Is it possible to thin enamel paint using water? In a nutshell, yes, but only if the enamel paint you wish to dilute is water-based. If the enamel paint is oil-based, mineral spirits should be used as a thinning agent. Water will only thin water-based enamel paint; it will not thin oil-based enamel paint.
If you are planning to use water as a thinning agent, it is important to note that it should not be taken from a source that contains any organic material or alcohol. These substances will cause the paint to bubble up when watered down which could lead to a skin rash or other irritation on your hand while painting.
The best way to thin enamel paint is with non-drying thinner such as mineral spirits. This will not affect the chemical composition of the paint and can be used to thin both water- and oil-based enamels. Mineral spirits are available at most hardware stores for around $10 for 1 gallon.
You can also try olive oil as a thinning agent, but only use a small amount or you may end up with a paint job that's too thin. The key here is to not use an excess amount of oil since this could result in brush marks in your finished product.
Finally, you can use vinegar as a thinning agent, but only a small amount is needed and it should be applied slowly so as not to cause the paint to foam up.
Most enamel paints are excessively thick right out of the box and must be diluted. So, how do you thin out enamel paint? Mineral spirits, in a nutshell. Mineral spirits, often known as white spirit, are ideal for diluting off enamel paints. They're color-coded based on their density. Dense mineral spirits are used first to remove dust from the surface before thinner layers are applied using less dense materials. Thinner is then applied to finish painting.
Mineral spirits are available at home improvement stores in containers that range in size from 1 quart to 5 gallons. Look for brands with high concentrations of mineral spirits such as Drake's Workhorse or Wiltz Int'l. Avoid products with names like stain eliminator or furniture polish because they may contain substances that are harmful to enamel paint.
You should always test any material you plan to use with an inconspicuous area of the project. This will help you determine if there are any negative effects from using it with enamel paint. For example, if you try applying thinner to a painted wall and it removes the paint, you should probably skip that step!
Mineral spirits are very effective at removing dust from enamel paint. However, they cannot be used with all types of enamel paint. Some colors contain additives that can become brittle when exposed to mineral spirits.
Water-based paint may, in fact, be sprayed with a paint sprayer. How should water-based paint be thinned? Water is used to thin water-based paint. You combine the two until the paint is thin enough to spray with your paint sprayer.
The type of sprayer you use will determine how much thinner you need. For example, if you use a pressure washer to spray water-based paint, you won't need as much thinner.
You should always test a small area first to make sure that it's not too thin before spraying a large surface. If it is, then add more thickner.
Thinning agents for water-based paints include alcohol and lacquer thinner. Alcohols such as white vinegar or isopropyl alcohol can be used instead of thinner if you want to save money. However, they may leave a residue that needs to be removed with some sanding or scraping.
Lacquer thinner is the cheapest option and is available at any home improvement store. It is very toxic and should never be ingested. Exposure through the skin can cause serious irritation and inflammation. A small amount on your clothing or in your environment could seriously harm children or animals that come into contact with it.
Water-based paints are easy to clean up after you're done.