Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

March, 2009

Polyurethane Enamel vs. Acrylic Enamel

Q. What is the difference? Will I still get a glossy showroom finish using the poly.? Is it as easy to spray as acrylic enamel?

A. Depending on the polyurethane you use, you will certainly get a showroom quality finish. Most high quality automotive finishes are polyurethanes, and you can experiment by purchasing some from an automotive paint store in your local area. High quality decorative polyurethanes are two-component, whereas acrylics are single component. The difference in packaging and the higher cost for the polyurethanes are the most important differences. Another factor that should not deter you is the need to wear proper protective equipment, much like you should do anyway when using an acrylic. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's health and safety recommendations. Frankly, you should already be protecting yourself and/or your painters when using acrylics.


Ron Joseph

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