Can You Clear Coat Over Enamel Paint? [Answered!]

Clear coat is a transparent protective film that is typically applied over a finished paint job to protect it from weathering, staining, and fading. Still, while handling an important paint job, it’s better to double-check the fact and be sure about it.

So, can you clear coat over enamel paint or is there a chance to get an unpleasant result?

Yes, you can. It’s even a great idea to get additional protection with the least preparation. But it’s a must to let the surface completely dry before you apply the clear coat. Otherwise, the grease or oil on the surface will cause a poor result. Also, make sure you use the same brand for clear coat and enamel paint so they blend well.

Worth mentioning, avoiding cleat coats having low-quality ingredients is also a must. Let’s scroll down to go in-depth into the topic. 

Can You Clear Coat Over Enamel Paint?

There is a lot of confusion surrounding clear coats and their proper use. Some people are convinced that a clear coat should be applied to every enamel paint project, while others claim that the care and maintenance that needs to be done subsequently isn’t worth it. 

The truth is that clear coats can be applied to enamel paint, but you must match the brand or type of clear coat and enamel paint that you’re using for it to work. 

For example, you need to use an enamel clear coat over enamel, acrylic clear coat over acrylic, Rustoleum clear coat over Rustoleum enamel paint, and so on. 

Don’t apply lacquer clear coats over fresh enamel paint because the thinning agent in them may degrade the paint. Also, before applying a clear coat, make sure that the enamel paint is in good condition and has been properly cured. 

Is a Clear Coat Necessary for Every Enamel Paint Project?

There’s a lot of myths and facts surrounding clear coats, so it’s important to be aware of the truth before making a decision. Applying a clear coat is not always necessary for enamel paint. For instance, single-stage car enamel doesn’t need a clear coat. 

Enamel paint is often used by hobbyists and modelers as a way to spice up their work and increase its lifespan. The reflective index, type, and degree of gloss are all changed when a clear coat is applied to the appliance. 

By applying a clear coat, your car or appliance will stay shiny for longer. Since most clear coats don’t have pigments, it is rare for them to fade or become discoloured.

Can Clear Coatings Fail?

Clear coats don’t usually fade, but they can be dull if exposed to things like:

  • excessive UV rays
  • airborne pollutants
  • acid rain
  • bug splatter
  • bird droppings, etc.

Clear coats don’t withstand scratches much either. Cleaning with polishing compounds or abrasive rubbing can damage the finish. In addition, clear coating needs proper care and attention if it’s to look its best. If left untreated for long, they can fail.

It’s important to store your appliances in a cool, dry place and use the recommended clear coat products. Clear coating wears down slowly, but when it does, the aesthetic of your car or appliance will be badly impaired.

Price Point For Best Type Of Clear Coats

Depending on whether you need a clear coat for cars, home decor, or crafts there are different types and prices of clear coats available. If you need a clear coat to use on your crafts you should be looking to spend around $10. For sealing enamel paints on cars or furniture, look for a clear coat that is between $20 and $30. As you get more serious, there are also more expensive, niche specific clear coats on the market. 

Polyurethane Can Be an Alternative to Clear Coat 

There are a few polyurethane formulas that can be used on enamel paint. They usually work just as well as some of the cheaper clear coats. The formulas for these products are technically different, but the community often calls them all “clear coat.”

This can lead you to some confusion, as different formulas of polyurethane spray have similar names. Check the product description or manufacturer’s website to know which polyurethane is designed to produce cleaner end results. These are the ones that you can use as alternatives to clear coatings.

These polyurethane products are worth looking into if you only need clear coatings for a short period of time, for example, a year or two. They’re cheaper than standard clear coats, and this makes them more affordable. If the enamel paint you intend to put a clear coat on is fresh, be sure to let it dry for at least seven days before applying the polyurethane finish.

Applying Clear Coats Over Enamel Paint

Before applying a clear coat, it is important to allow the enamel paint to dry for at least a day, if not longer. If you don’t do that, it might ruin the finish, and you may not be pleased with the outcome. Since reducer vapors want to escape, clacks and bubbles can develop.

It’s also vital to keep an eye on the humidity. Clear coats can turn foggy if there is too much humidity in the air. The recommended temperature is 72°F to 75°F.

Step 1: Prep Work

The prep work is critical to getting a good paint job. Don’t shake if you’re using clear coats supplied in non-spray cans or jars, as this may create bubbles when applying, and degrade the finish. Gently stir for 2-3 minutes until all the ingredients are mixed properly. 

Step 2: First Coat

When spraying clear coats, make sure you do it 6 to 8 inches away from the paint surface. In addition, you need to do it in a long, smooth, and even pattern. Before trying to correct any faults, wait until the coat has dried. A painting sponge or paintbrush may be utilized to obtain a flawless finish with hand brushing. To prevent the development of texture, apply in one direction only, but make sure not to overlap.

Step 3: Finishing Coat

Generally, the number of clear coats required for enamel paint is three. Most painters recommend wet sanding the surface and then reapplying the clear coat if there are adherence problems. When sanding, be careful so that you don’t dig into the underlying paint, resulting in costly damage. When working with spray paints, it’s critical to use personal safety gear like masks and respirators.

Final Words

Like anything else, clear coatings over enamel comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Hopefully, by reading all the above information you’ve got a clear understanding of the topic and are able to make an informed decision for your specific type of project.

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