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An A to Z of painting terms

December 20, 2017

An A to Z of painting terms

Acrylic Latex
An aqueous dispersion of acrylic resins.

Acrylic Resin
A clear resin attained by polymerizing various acrylic monomers either alone or in combination.

The curing agent of a two component coating system.

The degree of attachment between a paint film and the underlying material to which it is in contact (substrate).

Process of attraction or attachment to a surface. The retention of foreign molecules on the surface of a substance.

Air Drying
The most common form of curing a coating in which drying takes place by oxidation or solvent evaporation by simple
exposure to air without heat or catalyst.

Alkyd Resin
Resins prepared by reacting alcohol's and fatty acids. Widely used in general purpose coatings.

Barrier Coat
A coating used to isolate a paint system either from the surf
ace to which it is applied or a previous coating for the
purpose of increasing adhesion or insuring compatibility.

The diffusion of color matter through a coating from underlying surfaces causing color change.

The formation of blisters in paint films by the local loss of adhesion and lifting of the film from the underlying substrate.

A haziness which develops on paint surfaces caused by the exudation of a component of the paint film.

A film defect which manifests itself as a milky appearance
which is generally caused by rapid solvent evaporation or
the presence of excessive moisture during the curing process.

The attachment between a coating film and the underling material to which it is applied.

The lack of resistance to cracking or breaking of a paint film when bent or flexed.

The ease of applying a coating by brush.

A temporary or permanent film defect in which bubbles of
air or solvent vapor are present in the applied film.

The wet or dry thickness of a coating film.

An accelerator, activator or curing agent which chemically increases the rate of reaction in a coating.

The formation of a friable powdery coating on the surface of a paint film, generally caused by exposure to ultraviolet
radiation resulting in a loss of gloss.

Cracks in the surface of a paint film.

Clean and Dry
Rather than a method, the requirement for Clean and Dry describes the condition of the surface prior to painting.
The surface shall be clean, dry, and free of oil, grease, wax, form oils, and any other contaminant that may effect the
adhesion of the coating.

The paint applied to a surface in a single application to form a film when dry.

Coating System
A number of coats separately applied, in a predetermined order, at suitable intervals to allow for drying and curing,
resulting in a completed job.

Colour Fast

Colour Retention
The ability to retain its original color during weathering or chemical exposure.


The separation between layers of coats due to very poor adhesion.

Dry film thickness.

Dry Time
Time allotted for an applied coating film to reach a set stage of cure or hardness.

A loss of gloss or sheen.

A two phase liquid system in which small droplets of one liquid are immiscible in and are dispersed uniformly
throughout a second continuous liquid phase.

A term used to characterize a coating which has a glossy smooth finish. A common term for alkyd coatings.

A synthetic resin, derived from petroleum products, that can be cured by a catalyst or used to upgrade other
synthetic resins to form a harder, more chemical resistant film.

Loss of gloss or sheen.

Feather Edge
Reduced film thickness at the edge of a dry paint film in order to produce a smooth, continuous appearance.

A layer of coating or paint.

Film Build
The dry film thickness characteristics of a coat.

Film Integrity
The continuity of a coating free of defects.

The degree at which a coating is able to conform to movement or deformation of its supporting surface without
cracking or flaking.

Floating (Flooding)
A concentration of one of the ingredients of the pigmented portion of a paint at its surface giving rise to a color

The degree to which a wet


A coating which has thickened to a jelly like consistency making it unusable.

The sheen or ability to reflect light.

An activator curing agent, catalyst or cross linking agent.

The ability of a coating to obscure the surface to which it is applied.

High Build
A term referring to a paint film which can produce a thick film in a single coat.

Referring to an environment which is continuously submerged in a liquid, often water.

Impact Resistance
The ability to resist deformation or cracking due to a forceful blow.


Unsuitable for use together because of undesirable chemical or physical effects.


Induction Time
The period of time between mixing of two component products and the moment they can be used.


Inert Pigment
A non-reactive pigment, filler or extender.

Intercoat Adhesion
The adhesion between successive coats of paint.


Intercoat Contamination
The presence of foreign matter such as dust or dirt between successive coats of paint.


A coating comprised of a synthetic film forming material which is dissolved in organic solvents and dries by solvent


A stable dispersion of a polymer substance in an aqueous medium; a common term for water reducible coatings.


Contains, by weight, less than 0.5% lead for industrial products and less than 0.6% lead in consumer products.


The orientation of pigment flakes in a horizontal plane, usually aluminum.


Softening and raising or wrinkling of a previous coat by the application of an additional coat; often caused by
coatings containing strong solvents.


A term used to describe a heavy bodied coating.


A micrometer or one millionth of a metre.


One one-thousandth of an inch; 0.0001 inches. Commonly used to denote coating thickness.


Mist Coat
A thin tack coat usually applied to fill porous surfaces such as plaster.


Spots of different tones and colors next to each other resulting in a blotchy effect on the coating film.


Non-Drying Oil
An oil which undergoes little or no oxidation when exposed to air and therefore has no film forming


The ability of a paint film to obliterate or hide the color of the surface to which it is applied.


Sprayed coating that is dry when it hits the surface resulting in dusty, granular adhering particles, reducing gloss and presenting a poor appearance.


The formation of an oxide; the curing mechanisms for alkyds.


(Verb) To apply a thin layer of coating to a substrate by brush, roller, spray or other suitable method.
(Noun) A pigmented liquid designed for application to a substrate, in a thin layer, which is then converted to an solid film. Paint is designed to protect and/or decorate the surface it is applied to.


A measure of acidity and alkalinity; pH 1-7 is acid and pH 7-14 is alkali.


A finely ground natural or synthetic, insoluble particle adding color and opacity or corrosion inhibition to a coating


Pigment / Binder Ratio
A ratio of total pigment to binder solids in paint.


A film defect characterized by small, pore-like flaws in a coating which extend entirely through the film.


An agent added to the resin to aid in flexibility.


Polyester Resin
A group of synthetic resins which contain repeating ester groups. A special type of modified alkyd resin.


Pot Life
The length of time a paint material is useful after its original package is opened or a catalyst or other curing agent is


The first coat of paint applied to a surface, formulated to have good bonding, wetting and inhibiting properties.


An accelerated testing device designed to evaluate the fading properties of a coating by exposure to high intensity,
ultraviolet light.


Commonly known as thinner.


The ratio of the intensity of reflected light to that of incidental light.


A group of organic materials, either natural or synthetic, which can be molded or dissolved.


A cylinder covered with lamb's wool, felt, foamed plastics or other materials used for applying paint.


Sagging and curtaining of a coating or paint film, usually caused by improper thinning, excessive film build or poor
application techniques.


Sag Resistance
The ability of a paint to be applied at proper film thickness' without sagging.


The downward movement of a paint film on a vertical surface, between the time of application and drying, resulting in an uneven coating having a thick lower edge.


A coating used on absorbent surfaces prior to painting.


The sinking of pigments, extenders or other solid matter in a paint, on standing in a container, with a consequent
accumulation on the bottom of the can.


A term employed to describe a particular hue or tone.


Shelf Life
The maximum time interval in which a material may be kept in a usable condition during storage.


The formation of a solid membrane on the of a liquid, caused by partial curing or drying of the coating during


A liquid in which another substance may be dissolved.


A set of instructions detailing the plan for coating of a project; a list of criteria for a coating.


The surface to be painted.


A liquid (solvent) added to a coating to adjust viscosity.


A coating which is supplied in two parts and must be mixed in the correct portions before use in order to cure.


The coat applied to the surface after preparation and before the application of a finish coat.


A measure of fluidity of a liquid.


Water Spotting
A surface defect caused by water droplets depositing a circular ring of contaminants.


Zinc Dust
Finely divided zinc metal used as a pigment in protective coatings.

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