Frequently Asked Questions
What should I use to clean my vitreous enamel?
Only use products which have been tested by the Vitreous Enamel Association and bear their approval logo. They are available from most supermarkets and retailers. Click for The VEA Approved Cleaners List
Have you any tips for cleaning of vitreous enamel on a cooker?
You will find information about the best ways to clean your cooker on our How To Care for Vitreous Enamel page. See: How To Look After - Ovens Cooker Hobs
Have you any tips for cleaning of vitreous enamel on a bath?
You will find information about the best ways to clean your bath on our How To Care for Vitreous Enamel page. See: How To Look After - Baths and Sinks
Limescale problems - what should I do?
Some tips ideas and an explanation of what limescale is Click for Limescale Removal
My cast iron enamelled bath is dull, rough, stained or scratched - can it be restored?
If your bath is made of cast iron, yes it can. A specialist operation can be carried out involving grinding away the damaged surface and then polishing the enamel to restore the original shine and colour. This process is most successful on white, pastel and light colours. The stronger colours such as burgundy, dark blue and dark brown will not re-polish successfully. Even if you have minor chips in the enamel, these can be patched using a specialist colour matched filler.
(NOTE – this filler is NOT vitreous enamel). See Repolisher details
Where and how can I get my cast iron bath re-enamelled or are there any other options?
There are two options if your bath is just worn. The enamel feels rough to the touch - this tends to occur in the base of the bath. You can have it re-polished. This can be done in situ and is a specialist operation:
OR You can have it re-enamelled. For this it must be removed and transported to a specialist re- enameller: See Re-enamellers
If your bath is badly chipped or you would like to change the colour, the only option which is available to you is to remove the bath and send it to a specialist company who will carry out the re-enamelling of your bath with genuine vitreous enamel: See Re-enamellers
Please be aware that there are many companies advertising and offering re-enamelling in-situ. This is not genuine vitreous enamel - it is a type of paint. The more reputable companies carrying out this service will describe it as "bath re-surfacing". It is a shorter-term solution, but cannot be as hard or durable as genuine vitreous enamel. These companies may also be able to carry out a cosmetic repair of chips. Genuine Vitreous Enamel is a type of glass, which is fused at high temperatures to achieve its unique combination of hardness and durability, which is unmatched by other finishes.
Re-enamelling will involve shot blasting to remove the existing enamel, followed by specialist welding if there is any damage or heavy rusting, for example around the plug hole. It will then be coated with up to three layers of vitreous enamel. Each layer will be fused to the surface by heating in a furnace to a temperature above 750 degrees Centigrade. It is this genuine vitreous enamel finish which will give the durability and long life that your bath has given you until now.
Can I repair a chip on a piece of enamel?
It is not possible to carry out a repair to vitreous enamel, except by specialists in the re-enamelling of already enamelled parts. Repair kits are available from the major do-it-yourself outlets, but these are only a paint which can never be as hard and durable as the original vitreous enamel. They will not withstand arduous use or the high temperatures which will be found in an appliance oven, grill or hotplate. However, they will often give a short term cosmetic repair in other areas, which may satisfy your needs.
Companies who carry out bath polishing will also provide this type of chip repair Click Bath Polishing
If you wish to have the part re-enamelled please contact one of the specialist vitreous enamelling companies listed in our Bath Re-enamellers; Cast iron Re-enamellers; or Steel Enamellers
What is vitreous enamel?
You will find a full description of Vitreous enamel on our What is Vitreous Enamel?
How can I get a piece of metal vitreous enamelled or re-enamelled?
Contact one of the specialist sub-contract enamelling companies.
If you want more detailed advice contact - IVE Vitreous Enameller's Society www.ive.org.uk
Where can I buy some enamel?
If you are thinking that you will be able to re-enamel your bath or cooker then simply it isn’t possible. The application of vitreous enamel requires specialist equipment and must be fused at a temperature above 750 degrees Centigrade. Normal ‘industrial’ size industrial enamelling is thus outside the scope of home application. However, if you wish to try your hand at some DIY enamelling for copper jewellery there are some very simple kits available from craft shops or from W. G. Ball Ltd, Stoke on Trent. (Tel. 01782 312286 Fax. 01782 598148). Click www.wgball.com for more details
Are there any books about vitreous enamel?
In print books:
- Wratil, Dr J (1984) Vitreous Enamels. Available only from IVE -The Vitreous Enamellers’ Society, a division of IOM3 www.ive.org.uk
If you are interested in the history of enamelling, particularly aimed at the art market, but also of good general interest:
- Speel, Erika. (1997) Dictionary of Enamelling. Ashgate Publishing Company, Aldershot, England & Brookfield, Vermont, USA. ISBN 1-85928-272-5
Books on vitreous enamelled signs
- Christopher Baglee and Andrew Morley, Street Jewellery: a history of advertising signs. New Cavendish Books, 1978
- Christopher Baglee and Andrew Morley, Enamel Advertising Signs, Shire Books, 2001
A very much bigger and comprehensive account with hundreds of illustrations:
- Christopher Baglee and Andrew Morley, The Art of Street Jewellery, New Cavendish Books, 2006.
Other information books on the subject of vitreous enamel are all believed to be out of print at present. You may be able to obtain copies through your local library. The most important ones are :
- Andrews, A.I. (1961) Porcelain Enamels. The Garrard Press, Champaign, Illinois, USA. Vargin, A.H. (1967) Technology of Enamels. Translated by Kenneth Shaw, McLaren & Sons Ltd, London.Maskall, K.A. (1986)
- Vitreous Enamelling: a guide to modern enamelling practice. Pergamon materials engineering practice series, Pergamon Press, London. ISBN 0-08-0334288 Hardcover ISBN 0-08-0334296 Flexicover
Where can I learn something about vitreous enamel or obtain technical information?
IVE -The Vitreous Enamellers’ Society, a division of IOM3 - The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining provides technical information for the Vitreous Enamelling Process www.ive.org.uk. They provide technical resources, training and publications
Could you give me some information about the enamelling of jewellery or art enamelling? Are there any bodies which I could join to learn about this?
This is outside the scope of VEA but there are two bodies which you might contact to help you with this. There are also numerous books about art and jewellery enamelling.
Can you tell me anything about the early history of vitreous enamel?
There is a short history of the 25 centuries of vitreous enamel on our History of Enamelling