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Enamel over latex?

I'm refinishing a old (1942) dresser & need some help with the paint finish.

I want to use an enamel paint on it (Rust-olem) for the durability & smooth shiny finish. The dresser was previously painted with latex. I sanded it down & I'm not sure where to go next. All of the large areas are now bare wood, but there is some latex left in the details.

I tried a small amount of enamel on the bare wood & it didnt look right-clearly needs a primer. Can I use a latex primer then paint with the enamel? I just started a "test piece" with Zinsser primer but havent laid the enamel over it yet.

So, can I lay the enamel over latex primer? What about getting an enamel primer? Should I maybe not be looking at enamel & go another direction?

This is my 1st time attempting this so any help is appreciated! Thank you!

Re: Enamel over latex?


Oil enamel is definitely preferable for finishing furniture. Oil dries to a much harder, non-gummy finish than latex. Items placed on latex paint tend to stick to it. It will feel gummy to your touch also, especially when it is humid.

Generally, you can use oil primer under either oil or latex interior finishes. Latex primers are best used in conjunction with latex paints, not oil. Such generalities are even more important where exterior paints and primers are concerned due to the extremes in temperature a film expansion on exterior surfaces.

Oil interior primers are better on furniture because they sand well, leaving a very smooth,well sealed surface.

Re: Enamel over latex?

First off-
Surprising to 99% of people out there...the word "Enamel" doesn't mean a dang thing anymore! It USED to imply (30-50 years ago...) OIL-based paints, since that's all there was mostly!! Oils dried to a hard "like the Enamel on your teeth" finish. This is how advertising portrayed it for a looooonngg time.

Unfortunately, the "myth" of the magical "Enamel" paint ingredient still lingers!

But I digress....
Yes, use and sand (if needed) an Oil primer. Newer "Hybrid" door&trim paints, from FPE, Insl-X, C2, ACE, & others have the best properties of Alkyd & Latex-based paints. They level well, but require a longer (many hours) recoat time.


Re: Enamel over latex?

ordjen has it right. On furniture, durability, cleanability and longevity requires an oil-based enamel finish. When properly applied it even looks better. Even the best water-based products don't come close in this application though I recommend them for a lot of other places. Oil-based paint does tend to yellow slightly over time moreso than latex, but on vintage furniture this will make it look even better.


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