Ask Difference

Lacquer vs. Paint — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on September 22, 2023
Lacquer is a clear or colored varnish that dries by solvent evaporation and often has a curing process, providing a hard, durable finish. Paint is a liquid that converts into an opaque solid film when applied to a surface, used for protection, decoration.
Lacquer vs. Paint

Difference Between Lacquer and Paint

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Key Differences

Lacquer is generally used to create a high-gloss, durable finish that is resistant to damage. Paint, on the other hand, offers a range of finishes, from matte to high gloss, and is typically used for coloring and protecting surfaces.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023
Lacquer dries by solvent evaporation and may also require a curing process to produce its hard finish. Paint usually dries through the evaporation of its solvent and does not typically require curing.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023
Lacquers can be clear, showcasing the material underneath, or they can be pigmented. Paints are designed to be opaque, covering the surface beneath them, and come in a wide variety of colors.
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Sep 22, 2023
The application of lacquer usually requires more expertise, as the finish can show brush strokes, drips, or a "orange peel" texture. Paint is more forgiving and easier for the average person to apply.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023
Lacquer is generally less flexible than paint and may crack or chip under certain conditions. Paints are typically more flexible and can accommodate movement in the substrate (the surface being painted) without cracking.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 22, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Finish

High-gloss, durable
Range from matte to high-gloss
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Sep 22, 2023

Drying Process

Solvent evaporation, may require curing
Solvent evaporation
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Sep 22, 2023

Transparency

Can be clear or pigmented
Usually opaque
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Sep 22, 2023

Application Skill

Requires more expertise
More forgiving, easier to apply
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Flexibility

Generally less flexible
More flexible
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Sep 22, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Lacquer

May require a curing process.
This type of lacquer needs to cure for 48 hours.
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Sep 22, 2023

Paint

Comes in various finishes.
This brand offers paint in matte, satin, and gloss finishes.
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Sep 22, 2023

Lacquer

Can be clear or pigmented.
The clear lacquer showcased the wood's natural grain.
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Sep 22, 2023

Paint

Usually opaque.
Two coats of paint were needed for full coverage.
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Sep 22, 2023

Lacquer

Requires careful application.
Applying lacquer requires a steady hand to avoid drips.
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Sep 22, 2023

Paint

Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, or solid mastic composition that, after application to a substrate in a thin layer, converts to a solid film. It is most commonly used to protect, color, or provide texture to objects.
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Oct 29, 2021

Lacquer

The term lacquer is used for a number of hard and potentially shiny finishes applied to materials such as wood or metal. These fall into a number of very different groups.
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Paint

A liquid mixture, usually of a solid pigment in a liquid vehicle, used as a decorative or protective coating.
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Lacquer

Any of various clear or colored synthetic coatings made by dissolving nitrocellulose or other cellulose derivatives together with plasticizers and pigments in a mixture of volatile solvents and used to impart a high gloss to surfaces.
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Oct 29, 2021

Paint

The thin dry film formed by such a mixture when applied to a surface.
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Oct 29, 2021

Lacquer

A glossy, resinous material, such as the processed sap of the lacquer tree, used as a surface coating.
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Paint

The solid pigment before it is mixed with a vehicle.
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Lacquer

A finish that is baked onto the inside of food and beverage cans.
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Paint

A cosmetic, such as rouge, that is used to give color to the face; makeup.
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Lacquer

To coat with lacquer.
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Paint

(Basketball) The free throw lane.
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Lacquer

To give a sleek, glossy finish to.
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Paint

A Paint horse.
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Lacquer

A glossy, resinous material used as a surface coating; either a natural exudation of certain trees, or a solution of nitrocellulose in alcohol, etc.
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Paint

(Slang) The face cards in a deck of cards
I haven't seen any paint for the last ten hands.
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Lacquer

A similar finish, baked onto the inside of cans.
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Paint

To make (a picture) with paints.
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Lacquer

To apply a lacquer to something or to give something a smooth, glossy finish.
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Paint

To represent in a picture with paints.
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Lacquer

A varnish, consisting of a solution of shellac in alcohol, often colored with gamboge, saffron, or the like; - used for varnishing metals, papier-maché, and wood. The name is also given to varnishes made of other ingredients, esp. the tough, solid varnish of the Japanese, with which ornamental objects are made.
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Paint

To depict vividly in words.
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Lacquer

To cover with lacquer.
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Paint

To coat or decorate with paint
Paint a house.
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Lacquer

A black resinous substance obtained from certain trees and used as a natural varnish
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Paint

To apply cosmetics to.
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Lacquer

A hard glossy coating
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Paint

To apply medicine to; swab
Paint a wound.
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Lacquer

Coat with lacquer;
A lacquered box from China
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Paint

To shine a laser beam on, especially in order to designate a target for laser-guided munitions.
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Lacquer

A varnish that provides a high-gloss finish.
The lacquer gave the wood a shiny, polished look.
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Sep 22, 2023

Paint

To practice the art of painting pictures.
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Lacquer

Dries by solvent evaporation.
Lacquer dries quickly due to solvent evaporation.
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Sep 22, 2023

Paint

To cover something with paint.
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Paint

To apply cosmetics to oneself
"Let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come" (Shakespeare).
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Paint

To serve as a surface to be coated with paint
These nonporous surfaces paint badly with a brush.
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Paint

A substance that is applied as a liquid or paste, and dries into a solid coating that protects or adds color/colour to an object or surface to which it has been applied.
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Paint

(in the plural) A set of containers or blocks of paint of different colors/colours, used for painting pictures.
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Paint

The free-throw lane, construed with the.
The Nimrods are strong on the outside, but not very good in the paint.
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Paint

Paintballs.
I am running low on paint for my marker.
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Paint

A face card (king, queen, or jack).
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Paint

Graphics drawn using an input device, not scanned or generated.
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Paint

(uncountable) Makeup.
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Paint

Tattoo work.
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Paint

(dated) Any substance fixed with latex to harden it.
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Paint

The appearance of an object on a radar screen.
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Paint

(transitive) To apply paint to.
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Paint

(transitive) To apply in the manner that paint is applied.
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Paint

To apply with a brush in order to treat some body part.
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Paint

(transitive) To cover (something) with spots of colour, like paint.
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Paint

(transitive) To create (an image) with paints.
To paint a portrait or a landscape
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Paint

(intransitive) To practise the art of painting pictures.
I've been painting since I was a young child.
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Paint

To draw an element in a graphical user interface.
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Paint

To depict or portray.
She sued the author of the biography, claiming it painted her as a duplicitous fraud.
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Paint

(intransitive) To color one's face by way of beautifying it.
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Paint

To direct a radar beam toward.
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Paint

To cover with coloring matter; to apply paint to; as, to paint a house, a signboard, etc.
Jezebel painted her face and tired her head.
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Oct 29, 2021

Paint

To color, stain, or tinge; to adorn or beautify with colors; to diversify with colors.
Not painted with the crimson spots of blood.
Cuckoo buds of yellow hueDo paint the meadows with delight.
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Oct 29, 2021

Paint

To form in colors a figure or likeness of on a flat surface, as upon canvas; to represent by means of colors or hues; to exhibit in a tinted image; to portray with paints; as, to paint a portrait or a landscape.
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Oct 29, 2021

Paint

To represent or exhibit to the mind; to describe vividly; to delineate; to image; to depict; as, to paint a political opponent as a traitor.
Disloyal?The word is too good to paint out her wickedness.
If folly grow romantic, I must paint it.
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Paint

To practice the art of painting; as, the artist paints well.
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Paint

To color one's face by way of beautifying it.
Let her paint an inch thick.
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Paint

A pigment or coloring substance.
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Paint

A cosmetic; rouge.
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Paint

A substance used as a coating to protect or decorate a surface (especially a mixture of pigment suspended in a liquid); dries to form a hard coating
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Oct 29, 2021

Paint

(basketball) a space (including the foul line) in front of the basket at each end of a basketball court; usually painted a different color from the rest of the court;
He hit a jump shot from the top of the key
He dominates play in the paint
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Paint

Makeup consisting of a pink or red powder applied to the cheeks
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Paint

Make a painting;
He painted all day in the garden
He painted a painting of the garden
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Paint

Apply paint to; coat with paint;
We painted the rooms yellow
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Paint

Make a painting of;
He painted his mistress many times
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Paint

Apply a liquid to; e.g., paint the gutters with linseed oil
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Paint

A liquid that converts to a solid film when applied.
The paint dried to a smooth finish.
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Paint

Used for protection and decoration.
The paint protects the wood from moisture.
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Paint

Dries through solvent evaporation.
The paint dried in about two hours.
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Common Curiosities

Can lacquer be used outdoors?

Some lacquers are designed for outdoor use, but most are best suited for indoor applications.
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Is paint easier to apply than lacquer?

Paint is generally easier and more forgiving to apply than lacquer.
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Sep 22, 2023

Can you paint over lacquer?

Yes, but proper surface preparation is essential for adhesion.
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Sep 22, 2023

Do both lacquer and paint come in aerosol cans?

Yes, both are available in aerosol form for spray application.
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Sep 22, 2023

How many coats of paint are usually required?

At least two coats are generally recommended for even coverage.
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Sep 22, 2023

Is lacquer always shiny?

While lacquer is known for its high-gloss finish, matte lacquers are also available.
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Sep 22, 2023

Which is more durable, lacquer or paint?

Lacquer is generally more durable but less flexible than paint.
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Sep 22, 2023

Are there eco-friendly options for both?

Yes, water-based paints and low-VOC lacquers are more eco-friendly options.
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Sep 22, 2023

Can paint be used as a primer for lacquer?

It's not recommended; lacquers and paints have different properties and may not adhere well to each other.
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Sep 22, 2023

Can lacquer be used on metal?

Yes, but a primer specifically designed for metal is usually necessary.
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Sep 22, 2023

Can lacquer and paint be removed?

Both can be removed, but removal methods differ and can be labor-intensive.
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Sep 22, 2023

Can I mix different paint colors?

Yes, paints can be mixed to create custom colors, but mixing lacquers requires expertise.
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Sep 22, 2023

Is paint water-based?

Paint can be water-based or oil-based, while lacquer is usually solvent-based.
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Sep 22, 2023

Do both lacquer and paint require ventilation during application?

Yes, both should be applied in well-ventilated areas.
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Sep 22, 2023

Can I use both lacquer and paint on the same project?

It's possible, but tricky due to their differing properties; surface preparation and compatibility tests are essential.
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Sep 22, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at AskDifference.com, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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