GLOSSARY OF PAINT TERMS
ABRASION RESISTANCE: Resistance
to being worn away by rubbing or friction; related
more to toughness than to hardness. A necessary
quality for floor finishes, enamels and varnishes.
ABRASIVE: Used for wearing away
a surface by rubbing. Examples are powdered pumice,
rottenstone, sandpaper, sandpaper, steel wool.
ADHESION: The ability of a coating
to stick to a surface.
AEROSOL: A product feature that
uses compressed gas to spray the product from
AIRLESS SPRAY: A spray that
increases the fluid pressure of paint by means
of a pump that causes atomization with air, resulting
in higher film build and little or no over-spray.
ALKALI: A substance such as
lye, soda or lime that can be highly destructive
to paint films.
ALKYD: Synthetic resin modified
with oil for good adhesion to a clean surface
and good gloss, color retention and flexibility.
ALLIGATORING: Condition of paint
film where surface is cracked and develops an
appearance similar to alligator skin.
ALUMINUM PAINT: A paint that
includes aluminum particles and gives a metallic
finish when dried.
ANCHORING: Mechanical bonding
of a coating to a rough surface as contrasted
with adhesion, which is chemical bonding.
ANTI-CORROSIVE PAINT: Metal
paint designed to inhibit corrosion. Applied directly
ANTIQUE FINISH: A finish usually
applied to furniture or woodwork to give the appearance
BACK PRIMED: When a coat of
paint is applied to the back of woodwork and exterior
siding to prevent moisture from entering the wood
and causing the grain to swell.
BENZENE: Powerful but highly
toxic and flammable solvent, usually restricted
to spray application.
BENZINE: Often used as a lacquer
dilutent. Highly volatile and a fire hazard in
shipping and storing.
BINDER: Film-forming ingredient
in paint that binds the pigment particles together.
BLEACHING: The process of restoring
discolored or stained wood to its normal color
or making it lighter.
BLEEDING: Undercoat staining
through the topcoat.
BLISTERING: The formation of
bubbles or pimples on the painted surface caused
by moisture in the wood by painting before the
previous coat has dried thoroughly or by excessive
heat or grease under the paint.
BLUSHING: A gloss film turning
flat or a clear lacquer turning white, usually
caused by moisture condensation during the drying
COLORANT: Concentrated color
that can be added to paints to make a specific
COLORFAST: Fade resistant.
COLOR UNIFORMITY: Ability of
a coating to maintain a uniform or consistent
color across its entire surface, particularly
during the weathering process.
CONTACT CEMENT: Completely non-staining
cement. Ideal for applying wall paneling and for
covering counters, cabinets and table tops with
both porous and non-porous surfacing materials
ranging from linoleum to plastic laminates.
COPPER STAINING: Usually caused
by corrosion of copper screens, gutters or downspouts
washing down on painted surfaces. Can be prevented
by painting or varnishing the copper.
COVERAGE: The area over which
a given amount of paint will spread and hide the
previous surface. (Usually expressed in square
feet per gallon).
CRACKING: The type of paint
failure characterized by breaks in irregular lines
wide enough to expose the underlying surface.
CRAWLING: Varnish defect in
which poor adhesion of varnish to surface in some
spots causes it to gather up in globs.
CRAZING: Small, interlacing
cracks on surface of finish.
CREOSOTE: A type of liquid coating
made from coal tar that is used as a wood preservative.
It should not be used on wood that will be painted
CURING: Final conversion or
drying or a coating material.
CUSTOM COLOR: Special colors
made by adding colorant to paint or by intermixing
colors, which permits the retailer to match a
color selected by the consumer.
CUTTING IN: Careful painting
of an edge such as wall color at the ceiling line
or at the edge of woodwork.
DISTRESSING: Treatment of furniture,
usually in the process of being antiqued, in order
to make it appear older than it is. Consists of
marring the surface or applying specks of glaze
DRIER: A paint ingredient that
aids the drying or hardening of the film.
DRY DUST FREE: That stage of
drying when particles of dust that settle upon
the surface do not stick to the paint film.
DRY TACK FREE: That stage of
drying when the paint no longer feels sticky or
tacky when lightly touched.
DRY TO HANDLE: That stage of
drying when a paint film has hardened sufficiently
so the object or surface painted may be used without
DRY TO RECOAT: That stage of
drying when the next coat can be applied.
DRY TO SAND: That stage of drying
when a paint film can be sanded without the sandpaper
sticking or clogging.
FLAT APPLICATOR: A rectangular
shaped flat pad with an attached handle that is
used to paint shingles, shakes and other special
surfaces and areas.
FLEXIBILITY: Ability of a coating
to expand and contract during temperature changes.
FLOATING: Separation of pigment
colors on the surface of applied paint.
FLOW: The ability of a coating
to level out and spread into a smooth film, paints
that have a good flow usually level out uniformly
and exhibit few brush or roller marks.
FUNGICIDE: An agent the helps
prevent mold or mildew growth on paint.
GALVANIZED: A thin coating of
zinc that covers iron or steel to prevent rust.
GLAZE: A term used to describe
several types of finishing materials. (1) Glazing
putty is of a creamy consistency and is applied
to fill imperfections in the surface. (2) A glazing
stain is a pigmented stain applied over a stained,
filled or painted surface to soften or blend the
original color without obscuring it. (3) A glaze
coat is a clear finish applied over previously
coated surfaces to create a gloss finish.
GLAZING COMPOUND: putty used
to set glass in window frames and to fill nail
holes and cracks.
GLOSS: The luster or shininess
of paints and coatings are generally classified
as flat, semi-gloss, or gloss; the latter has
the higher reflecting ability.
GLOSS METER: A standard scale
for measuring the shininess or light reflectance
of paint. Different brands with the same description
such as semi-gloss or flat may have quite different
ratings on the gloss meter.
GRAIN RAISING: Swelling and
standing up of the wood grain caused by absorbed
water and solvents.
GRAINING: Simulating the grain
of wood by means of specially prepared colors
or stains and the use of graining tools or special
GROUND COAT: The base coat in
an antiquing system that is applied before the
graining colors, glazing or other finish coat.
HARDBOARD: Reconstituted natural
wood, fabricated by reducing natural wood to fibers
and then pressing the fibers together into panels
of various thickness'.
HARDNESS: The ability of a paint
film to resist denting, scratching or marring.
HIDING POWER: The ability of
a paint to hide the previous surface or color.
HOLDOUT: The ability of a paint
film to dry to its normal finish on a somewhat
HOLIDAYS: Voids in the dried
HOT SPOTS: Lime spots, which
are not completely cured and bleed through the
coating on a plastered wall.
MINERAL SPIRITS: Paint thinners
or solvents derived from petroleum.
NAILHEAD RUSTING: Rust from
iron nails that penetrates or bleeds through the
coating and stains the surrounding areas.
NAP: The length of fibers in
a paint roller cover.
NONVOLATILE: The portion of
paint left after the solvent evaporates; sometimes
called the solids content.
OIL STAINS: There are two types
of oil stains, penetrating and non-penetrating.
Penetrating oil stains contain dyes and resins
that penetrate the surface; non-penetrating oil
stains contain larger amounts of pigments and
are usually opaque or transparent.
OPACITY: The ability of a paint
to hide the previous surface or color.
OPAQUE COATING: A coating that
hides the previous surface coating.
ORANGE PEEL: Film having the
roughness of an orange due to poor roller or spray
PAINT GAUGE: Instrument for
measuring the thickness of paint film.
PAINT REMOVER: A compound that
softens old paint or varnish and permits scraping
off the loosened material.
PATCHING PLASTER: A special
plaster made for repairing plaster walls.
PEELING: Detachment of a dried
paint film in relatively large pieces, usually
caused by moisture or grease under the painted
PIGMENTS: Paint ingredients
mainly used to impart color and hiding power.
PIHNOLE: Very small holes in
paint film, usually not deep enough to show undercoat.
PLASTER OF PARIS: A quick setting,
pure white powder, used to set bathroom wall fixtures
such as towel racks or used by craft groups for
pouring molds and making plaster objects.
POLYURETHANE: Wide range of
coatings, ranging from hard gloss enamels to soft
flexible coatings. Good to very good adhesion,
hardness, flexibility and resistance. Surface
POLYVINYL ACETATE: A synthetic
resin largely used as a vehicle for many latex
paints. Often referred to as PVA.
POT LIFE: Amount of time after
mixing a two-part paint system during which it
can be applied.
PRIME COAT OR PRIMER: The first
coat or undercoat that helps bind the topcoat
to the substrate.
PROPELLANT: The gas used to
expel materials from aerosol containers.
PUTTY: Doughlike mixture of
pigment and oil used to set glass in window frames
and to fill nail holes and cracks.
SHELLAC: Derived from a resinous
substance called Lac. Used as a sealer and finish
for floors, for sealing knots and other purposes.
A natural resin, usually in the form of thin flakes.
SILICONE: See Resin.
SKIN: Tough covering that forms
on paints if container is not tightly sealed.
SOLIDS: See Nonvolatile.
SOLVENT: The volatile part of
paint composition that evaporates during drying.
SPACKLING COMPOUND: A material
used as crack filler for preparing surfaces before
SPAR VARNISH: A very durable
varnish designed for service on exterior surfaces.
SPATTER: Small particles or
drips of liquid paint thrown or expelled when
SPOT PRIMING: A method of protecting
localized spots. The only areas primed are those
that require additional protection due to rusting
or peeling of the former coat.
SPRAYING: A method of application
in which the coating material is broken up into
a fine mist that is directed onto the surface
to be coated.
SPREADING RATE: The area to
which paint can be spread; usually expressed as
square feet per gallon.
STAIN: A solution or suspension
of coloring matter in a vehicle designed primarily
to be applied to create color effects rather than
to form a protective coating. A transparent or
semi-opaque coating that colors without completely
obscuring the grain of the surface.
STIPPLING: A finish made by
using a stippling brush or roller stippler or
a newly painted surface before the paint is dry.
STREAKING: The irregular occurrence
of lines or streaks of various lengths and colors
in an applied film; usually caused by some form
STRIP: Removal of old finishes
with paint removers.
STYRENE-BUTADIENE: See Resin.
SUBSTRATE: Surface to be painted.
SURFACE TENSION: The property
of a coating that makes it tend to shrink when
TACK RAG: A piece of loosely
woven cloth that has been dipped into varnish
oil and wrung out. When it becomes tacky or sticky,
it is used to wipe a surface to remove particles
TACKY: Sticky condition of coating
during drying, between wet and dry-to-touch stage.
TEXTURE: The roughness or irregularity
of a surface.
WRINKLING: Development of ridges
and furrows in a paint film when the paint dries.
YELLOWING: Development of a
yellow color or cast in white, a pastel, colored
or clear finishes.
ZINC CHROMATE: Rust-inhibiting
pigment, greenish-yellow in color that is used
with a high-hiding pigment.
ZINC OXIDE: Substance used as
a white pigment for high-hiding power hardness
and gloss. Reduces yellowing, increases drying;
provides resistance to sulfur fumes and mildew.
Used with linseed oil for self-cleaning exterior
BODY: The thickness or thinness
of a liquid paint.
BOXING: Mixing paint by pouring
from one container to another several times to
ensure thorough mixing.
BREATHE: The ability of a paint
film to permit the passage of moisture vapor without
causing blistering, cracking, or peeling.
BRIDGING: Ability of paint to
span small gaps or cracks through its cohesion
and elastic qualities.
BRISTLE: The working part of
a brush containing natural bristles (usually hog
hair) or artificial bristles (nylon or polyester).
BRUSHABILITY: The ability or
ease with which paint can be brushed.
BRUSH MARKS: Marks of brush
that remain in the dried paint film.
BRUSH-OUT: A technique sometimes
used to influence a large sale that consists of
brushing out a sample of paint onto a slab of
wood or other material so the customer can see
how the finished job will look.
BUBBLES: Air bubbles in a drying
paint film caused by excessive brushing during
application or by over vigorous mixing that results
in air trapment.
BUILD: Thickness or depth of
a paint film.
BURNING IN: Repairing a finish
by melting stick shellac into the damaged places
by using a heated knife blade or iron.
BURNISHING: Shiny or lustrous
spots on a paint surface caused by rubbing.
CALCIMINE: A water-thinned paint
composed essentially of calcium carbonate or clay
CAMEL HAIR: Trade name for tail
hair from various types of Russian squirrels.
Used for signwriter, lacquering brushings and
CATALYST: An ingredient that
speeds up a chemical reaction; sometimes used
in two component paint systems.
CAULKING COMPOUND: A semidrying
or slow drying plastic material used to seal joints
or fill crevices around windows, chimneys.
CHALKING: The formation of a
loose powder or the surface of paint after exposure
to the elements.
CHECKING: A kind of paint failure
in which many small cracks appear in the surface
of the paint.
CLEAR COATING: A transparent
protective and/or decorative film.
COALESCING: The settling or
drying of an emulsion paint as the water evaporates.
COATING: paint, varnish, lacquer
or other finish used to create a protective and/or
COHESION: Attraction of molecules
within a coating (how it holds together).
DURABILITY: The ability of paint
to last or hold up well against the destructive
agents such as weather, sunlight, detergents,
air pollution, abrasion or marring.
DYE, DYESTUFF: A colored material
used just to dye or change color with little or
no hiding of the underlying surface.
EFFLORESCENCE: A deposit of
salts that remain on the surface of masonry, brick
or plaster when water has evaporated.
EGGSHELL FINISH: The degree
of gloss between a flat and gloss finish.
EMULSION PAINT: Paint in which
particles are suspended in water or oil with the
aid of an emulsifier as in latex paint.
ENAMEL: Broad classification
paints that dry to a hard finish. They may be
flat, gloss or semi-gloss.
EPOXY: Clear finish having excellent
adhesion qualities; extremely abrasion and chemical
resistant. Epoxies are alcohol proof and very
EROSION: The wearing away of
a paint film caused by exposure to the weather.
ETCH: Surface preparation by
chemical means to improve the adhesion of coating.
EXTENDER: Inexpensive and inert
pigment added to paint for bulk and to lower costs.
EXTERIOR: The outside surfaces
of a structure.
FADING: The loss of color due
to exposure to light, heat or weathering.
FEATHER SANDING: Tapering the
edge of dried paint film with sandpaper.
FERRULE: The metal band that
connects the handle and stock of a paintbrush.
FILLER: A product used to fill
the pores of wood before applying a prime of finish
FILLER STRIPS: Strips made from
specially treated wood, metal. Fiber or plastic
in the center of a paintbrush, creating a reservoir
of paint, thereby greatly increasing the paint
FILM: Layer or coat of paint
or other finish.
FINISH COAT: Last coat of paint
or other finish.
FLAKING: A form of paint failure
characterized by the detachment of small pieces
of the film from the surface of previous coat
of paint. Cracking or blistering usually precedes
FLASH POINT: The temperature
at which a coating or solvent will ignite.
FLAT: A paint surface that scatters
or absorbs the light falling on it so as to be
substantially free from gloss or sheen.
HIBITOR: Material such as primer
used to retard rusting or corrosion.
INTERCOAT ADHESION: The adhesion
between two coats of paint.
INTERIOR: The inside surfaces
of a structure.
INTERMEDIATE COAT: The coating
between the primer and finish often called a barrier
JOINT CEMENT: Cement used for
drywall construction; also used as a bedding compound
for joint tape and as a filler for nail holes.
JOINT TAPE: Special paper or
paper-faced cotton tape used over joints between
wallboard to conceal the joint and provide a smooth
surface for painting.
KALSOMINE: See Calcimine.
LACQUER: A fast-drying clear
pigmented coating that dries by solvent evaporation.
LAP: To lay or place one coat
so its edge extends over and covers the edge of
a previous coat, causing an increased film thickness.
LATEX: A water-thinned paint,
such as a polyvinyl acetate, styrene butadiene
LEVELING: Ability of a film
to flow out free from ripples, pockmarks and brush
marks after application.
LIFTING: The softening and penetration
of a previous film by solvents in the paint being
applied over it, resulting in raising and wrinkling.
LIGHTFASTNESS: No loss of color
due to exposure to light, heat or weathering.
LINSEED OIL: A drying oil used
in paint, varnish and lacquer.
MARINE VARNISH: Varnish specially
designed for immersion in water and exposure to
MASKING: Temporary covering
of areas not to be painted.
MASKING TAPE: A strip of paper
or cloth similar to adhesive tape, which can be
easily removed, used to temporarily cover areas
that are not to be painted.
MASTIC: A heavy-bodied paste
like coating of high build often applied with
METALLICS: A class of paints
that include metal flakes in their composition.
MILDEW RESISTANCE: The ability
of a coating to resist the growth of molds and
mildew. Mildew is particularly prevalent in moist,
humid and warm climates.
MILDEWCIDE: An agent that helps
prevent molds or mildew growth on paint.
REMOVERS: Substances used to
soften old varnish or paint so they may be removed
RESIN: A natural or synthetic
material that is the main ingredient of paint
and that binds ingredients together. It also aids
adhesion to the surface.
ROLLER: A paint application
tool having a revolving cylinder covered with
lambs-wool, fabric, foamed plastic or other material.
ROPINESS: Paint dries with a
stringy look because it did not flow evenly onto
RUNS: Blemished film caused
by excessive flow of coating.
RUST PREVENTATIVE PAINT OR PRIMER:
The first coat of paint applied directly to iron
or steel structures to slow down or prevent rust.
SAGS: Excessive flow, causing
runs or sagging in paint film during application.
Usually caused by applying too heavy a coat of
paint or thinning too much.
SAL SODA: Crystallized sodium
carbonate. It is used for making cleaning solutions
to remove grease and grime from old painted surfaces.
SAND FINISH: Rough finish plaster
SANDING SURFACES: A heavily
pigmented finishing material used for building
the surface to a smooth condition. It is sanded
SATIN FINISH: See Semi-Gloss
SCRUBBABILITY: The ability of
a paint film to withstand scrubbing and cleaning
with water, soap and other household cleaning
SEALER: A thin liquid applied
to seal a surface, to prevent previous paint from
bleeding through from the surface or to prevent
undue absorption of the topcoat into the substrate.
SEEDS: Small, undesirable particles
or granules other than dust found in paint, varnish
SELF-CLEANING: Controlled chalking
of a paint film so dirt does not adhere to the
SEMI-GLOSS: Having a luster
between full and flat.
SEMI-TRANSPARENT: A degree of
hiding greater than transparent but less than
SETTLING: Paint separation in
which pigments accumulate at the bottom of the
SET UP: A film that has dried
so that it is firm is said to have "set up".
SHAKE PAINTER: A rectangular-shaped
flat pad with an attached handle that is used
to paint shingles, shakes and other special surfaces
SHEEN: The degree of luster
of a dried paint film.
SHEEN UNIFORMITY: The even distribution
of luster over the entire surface of an applied
TEXTURE PAINT: Paint that can
be manipulated by brush, roller, trowel or other
tool to produce various effects.
THINNERS: Solvents used to thin
THIXOTROPY: The property of
a material that causes it to change from a thick,
pasty consistency to a fluid consistency upon
agitation, brushing or rolling.
TINT BASE: The basic paint in
a custom color system to which colorants are added.
TONER: Pigmented lacquer sealer
that is applied by spray. Toners provide color
and make the surface appear more even.
TOUCH UP: The ability of a coating
film to be spot repaired (usually within a few
months of initial painting) without showing color
or gloss differences.
TURPENTINE: A colorless liquid,
which is used as a thinner for oil paints and
varnishes, distilled from the products of the
UNDERCOAT: A primer or intermediate
coating before the finish coating.
VARNISH: Transparent liquid
that dries on exposure to air to give a decorative
and protective and protective coating when applied
as a thin film.
VARNISH STAIN: Varnishes colored
with a dye and without the same power of penetrations
as the true stains, leaving a colored coating
on the surface.
VEHICLE: The liquid portion
of paint composed mainly of solvents, resins or
VINYL: A resin with poor adhesion
but good hardness, flexibility and resistance.
Used for swimming pools, tank linings and marine
VISCOSITY: The thickness of
a coating as related to its ability to flow as
WASHABILITY: The ability of
a paint to be easily cleaned without wearing away
WATER EMULSIONS: Mixture of
pigment and synthetic resin in water with low
solvent emission, low fire hazard and toxicity
and good durability and chemical resistance.
WATER SPOTTING: A paint appearance
defect caused by water droplets.
WEATHERING: The effect of exposure
to weather on paint films.
WET EDGE: Length of time a wall
paint can stand and be brushed back in to the
next stretch without showing a lap.
WITHERING: Withering a loss
of gloss is sometimes caused by varnishing open-pore
woods without filling pores, use of improper undercoating
or applying top coat before undercoat has dried.
WOOD FILLER: There are two kinds
of fillers-paste and liquid. Paste fillers are
something like a very thick paint and are composed
of some solid powdered substance, usually silica
or powdered quartz, mixed with linseed oil or
varnish thinned with turpentine or benzine.
Glossary of terms provided by http://www.goldenglowpaints.com/