Enamel Vs Nitrocellulose (NC) Vs Melamine Vs Polyurethane (PU) Vs
Polyester Coatings/ Paint / Polish

The choice or painting/ coating or polishing of substrate (Wood or Metal etc) is mainly dependent on 4 factors - durability, finish, time and cost. Whether polishing/ coating or painting your doors, cabinets, frames, furniture, woodwork, grills, structures etc these four factors will play a vital role in decision making. Here are the major differences between the commonly used finishes/coatings/paints available in the market.

Enamel Paint / Polish/ Coating

Nitrocellulose (Nc) Paint / Polish/ Coating

Melamine Paint / Polish/ Coating

Polyurethane (Pu) Paint / Polish/ Coating

Waterbase Polyurethane (Pu) Paint/Polish/ Coating

Polyester Paint/ Polish/ Coating

Other Common Names (In India)



Synthetic Enamel, Oil Paint

NC paint, Duco paint, NC Lacquer polish, Nitrocellulose paint, Duco Polish,

Melamine matt polish, Melamine coating, Matt polish

PU paint, PU polish, 2K paint, PU coating, PU Acrylic paint polish, High Gloss Polish

Waterbase PU polish, Waterborne PU

Poylester lamination, Polyester polish, Lamination coating

Type



1 component - Single pack

1 component - Single pack

2 component - Lacquer + Hardener

2 component - Lacquer + Hardener

1 component - Single pack and also in 2 component - Lacquer + Hardener

3 component - Lacquer + Hardener + Accelerator

Major Brands



Asian Paints, Nerolac, Berger, Akzo Nobel (ICI), Shalimar.

Akzo Nobel (ICI), Nippon, Nerolac, Waverley Paints- Solo, Esdee Paints, Sheenlac and many other local players.

Asian Paints, Jivajor (Charmwood), MRF, Pidilite, Nerolac, Akzo Nobel (ICI) and many other local players.

Imported: Sirca, ICA, Milesi, PCG, Asian Paints - Renner, Kapci, Sherwin Williams etc. Indian: Asian Paints, Jivanjor, MRF, Akzo Nobel (ICI), Nerolac, Berger and many other local players.

ICA, Sirca, Asian Paints, MRF, Berger, Sherwin Williams and other local players.

ICA, Sirca, Asian Paints - Renner etc.

Finish



Glossy and Matt

Glossy, Satin and Matt

Glossy, Satin and Matt

Very High Gloss, Satin, Matt, Dead matt, Soft touch (velvet feel)

Glossy, Satin and Matt

Very High gloss

Applications




Interior & Exterior

Interior & Exterior

Interior

Best in class - Interior and Exterior. Acrylic based PU recommended for Exteriors

Interior & Exterior

Interior

Area Of Use



Wood, Metal & Wood based furniture & substrates.

Wood, Metal, Fibreboard & Wood based furniture & substrates.

Wood & Wood based furniture & substrates.

Wood, Glass, Metals, Plastic, Floorings, Wood based furniture & substrates, Various Industrial applications.

Wood & Wood based furniture & substrates.

Wood & Wood based furniture especially table tops and flat areas.

Drying Time



Slow - Long dry time

Fast - Quick drying

Moderate

Slow - Long dry time

Moderate

Slow - Long dry time

Scratch Resistance



Low

Low

High

High to very high

Moderate

Very High - Best in class

Washable



Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Cost (Approx Incl.Labor) On New Surface



Economical - Rs. 30 - 35 per sq. ft.

Moderate - Rs. 90 - 130 per sq. ft. depending upon the colour & finish required

Moderate - Rs. 80 - 110 per sq. ft. depending upon the colour & finish required

High - Rs. 130 - 240 per sq. ft. depending upon th finish required

High - Rs. 110 - 180 per sq. ft. depending upon th finish required

Very High - Rs. 300 per sq.ft. & above depending upon the thickness required.

How To Apply



Brush, Spray

Spray

Spray

Spray

Brush, Spray

Spray

Advantages



SYNTHETIC ENAMEL OR OIL PAINTS are: Economical, Easy to apply, Easy to repair, Water resistant, Ease of Recoat & touchup, Long pot life. Water based Enamels are also now available in the market which is better for our environment due to its low VOC & Low Odor.

NITROCELLULOSE OR NC LACQUER/PAINTS are: Quick drying & hardening time, Short recoating time, Relatively low cost, Easy to apply, Easy to repair, recoat & touchup, Available in variety of colours, Good clarity, Long pot life, Water resistant, Easy to strip, No formaldehyde release, Isocyanate free.

MELAMINE POLISH/COATINGS are: High solids - So film build is good, Very good stain, Water & Chemical resistance, Excellent adhesion, High Stain, Scratch/Abrasion resistance, Good resistance against heat/hot water - so hot cup /glass marks dosent affect the coating, Good clarity, Smooth finish.

POLYURETHANE (PU) POLISH/ PAINT/ COATINGS are: Best in class paint/Coating - High solids, provides Excellent flexibility, Varity of finishes can be achieved from dead matt to very high gloss smooth finish, High Protection against Ultraviolet (UV) rays & weathering (Non yellowing properties), Very good mechanical properties, High resistance against heat/hot water - so hot cup /glass marks dosent affect the coating, Excellent hardness & abrasion/ scratch resistance, Excellent water & chemical resistance, Very good clarity & depth, Available in variety of colours, Performance in harsh enviroments, Very good Corrosion resistance, Good electrical insulating properties, Versatility. Water based Polyurethane (PU) coatings are also now available in the market which is better for our environment due to its low VOC & Low Odor.

WATERBASE POLYURETHANE (PU) PAINT/POLISH/ COATING are: Eco friendly, solvent free coating - thinned by water, Non toxic - child safe, Easy to application by brush or spray, Excellent flexibility, Excellent crack resistance, Odorless, Easy maintenance - convenience of spot repairs, Long pot life, Due to low VOC it is environment safe, Less flamable.

POLYESTER PAINT/ POLISH/ COATINGS are: Very High solids - +/-96% - Very high & hard film build, Excellent resistance to Chemicals, Acids, Stains, Abrasion, Water marks, Scratch resistance, Very high gloss & depth, Very strong adhesion, High resistance to removal & shrinkage, Replacement for glass.

Disadvanatges



SYNTHETIC ENAMEL OR OIL PAINTS have: Slow dry time - Allows greater potential for dust to settle in your finish, Low scratch resistance, Old technology, Flammable Liquid.

NITROCELLULOSE OR NC LAQUER/PAINTS are: Less resistant to heat - Prone to hot water marks, Low resistance to solvents, Low scratch resistance, Very high gloss finishes cannot be achieved, Flammable Liquid.

MELAMINE POLISH/COATINGS: Cannot be used in exeriors, Emits formaldehyde, Short pot life after adding hardener (8 hours), Difficult to Repair & Strip, Needs sanding between coats for adhesion, Flammable Liquid.

POLYURETHANE (PU) POLISH/ PAINT/ COATINGS have: High Cost, Short pot life after adding hardener (upto 4 hours), Lot of qualities are available for various surfaces - so choosing the right product is critical, Needs dust free environment, Skilled applicator is essential for desired results, Contains Isocyanate, Sensitive to environmental changes primarily temperature & humidity, Slow drying, Flammable Liquid, Difficult to strip.

WATERBASE POLYURETHANE (PU) PAINT/POLISH/ COATING have: High cost, Film formed is not very hard, Sensitive to humidity, Difficult to obtain high gloss finishes.

POLYESTER PAINT/ POLISH/ COATINGS have: Very high cost, Very short pot life after adding hardener accelerator (only few minutes), Skilled applicator is a must for desired results, slow drying, Special equipment is required, Labor intensive job, Requires dust proof environment, Cannot be applied in carvings, Flammable Liquid. Very difficult to strip.

Recommendation



Synthetic Enamels are not suited for heavy applications requiring extreme resistance properties but they are ideal for light duty applications with moderate durability on metals and wood based products & furnitures.

DUCO or NC or Nitrocellulose paints are not suited for heavy applications requiring extreme resistance properties but they are ideal for light duty applications with moderate durability on Automobiles, Metals, wood based products & furniture & Industrial Items.

Melamine polish/coatings are suitable for heavy duty interior applications on all wood based products & furnitures including table tops due to very good resistance against acids, tea, coffee, alcohol, stain marks etc. Melamine is not recommended for exterior applications.

Polyurethane (PU) polish/coating is a heavy duty full package product which offers complete protection for your surface whether Interior or exterior with maximum durability. Due to its versatiliy its popularly used in Automobiles, Metals, Wood based products & furniture, Plastics, glass, floorings. Polyurethane (PU) coatings is a preferred industrial coating worldwide.

Waterbase Polyurethane (PU) are technologically latest coatings which are gaining fast acceptance. For the purpose where low odor, non toxic , eco friendly and chemical free coating is required it is recommended to use waterbase PU. Due to coatings excellent elasicity and resistance to temperture shifts it is ideal for exterior wood applications.

Polyester coating in terms of finish, Hardness, High gloss (Glass like finish), Scratch resistance, Adhesion is the best coating available in the market. Due to these properties its preffered choice in luxury furniture segment. Is is not recommended for exterior applications.