Can Enamel Paint Be Used On Wood? (How-To)

Enamel paint can be used on wood. It provides the wooden surface a hard, glossy, and durable finish. Enamel paints work very well on the furniture, and they form an easy-to-clean layer over the surface.

Enamel paints form a firm and durable finish when they get dried. Enamel paints are considered the best option to paint things that will be exposed to weather conditions. Professionals use it on most used surfaces like outdoor furniture, moldings, stairs, gates, etc.

Enamel paints are also being applied on wooden surfaces for a very long time. Enamel paints provide a smooth, shiny, and rigid finish to wooden surfaces. They also protect the wood from getting exposed to moisture which results in the long life of the wooden surface.

How Long Does Enamel Paint Last On Wood?

Enamel paints can last for many years on wooden surfaces if applied properly. The durability of enamel also depends on the conditions where the surfaces are placed. Veneers placed in the shade can last longer than surfaces placed outdoors.

Painting your wood surfaces with enamel paints can be a good investment for many seasons. Enamel paint is more durable than other types of paint, and it is also easier to maintain. You can clean stains or dirt from enamel-painted surfaces easily with water. It will protect from water damages as it creates a waterproof layer over the surface.

However, the interior surfaces can hold enamel paints for a comparatively longer duration. That’s because they don’t come in contact with environmental changes.

The surfaces placed outside are exposed to weather conditions, and with due course of time, the enamel paint becomes harder and eventually gets cracks in the surface. Exposure to heat causes the hardening of enamel paint.

Also, low maintenance of outdoor surfaces can lead to the short life of enamel paints. So, it is mandatory to clean the paint at regular intervals properly. And, if there is any chipping-off portion on the surface, repaint the patch properly so that it doesn’t get extended.

Related Read: Can You Use Metal Paint on Wood?

Can Enamel Paint Be Used On Varnished Wood?

Yes, enamel paint can be used on varnished wood as long as you are doing it in the proper painting process. It is better to prep the varnished wooden surface before putting enamel over it to ensure longer durability.

Enamel paint is thick paint with high adhesion properties and can stick to several surfaces pretty easily. But prepping the surface is always beneficial for the surface. Preparing the surface will allow the enamel paint to adhere better over the varnish already applied to the wood.

Therefore, if you have any old wood surface with varnish, don’t directly put enamel paint over it. Prep the surface first by lightly sanding it with the help of 220-grit sandpaper.

Then clean the surface and make sure there is no residue of sanding remains; otherwise, it will affect the paint. After that, apply a fine layer of primer over the surface to make it gummier. After the primer gets completely dry, start painting the surface with evenly spread coats of enamel over it.

Avoid painting thick coats of enamel paint as it can cause dripping of the paint and can cause a wavy surface or formations of air bubbles. Always be cautious while painting and keep the process slow and steady to get good results.

How To Apply Enamel Paint To Wood?

Applying enamel paint over the wooden surface can be tricky if you don’t follow the proper process of doing it. Some people don’t prefer to prep the surface, which causes less durability of enamel paint.

1. Sand The Wood

Before applying enamel to wood, you have to sand the wood surface.

To achieve the perfect, professional, polished finish on your furniture pieces, you’ll need to sand them in close detail. Start with sanding off any ridges or uneven elevations by using fine-grit sandpaper. This will smooth out the edges and give a nice creased look once it is finished.

After sanding off the surface, make sure there is no debris or sanding dust present on the surface. Clean the surface using a microfiber tack rag.

2. Apply Primer On The Wooden Surface

Apply primer to the wooden surface so the enamel paint can stick better.

Applying primer over the wooden surface as a base coat is another crucial step. Primer prepares the surfaces for enamel topcoats.

A coat of primer will remove the cracks and imperfections on the wooden surface, providing enamel a uniform and smooth base to stick to.

Primer also increases the adhesion strength of the enamel paint. Also, apply a lighter shade or the same shade of primer under enamel to avoid any discoloration.

Related Read: Does Enamel Paint Need Primer?

3. Sand and Clean The Primer

Clean and clean the primer

Lightly sand the surface again to remove any imperfection from the primer coat. Then do remove the dust from the surface properly with a microfibre cloth.

4. Apply The Enamel Paint

Apply the enamel paint.

Choose a good quality paint brush and start applying even and thin coats of enamel paint over the surface. Don’t dip the brush too much into the paint to avoid thick coats.

Let the first layer dry, sand it lightly, and then apply the subsequent coats over it. Mostly, two to three layers of enamel paints are enough to get a perfect finish.

Can You Use Metal Enamel Paint On Wood?

Metal enamel paint is a wonderful product that can be used on many surfaces. It’s great for outdoor projects, but it’s also perfect for painting wood furniture inside your home. The key to success with metal enamel paint is preparation and following the proper procedure to get good results.

The composition of metal enamel paint is identical to standard enamel paint. Except, it has additional rust protection additives.

This additive protects the metal surface from getting oxidized. Moreover, the additive doesn’t cause any harm to the wooden surface; it works properly and sticks to it properly.

However, you still need to prepare the wood first to apply this enamel on the surface. By following the proper sanding procedure, using a layer of primer, and then again sanding lightly, you can make the wooden surface ready for metal enamel paint application. The application process of enamel paint is the same as that of the standard enamel paint.

Also, it is advisable to apply the metal enamel in a well-ventilated area so that it can dry properly and provide a smooth and shiny finish.

Related Read: Can You Apply Enamel Over Latex Paint?

Can I Use Oil-Based Enamel Paint On Wood?

Oil-based enamel is best for wood surfaces. Being used for a long time, they have proven durable and functional in different weather conditions. It also provides an excellent finish on wood surfaces with its glossy coating. Unlike water-based paints, it has excellent durability and doesn’t chip easily.

In the category of enamels, oil-based enamels have a proven history of providing the best results when it comes to durability and final finish. Oil-based paint has better adhesion properties compared to water-based or spray-able enamels.

Earlier, the oil-based enamels used to take almost a day or two to dry completely. But now, with some developments, companies can make quick dry oil-based enamel paints. The new paints get dry quickly within two to three hours, and it provides a much better drying time if exposed to air.

Additionally, when oil-based paints get completely dry, they provide a much harder finish than other types of enamels. Once the paint is appropriately hardened, it can last up to many years. Oil-based enamels are resistant to mildew.

If it gets stained by mistake, you can wash it off with water to remove the stains marks. These properties of oil-based enamels make it a perfect choice for applying over surfaces that are under heavy usage like cabinets, stairs, kitchen, living room products, doors, etc.

However, oil-based enamels still have one major downside, the presence of VOCs in excessive amounts. Its odor can be very irritating and harmful sometimes. So, always take precautionary measures while working on any project.

Related Read: Can You Use Enamel Paint on Plastic?


Enamels are an excellent choice if you’re looking for durability and protection. They have a nearly perfect finish, so they can be used to paint over almost any surface, whether wood, metal, glass, or plastic. Additionally, their high adhesion properties mean that enamels won’t chip or peel off easily as other paints might do.

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