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FAQ-Sherwin Williams 

Q: Which is better: enamels, latexes, or oils?


A: Enamel is a broad classification for finishing materials that dry to a smooth finish. In the past this term referred exclusively to oil based products, however, new generation latex products are also at times referred to as enamels. Because of these factors, enamel as a paint term has become somewhat ambiguous. Oil based products are those products that typically are composed of pigments dissolved in a mineral spirit such as paint thinner, while latex products are an emulsion suspended in water. The obvious differences are that oil based products require mineral spirits for clean up, have a longer dry time, and have a stronger odor while drying to a harder finish. Latex products typically will dry faster and clean up with water. Oil based products are used primarily where a harder finish is required, however, today's improved latex products have allowed for the substitution of latex in nearly all scenarios that had traditionally called for an oil based material.

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