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Top Ten Reasons Enamel Is a Poor Range Hood Coating

April 06, 2023 7 min read

In most kitchens, one of the essential but sadly overlooked kitchen appliances is the range hood. Range hoods significantly reduce the smoke, grease, and other pollutants that can build up in the kitchen and affect air quality. But with so many range hoods and coatings available, choosing the right one for your needs can be challenging.

Like most kitchenware, range hoods are now coated with enamel coats which is a bad idea. People often think enamel coating on range hoods will have the same benefits as enamel coating on other kitchen appliances. This article will correct that oversight and explain why enamel is not the best choice for range hood coatings. Its flaws include discoloration and chipping, complex maintenance, and limited customization options.

But before we dive into the why, an introduction to what enamel coating is necessary.

What Is Enamel Coating?

Enamel coating is a type of paint commonly used on various surfaces to provide a hard, glossy, and durable finish. It is usually made by fusing powdered glass onto a metal surface through a high-temperature firing process.

Enamel coats are vitreous, glassy, and often opaque substances made from several silica-based compounds. They are often applied in liquid or powder form as a protective or decorative coating over metal or ceramics. This inorganic coating produces a stiff, glossy, and luster paint finish when applied to metal surfaces such as steel, aluminum, copper, or cast iron. 

It combines visually attractive characteristics, such as lustrous hues, with outstanding physical capabilities, such as increased durability and corrosion resistance on any surface. From boilers and cookers to ovens and washing machines, enamel-coated finishes are everywhere.

The effectiveness of a range hood varies depending on the type of coating used, and enamel may not be the best choice. Let’s dive into why applying an enamel coating to your range hood is not sustainable and environmentally sound.

Why Enamel Isn't a Great Coating for Your Range Hood

People often think that coating your range hood will make it more durable and corrosion-resistant. But applying an enamel coat finish to your range hood is not sustainable and has many environmental impacts with several health downsides. Some of the notable ones include:

Enamel Coatings are Prone to Chipping and Peeling 

Enamel coatings have been a popular choice for range hood coatings due to their durability and glossy appearance. However, one of the top reasons why enamel coating is not ideal for range hoods is because the paint job can easily be chipped or scratched due to everyday use and exposure to kitchen environments. This can affect the appearance of the range hood, as well as the surrounding kitchen cabinets.

Enamel coatings can be easily damaged by impact or exposure to heat, causing the surface to chip and peel off. Common causes of chipping and peeling include accidental impacts, exposure to high temperatures, and wear and tear over time.

Enamel Coatings Can Be Difficult to Clean

Enamel Coatings Can Be Difficult to Clean

A notable disadvantage of range hood coatings is that enamel coatings are challenging to clean. Due to their porous nature, enamel coatings can quickly become discolored or stained. Dirt, grease, and grime can quickly build up on the surface, making it hard to keep clean.

Additionally, cleaning enamel coatings can be a challenge. Many standard cleaning products can be too harsh and cause damage to the coating, further exacerbating the issue. This can lead to a dull or mottled appearance, which is not only unsightly but can also impact the range hood's performance. Without regular and thorough cleaning, grease and other particles can build up and cause the range hood to become less effective at removing smoke and cooking odors which can spread in the kitchen and surrounding rooms.

Enamel Coatings are Not Resistant to High Heat

Enamel coatings are not resistant to high heat, which is one of the reasons they are unsuitable for range hood coatings. Excess heat from cooking can cause glossy paint to discolor or peel off, making it difficult to maintain. This can concern homeowners who regularly use their range hood for cooking or baking at high temperatures. For example, when using the broil function on an oven, the temperature can reach up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause damage to enamel coatings.

Also, high-heat cooking methods such as searing or frying can generate much heat that can damage enamel coatings over time. In short, if you want a range hood coating that can withstand high heat and provide durability and longevity.

Potential Buildup of Bacteria and Pathogens in Cracks

Enamel coatings on range hoods can develop cracks over time due to wear and tear or exposure to heat. These cracks can create small crevices where grease, moisture, and other contaminants can accumulate, potentially leading to harmful bacteria and pathogens buildup. Enamel coatings are also not as smooth as other coatings, making them more difficult to clean thoroughly. The accumulation of bacteria and pathogens can be a severe health concern, particularly in a kitchen where food is prepared.

Enamel Coatings are Susceptible to Fading

Enamel Coatings are Susceptible to Fading

Enamel coatings can be susceptible to fading when exposed to direct sunlight. Over time, the pigments used in enamel coatings can break down and cause discoloration, resulting in a dull or faded appearance. This concerns overhead range hood coatings installed in areas with much natural light, such as near windows or skylights. UV exposure can also affect range hoods installed in outdoor kitchens.

The fading of enamel coatings can be unsightly and reduce the range hood's aesthetic appeal. It can also indicate that the coating is breaking down and becoming less effective at protecting the underlying metal surface from corrosion or other damage. To avoid these issues, choosing a range hood coating designed to resist UV radiation and maintain its color over time is crucial.

Enamel Coatings are Not Environmentally Friendly

Enamel coatings are not environmentally friendly and can hurt the environment. These coatings contain harmful chemicals and solvents that can be released into the air during manufacturing and can also be released into the environment when the coating is disposed of. Enamel coatings also have a limited lifespan and must be replaced often, creating additional waste. An eco-friendly alternative to enamel coatings is a powder-coated finish.

Increased Cases of Enamel Spalling

Enamel spalling, also known as chalking, is a phenomenon where the surface of the enamel coating breaks down into a powdery substance. This can occur due to various environmental factors, such as exposure to moisture, chemicals, and UV radiation. The result is an unsightly rough and pitted surface that can harbor bacteria and pathogens.

Enamel spalling can also compromise the structural integrity of the range hood, leading to rust and corrosion. Over time, this can cause significant damage to the appliance, making enamel coatings an impractical choice for range hoods. Manufacturers recognize the disadvantages of enamel coatings and have started to develop alternative materials that are more durable, environmentally friendly, and resistant to spalling.

Enamel Coatings Can Limit Design Options

Enamel coatings can limit design options when it comes to range hood coatings. This is because enamel coatings can be challenging to customize or match to a specific design. Unlike other coatings, enamel coatings do not offer much flexibility when it comes to customization. They can come in a limited range of colors and finishes, which may not match the kitchen's overall design. This can limit the scope of design options available to homeowners who want a range hood that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. For instance, homeowners who want a specific color or finish for their range hood may be unable to find a matching enamel coating.

Enamel Coatings Can Be Expensive 

Enamel coatings for range hoods can be expensive compared to other coating options. The manufacturing process for enamel coatings can be time-consuming and requires specialized equipment, which can add to the cost. In addition, enamel coatings may require additional layers or coatings to achieve the desired finish, further increasing the cost. The cost of enamel coatings can be a significant factor for those on a budget or those needing to purchase multiple range hoods for commercial use.

However, there are cost-effective alternatives to enamel coatings, such as powder-coated finishes, that offer a similar look and feel at a lower cost. These alternatives can be a good option for those who want the benefits of a coated range hood without the expense.

It Makes the Range Hood Heavy.

Enamel coatings are not a suitable choice for range hood coatings for various reasons, one of which is that they add significant weight to the range hood. This added weight can make it such an arduous task to install the range hood and could lead to structural issues. Range hoods are designed to be mounted above the cooking surface, and the added weight of enamel coatings can strain the mounting hardware. Additionally, the added weight can make moving or adjusting the range hood difficult if necessary.

Final Thoughts

While enamel coating enhances durability, heat distribution, and aesthetics for most kitchenware, it adversely affects the environment and health when used for range hoods. Its health and safety benefits are lower than any coated ducted range hood. Enamel coatings may not provide adequate protection against heat, moisture, and other environmental factors that can affect the functionality and appearance of range hoods. While enamel coatings may have a lower upfront cost, their susceptibility to chipping, fading, discoloration, and other issues can lead to costly repairs and replacements down the line.

Range hoods provide relief by making cooking less arduous, as they help remove excess heat and improve air quality in the kitchen. Some of the best and most advanced range hoods offer protection against bad kitchen air, excess heat and have excellent aesthetics. Having a vent hood coated with enamel will eliminate most of these perks.

By choosing a more durable and functional coating option, such as stainless steel or powder coating, range hood owners can ensure better long-term value and protection for their investment.