Background: a large steel door at our office was recently painted with an oil-based paint, and we spent the day suffering through the fumes that permeated practically every space in the building.

What are the advantages of using oil-based paint over a zero-VOC latex enamel? Does it key better to steel (the door was primed; I'm not sure with what)? Is it more durable? What other advantages does it have over other options?

  • 7
    They should have removed the door, and painted it in an unoccupied area.
    – Tester101
    Nov 9, 2011 at 18:28
  • 7
    Is this a question or just a rant? Nov 9, 2011 at 18:44
  • 1
    Well, it's kind of both. I honestly didn't know why latex wouldn't be acceptable, but the tone of the post was definitely influenced by the headache induced by the solvent fumes. Anyway, I have my answer; latex won't stick to metal properly, AND the oil enamel will be more durable. Wish I could give them both the check.
    – KeithS
    Nov 9, 2011 at 19:49
  • 1
    @KeithS I removed the rant portion of the question to try to save it (it's got a few close votes right now). If you disagree, feel free to roll back my change.
    – BMitch
    Nov 10, 2011 at 14:29

2 Answers 2


Enamel paints hold better, are MUCH harder than latex, and will stand up to a lot more abuse. You can also use harsher cleaning methods on them.


Latex paints won't bond properly to metal, it will flake, peel, and bubble off.

  • Understand that I only didn't give you the check because you already have 11k rep; gotta support the newer guys who also know stuff. :)
    – KeithS
    Nov 9, 2011 at 19:50
  • 4
    Now ain't that the wrong reason :/
    – Konerak
    Dec 2, 2011 at 18:28
  • 3
    Social justice has made its way to stackexchange...
    – RQDQ
    Feb 9, 2012 at 21:07

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