Gold leaf and gold paint: differences and characteristics

The use of gold leaf compared to gold paint for gilding projects brings with it considerations both practical and aesthetic, influenced by the nature of the materials and their specific applications. Gold leaf offers unmatched aesthetics and durability surpassing that of gold paint, especially in outdoor contexts where resistance to elements is crucial.

Quality of gold leaf

Gold leaf is valued for its precious nature and its resistance, factors that directly influence its durability. In outdoor gilding projects, thick and high-cara gold leaf is recommended as it offers greater resistance and can maintain its integrity (if adequately protected) for many decades. This long-lasting feature, coupled with the extraordinary brilliance of authentic gold, makes gold leaf a preferable choice for prestigious projects where quality and appearance are of primary importance.

Limits of gold paint

In contrast, gold paint, commonly water-based with metallic or mica pigments to simulate the appearance of gold, proves to be an economical solution for applications or smaller-scale projects. Although it provides protection against corrosion and UV exposure, its effectiveness tends to diminish after a few years. This limitation makes gold paint less suitable for long-term projects, especially outdoors.

Choosing between the two

The choice between gold leaf and gold paint depends on various factors, including the application context, available budget, and durability expectations. For significant outdoor projects, such as gilding monuments or significant architectural elements, gold leaf represents an investment that ensures beauty and resistance over time. For indoor or smaller-scale projects, where economic considerations or ease of application prevail, gold paint can offer an alternative.


In conclusion, while gold paint may be a convenient option for temporary or low-value indoor applications, gold leaf stands out for its superiority in terms of durability and prestige.