Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, or 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. Paint can be made or purchased in many colors—and in many different types, such as watercolor, synthetic, etc. Paint is typically stored, sold, and applied as a liquid, but most types dry into a solid. Paint is usually categorized into interior paint, exterior paint, stain paint, sealer and finish paint.


1. Paint Product Types

1.1 Primer

1.2 Emulsion

1.3 Flat Finish

1.4 Matte Finish

1.5 Eggshell Finish

1.6 Pearl (Satin) Finish

1.7 Semi-Gloss Finish

1.8 High-gloss paint

1.9 Varnish and shellac

1.10 Wood stain

1.11 Lacquer

1.12 Enamel paint

1.13 Glaze

1.14 Roof coating

1.15 Anti-graffiti coatings

1.16 Sacrificial coatings

1.17 Non-bonding coatings

1.18 Anti-climb paint

1.19 Anti-fouling paint

1.20 Insulative paint

1.21 Anti slip paint

1.22 Road marking paint

2. Paint Damage

2.1 Dilution

2.2 Contamination

2.3 Peeling and Blistering

2.4 Chalking

2.5 Cracking

2.6 Erosion

3. Paint Components

3.1 Vehicle

3.2 Binder or film former

3.3 Thermoplastic mechanisms

3.4 Combination mechanisms

3.5 Diluent or solvent or thinner

3.6 Pigment and filler

3.7 Additives

4. Further Reading

Paint Product Types

Primer is a preparatory coating put on materials before applying the paint itself. The primed surface ensures better adhesion of the paint, thereby increasing the durability of the paint and providing improved protection for the painted surface. Suitable primers also may block and seal stains, or hide a color that is to be painted over.

Emulsion paints are water-based paints in which the paint material is dispersed in a liquid that consists mainly of water. For suitable purposes this has advantages in fast drying, low toxicity, low cost, easier application, and easier cleaning of equipment, among other factors.

Flat Finish paint is generally used on ceilings or walls that are in bad shape. This finish is useful for hiding imperfections in walls and it is economical in effectively covering relatively great areas. However this finish is not easily washable and is subject to staining.

Matte Finish is generally similar to flat finish, but such paints commonly offer superior washability and coverage. (See Gloss and matte paint.)

Eggshell Finish has some sheen, supposedly like that of the shell on an egg. This finish provides great washability, but is not very effective at hiding imperfections on walls and similar surfaces. Eggshell finish is valued for bathrooms because it is washable and water repellent, so that it tends not to peel in a wet environment.

Pearl (Satin) Finish is very durable in terms of washability and resistance to moisture, even in comparison to eggshell finish. It protects walls from dirt, moisture and stains. Accordingly, it is exceptionally valuable for bathrooms, furniture, and kitchens, but it is shinier than eggshell, so it is even more prone to show imperfections.

Semi-Gloss Finish typically is used on trim to emphasise detail and elegance, and to show off woodwork, such as on doors and furniture. It provides a shiny surface and provides good protection from moisture and stains on walls. Its gloss does however emphasize imperfections on the walls and similar surfaces. It is popular in schools and factories where washability and durability are the main considerations.

High-gloss paint is highly glossy and super shiny form of paint that is light reflecting and has a mirror like look. It pairs well with other finishes. While it is highly durable and easy to clean, high gloss paint is known for obvious visibility of imperfections like scratches, dents.

Varnish and shellac are in effect paints without pigment; they provide a protective coating without substantially changing the color of the surface, though they can emphasize the color of the material.

Wood stain is a type of paint that is formulated to be very “thin”, meaning low in viscosity, so that the pigment soaks into a material such as wood rather than remaining in a film on the surface. Stain is mainly dissolved pigment or dye plus binder material in solvent. It is designed to add color without providing a surface coating.

Lacquer is a solvent-based paint or varnish that produces an especially hard, durable finish. Usually it is a rapidly drying formulation.

Enamel paint is formulated to give an especially hard, usually glossy, finish. Some enamel paints contain fine glass powder or metal flake instead of the color pigments in standard oil-based paints. Enamel paint sometimes is mixed with varnish or urethane to improve its shine and hardness.

Glaze is an additive used with paint to slow drying time and increase translucency, as in faux painting and for some artistic effects.

Roof coating is a fluid that sets as an elastic membrane that can stretch without harm. It provides UV protection to polyurethane foam and is widely used in roof restoration.

Anti-graffiti coatings are used to defeat the marking of surfaces by graffiti artists or vandals. There are two categories of anti-graffiti coatings: sacrificial and non-bonding:

Sacrificial coatings are clear coatings that allow the removal of graffiti, usually by washing the surface with high-pressure water that removes the graffiti together with the coating (hence the term “sacrificial”). After removal of the graffiti, the sacrificial coating must be re-applied for continued protection. Such sacrificial protective coatings are most commonly used on natural-looking masonry surfaces, such as statuary and marble walls, and on rougher surfaces that are difficult to clean. Non-bonding coatings are clear, high-performance coatings, usually catalyzed polyurethanes, that do not bond strongly to paints used for graffiti. Graffiti on such a surface can be removed with a solvent wash, without damaging either the underlying surface or the protective non-bonding coating. These coatings work best on smooth surfaces, and are especially useful on decorative surfaces such as mosaics or painted murals, which might be expected to suffer harm from high pressure sprays.

Anti-climb paint is a non-drying paint that appears normal but is extremely slippery. It is useful on drainpipes and ledges to deter burglars and vandals from climbing them, and is found in many public places. When a person attempts to climb objects coated with the paint, it rubs off onto the climber, as well as making it hard for them to climb.

Anti-fouling paint, or bottom paint, prevents barnacles and other marine organisms from adhering to the hulls of ships.

Insulative paint or insulating paint, reduces the rate of thermal transfer through a surface it’s applied to. One type of formulation is based on the addition of hollow microspheres to any suitable type of paint.

Anti slip paint contains chemicals or grit to increase the friction of a surface so as to decrease the risk of slipping, particularly in wet conditions.

Road marking paint is specially used to marking and painting road traffic signs and lines, to form a durable coating film on the road surface. It must be fast drying, provide a thick coating, and resist wear and slipping, especially in wet conditions.


Paint Damage

The main reasons of paint failure or damage after application on surface are the applicator and improper treatment of surface.

Defects or degradation can as a result to:

This usually occurs when the dilution of the paint is not done as per manufacturers recommendation. There can be a case of over dilution and under dilution, as well as dilution with the incorrect diluent.
Foreign contaminants added without the manufacturers consent can cause various film defects.
Peeling and Blistering
Most commonly due to improper surface treatment before application and inherent moisture/dampness being present in the substrate.
Chalking is the progressive powdering of the paint film on the painted surface. The primary reason for the problem is polymer degradation of the paint matrix due to exposure of UV radiation in sunshine and condensation from dew. The degree of chalking varies as epoxies react quickly while acrylics and polyurethanes can remain unchanged for long periods.
Cracking of paint film is due to the unequal expansion or contraction of paint coats. It usually happens when the coats of the paint are not allowed to cure/dry completely before the next coat is applied.
Erosion is very quick chalking. It occurs due to external agents like air, water etc. The generation of acid by fungal species can be a significant component of erosion of painted surfaces. The fungus Aureobasidium pullulans is known for damaging wall paints.

Components of Paint


The vehicle is composed of the binder; or, if it is necessary to thin the binder with a diluent like solvent or water, it is the combination of binder and diluent. In this case, once the paint has dried or cured very nearly all of the diluent has evaporated and only the binder is left on the coated surface. Thus, an important quantity in coatings formulation is the “vehicle solids”, sometimes called the “resin solids” of the formula. This is the proportion of the wet coating weight that is binder, i.e. the polymer backbone of the film that will remain after drying or curing is complete.

Binder or film former

The binder is the film-forming component of paint. It is the only component that is always present among all the various types of formulations. Many binders are too thick to be applied and must be thinned. The type of thinner, if present, varies with the binder.

The binder imparts properties such as gloss, durability, flexibility, and toughness.

Binders include synthetic or natural resins such as alkyds, acrylics, vinyl-acrylics, vinyl acetate/ethylene (VAE), polyurethanes, polyesters, melamine resins, epoxy, silanes or siloxanes or oils.

Binders can be categorized according to the mechanisms for film formation. Thermoplastic mechanisms include drying and coalescence. Drying refers to simple evaporation of the solvent or thinner to leave a coherent film behind. Coalescence refers to a mechanism that involves drying followed by actual interpenetration and fusion of formerly discrete particles. Thermoplastic film-forming mechanisms are sometimes described as “thermoplastic cure” but that is a misnomer because no chemical curing reactions are required to knit the film. Thermosetting mechanisms, on the other hand, are true curing mechanism that involve chemical reaction(s) among the polymers that make up the binder.

Thermoplastic mechanisms

Some films are formed by simple cooling of the binder. For example, encaustic or wax paints are liquid when warm, and harden upon cooling. In many cases, they resoften or liquify if reheated.

Paints that dry by solvent evaporation and contain the solid binder dissolved in a solvent are known as lacquers. A solid film forms when the solvent evaporates. Because no chemical crosslinking is involved, the film can re-dissolve in solvent; as such, lacquers are unsuitable for applications where chemical resistance is important. Classic nitrocellulose lacquers fall into this category, as do non-grain raising stains composed of dyes dissolved in solvent. Performance varies by formulation, but lacquers generally tend to have better UV resistance and lower corrosion resistance than comparable systems that cure by polymerization or coalescence.

Latex is a water-borne dispersion of sub-micrometer polymer particles. These terms in their respective countries cover all paints that use synthetic polymers such as acrylic, vinyl acrylic (PVA), styrene acrylic, etc. as binders. The term “latex” in the context of paint in the United States simply means an aqueous dispersion; latex rubber from the rubber tree is not an ingredient. These dispersions are prepared by emulsion polymerization. Such paints cure by a process called coalescence where first the water, and then the trace, or coalescing, solvent, evaporate and draw together and soften the binder particles and fuse them together into irreversibly bound networked structures, so that the paint cannot redissolve in the solvent/water that originally carried it. The residual surfactants in paint, as well as hydrolytic effects with some polymers cause the paint to remain susceptible to softening and, over time, degradation by water.

Thermosetting mechanisms

Paints that cure by polymerization are generally one- or two-package coatings that polymerize by way of a chemical reaction, and cure into a crosslinked film. Depending on composition they may need to dry first, by evaporation of solvent. Classic two-package epoxies or polyurethanes would fall into this category.

The “drying oils”, counter-intuitively, actually cure by a crosslinking reaction even if they are not put through an oven cycle and seem to simply dry in air. The film formation mechanism of the simplest examples involve first evaporation of solvents followed by reaction with oxygen from the environment over a period of days, weeks and even months to create a crosslinked network. Classic alkyd enamels would fall into this category. Oxidative cure coatings are catalyzed by metal complex driers such as cobalt naphthenate.

Recent environmental requirements restrict the use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and alternative means of curing have been developed, generally for industrial purposes. UV curing paints, for example, enable formulation with very low amounts of solvent, or even none at all. This can be achieved because of the monomers and oligomers used in the coating have relatively very low molecular weight, and are therefore low enough in viscosity to enable good fluid flow without the need for additional thinner. If solvent is present in significant amounts, generally it is mostly evaporated first and then crosslinking is initiated by ultraviolet light. Similarly, powder coatings contain little or no solvent. Flow and cure are produced by heating of the substrate after electrostatic application of the dry powder.

Combination mechanisms

So-called “catalyzed” lacquers” or “crosslinking latex” coatings are designed to form films by a combination of methods: classic drying plus a curing reaction that benefits from the catalyst. There are paints called plastisols/organosols, which are made by blending PVC granules with a plasticiser. These are stoved and the mix coalesces.

Diluent or solvent or thinner

The main purposes of the diluent are to dissolve the polymer and adjust the viscosity of the paint. It is volatile and does not become part of the paint film. It also controls flow and application properties, and in some cases can affect the stability of the paint while in liquid state. Its main function is as the carrier for the non volatile components. To spread heavier oils (for example, linseed) as in oil-based interior house paint, a thinner oil is required. These volatile substances impart their properties temporarily—once the solvent has evaporated, the remaining paint is fixed to the surface.

This component is optional: some paints have no diluent.

Water is the main diluent for water-borne paints, even the co-solvent types.

Solvent-borne, also called oil-based, paints can have various combinations of organic solvents as the diluent, including aliphatics, aromatics, alcohols, ketones and white spirit. Specific examples are organic solvents such as petroleum distillate, esters, glycol ethers, and the like. Sometimes volatile low-molecular weight synthetic resins also serve as diluent.

Pigment and filler

Pigments are granular solids incorporated in the paint to contribute color. Fillers are granular solids incorporated to impart toughness, texture, give the paint special properties, or to reduce the cost of the paint. Alternatively, some paints contain dyes instead of or in combination with pigments.

Pigments can be classified as either natural or synthetic. Natural pigments include various clays, calcium carbonate, mica, silicas, and talcs. Synthetics would include engineered molecules, calcined clay, blanc fixe, precipitated calcium carbonate, and synthetic pyrogenic silicas.

Hiding pigments, in making paint opaque, also protect the substrate from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. Hiding pigments include titanium dioxide, phthalo blue, red iron oxide, and many others.

Fillers are a special type of pigment that serve to thicken the film, support its structure and increase the volume of the paint. Fillers are usually cheap and inert materials, such as diatomaceous earth, talc, lime, barytes, clay, etc. Floor paints that must resist abrasion may contain fine quartz sand as a filler. Not all paints include fillers. On the other hand, some paints contain large proportions of pigment/filler and binder.

Some pigments are toxic, such as the lead pigments that are used in lead paint. Paint manufacturers began replacing white lead pigments with titanium white (titanium dioxide), before lead was banned in paint for residential use in 1978 by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. The titanium dioxide used in most paints today is often coated with silica/alumina/zirconium for various reasons, such as better exterior durability, or better hiding performance (opacity) promoted by more optimal spacing within the paint film.

Micaceous iron oxide (MIO) is another alternative to lead for protection of steel, giving more protection against water and light damage than most paints. When MIO pigments are ground into fine particles, most cleave into shiny layers, which reflect light, thus minimising UV degradation and protecting the resin binder. Most pigments used in paint tend to be spherical, but lamellar pigments, such as glass flake and MIO have overlapping plates, which impede the path of water molecules.


Besides the three main categories of ingredients, paint can have a wide variety of miscellaneous additives, which are usually added in small amounts, yet provide a significant effect on the product. Some examples include additives to modify surface tension, improve flow properties, improve the finished appearance, increase wet edge, improve pigment stability, impart antifreeze properties, control foaming, control skinning, etc. Other types of additives include catalysts, thickeners, stabilizers, emulsifiers, texturizers, adhesion promoters, UV stabilizers, flatteners (de-glossing agents), biocides to fight bacterial growth, as well as formerly mercury and the like.

Additives normally do not significantly alter the percentages of individual components in a formulation.


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Wallpaper can bring your walls to life in a way that sometimes paint simply can’t with patterns, textures, and unique color combinations. Our crews can install all kinds of wallcoverings and decals in your home.


Wallpaper can bring your walls to life in a way that sometimes paint simply can’t with patterns, textures, and unique color combinations. Our crews can install all kinds of wallcoverings and decals in your home.


Installing wallpaper is an easy way to completely transform a room with stylish and complex designs. Wallpaper is having a getting a second life right now, with improved application technologies and more vibrant and intricate styles. Wallpaper installation, however, is still a difficult task to complete properly on your own.


Preparing walls for installing wallpaper, applying it evenly, and removing previous coverings without damaging the walls beneath should be done by a professional. Paintzen has vetted our painters to make sure they are experts in wallpaper installation. With our free online quote and our quick work, our professional wallpaper installation services are unbeatable.

ometimes, simply changing the wall color isn’t enough. Wallpaper allows you to bring new patterns and textures into life on your walls! Choosing to install wallpaper as part of your home renovation project opens the door to endless possibilities and decor opportunities. Paintzen’s professional wallpaper installation service can hang any style you choose – and because they’re vetted with years of experience, we can promise a quality application every time that is backed by our 100% Guarantee. Get started today.


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6. Further Reading

Refer to the following additional pages on website.


Home Improvement Remodeling Renovation

Property Repair


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