally refers to any colored liquid, liquefiable, or solid mastic mixture that solidifies or forms a thin coating when applied. Paint is usually used to give an object color and texture and to protect the outside surface.


Enamel is another broad term used for acrylic, oil, or latex-based materials that have a smooth, hard, and washable finish when fully dried. Previously, the term was used to refer only to oil-based products.

New generation latex products, on the other hand, are sometimes referred to as enamels. As a result, the term enamel has become somewhat vague.

Oil-based enamel products mainly contain pigments that dissolve in a mineral spirit (like paint thinner), whereas latex enamel products are suspended in water and form an emulsion.

The main difference between the two varieties is that oil-based products dry to a hard finish, have a strong odor, take longer to dry, and need to be cleaned with mineral spirits. On the other hand, latex products typically have faster drying times and can be easily cleaned up with water.

Oil-based products are used to achieve a harder finish. However, thanks to technology and innovation, new latex products can be used in almost all applications that formerly required an oil-based material.

What is the difference between oil and latex enamel?

Both have their pros and cons.

Oil-based enamels are tougher, making them scratch-resistant but more prone to chipping than latex-based enamels.

If you want to paint your door white, latex is a good choice because it is long-lasting.

Oil enamel settles smoothly, leading to fewer brush marks, but it can be a bit runny as it has a thinner consistency.

Premium-quality latex paint is a great option that’s easy to clean without the risk of getting “rubbed off” and is also robust enough to prevent dirt and grime from getting embedded into the paint.

Latex is also more advisable for those who would like to change colors later.

The benefits of oil-based enamel paint are dwindling as manufacturers develop more wear-resistant latex paints. Doors become dirtier with time, requiring regular cleaning to maintain their appearance.

Soft Touch Enamel Coating

Soft-touch coatings offer a distinct feel, often known as a haptic effect. They are frequently used in vehicle interiors and consumer electronics, where manufacturers want to set their products apart from the competition by providing a luxurious appearance and feel.

Paint vs. Enamel

The key difference between paint and enamel is that paint is an umbrella term used to describe many different paint types, while enamel refers to a somewhat specific type of paint.

  • Enamel is a type of paint, while the word paint refers to a range of different paint types.
  • Enamels are mainly used for metal and wooden surfaces, while paint can be used for almost any material.
  • There are three types of Enamel, water-based, latex-based, and oil-based, while paint comes in a wide range of types like acrylic paint, cement paint, bituminous paint, aluminum paint, and others.
  • Enamels give a glossy finish. But the same can’t be said for paints as not all paint types provide a glossy finish.
  • Enamel can be washed off, but not all paint types are washable.

Paint companies design paint finishes exclusively for interior doors and trim. This paint finish is commonly known as semi-gloss. Gloss, or high gloss, refers to an even glossier finish.

Glossier finishes are easier to clean, and the risk of the paint surface getting scratched during clean-ups is low. Inside doors, like your furniture, are key components of your home; thus, dusting and cleaning them is essential. In addition, the inner doors deal with a lot of hand traffic. Therefore, they require frequent cleaning.

They can be wiped down with a sponge and mild detergent or just lightly ran over with a cloth.

When compared to paint, enamels are simpler to clean with simple cleaning agents such as soap and water.

The distinctions between enamel and paint are almost ignorable since enamel is a sort of paint. Because it works as a protective coating for the surface, the enamel is regarded as the ideal paint for materials such as wood and metal. Enamel has properties that not all paints have.

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