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Paint Glossary

All About Paint, Color and Tools: Learn what type of paint to use, which tools will work best and the basics for picking color schemes.

  • Abrasive: A substance used to erode a surface by rubbing. garnet paper, sand paper, and steel wool are examples of abrasives
  • Acrylic: A water based, fast-drying synthetic paint. Pigments are suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. Although acrylic paints are water soluble, they become water-resistant when dry. Acrylic paints are also very elastic, because they contain a binder which allows the paint to remain flexible as it dries. The result is a strong coating which resists cracking.
  • Airless spray machine: The purpose is to spray a coating utilizing hydraulic pressure from a spray machine by a hose and into a airless spray gun to use the atomized coating. It is substantially faster to paint with an airless sprayer than painting with a brush and roller although it requires dexterity and expertise to have it look right. Clean up is complex and the hose and gun have to be cleaned on a daily basis
  • Alkyd: An oil-based synthetic Paint
  • Angle Edge Brushes: Brushes which have tapered bristles at the end
  • AlligatoringAlligatoring: The development of cracks on the paint layer's surface and has an appearance comparable to the skin of an alligator
  • Anti-corrosive paint: A paint produced to decrease corrosion or rust when applied directly to metal. It is frequently a rust inhibitive primer or a direct to metal paint, or a finish paint with rust pevention properties
  • Apron: The piece immediately under the Window Sill that touches the wall and offers a more "complete" and attractive feature to a Window Casing
  • Back Prime: Priming the back side of a surface
  • Baseboard: The finished wood piece placed at the bottom of a wall, running the full length of the wall, and used to cover the joint between the wall and floor
  • Bevel: The higher quality paint roller cover are beveled to guarantee a smooth application without making ridges of paint
  • Bi Fold: A space saving doors that are hinged along the vertical centerline and fold together
  • Bleaching: A degradation of paint color, frequently due to extended sun exposure. Shows up faster and more evident with exterior paints that are blue or green, nevertheless it will ensue in all colors sooner or later
  • Block Sanding: Using a small wood block with a piece of sand paper wrapped around it to sand larger flat areas
  • Boxing: Pouring paint containers back and forth to blend them
  • Caulk: A material that comes in tubes which is used to fill cracks, crevices, gaps, and seams
  • Chalking: Deterioration of the surface of an exterior paint due to dry arid weather into a powder-like substance. This frequently happens with low-grade oil based paints which have above average levels of pigment extenders. Chalk should be removed before painting
  • Casing: The external pieces of trim that surround an opening, like a window or door. It also covers the inside edge of the jambs and the rough opening
  • Coalescent: An organic solvent used in latex paints assist in producing film. It helps the binder develop a constant film when applied, especially at the lower base of the application temperature range suggested for the coating
  • Coating: A lacquer, paint, stain, varnish, or other finish that provides a protective and/or decorative layer
  • Color retention: The ability of a paint to maintain its primary color and resist fading
  • Color selection: Color selection has a strong influence on paint performance, especially longevity. The amounts of UV and heat absorbed and reflected by different colors will vary. It is important to keep these factors in mind when using color selection resources
  • color chartColor wheel: A circular chart with wedge-shaped segments of different specific colors. Any color can be created from primary colors, red, yellow and blue
  • Colorfast: The ability to resist fading
  • Cracking: The breaks in uneven lines large enough to show the underlying surface. Different forms are hair-line cracking, checking, crazing, grain cracking, or alligatoring
  • Cratering: The formation of holes in a paint or varnish attributed to contamination
  • Curing: The chemical reaction of a coating during the drying process
  • Cutting In: Meticulous painting of an edge like a wall color at the ceiling line or at the edge of woodwork
  • De-glosser: Frequently used on oil based paints in preparation for water-based paints to take off the gloss of a painted layer
  • Degreaser: Solvent or compounded material applied to a surface to remove oils or grease
  • Dry Roller: A paint roller which is rolled with paint
  • Drying Time and Durability: Oil and alkyd based paints dry slowly. During application they are susceptible to insects and sudden rainstorms. However, once set up they are exceptionally durable. Latex paints are easier to work with, dry quickly, and have a porous, "breathing" quality that minimizes most moisture problems. They do have a tendency to peel, however, if applied over an improperly prepared oil- or alkyd-based finish, especially if it's a "chalking-type" latex paint
  • Efflorescence: Efflorescence is a type of discoloration. It is a deposit, usually white in color and caused by a number of conditions: soluble salts in the material, moisture to dissolve the salts, and vapor transmission that brings the solution upwards to the surface
  • Emulsion Paint: A blend in which one liquid is dispersed in another such as latex paint
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): An agency of the federal government that has the responsibility of protecting the environment
  • Epoxy: A special Paint that is made from chemicals that when combined together or when exposed to air, will form a highly tight internal bond and be able to resist standing water or extreme surface abuse
  • Extension Sticks: Usually wood strips that come in multiple lengths, and used to attach to roller handles (or to paint brushes) to enable reaching greater distances
  • Faux: The technique of applying Paint to change the appearance of a surface from what it was to a different surface such as multi-colored, sand-textured, suede textured, metallic finishes, patinas (oxidized metals), or "antique" finish
  • Flat Edge Brushes: Brushes that have no taper on the bristle edge
  • Glazing Compound: making use of glazing putty to produce a tight seal which can maintain dryness and prevent water from seeping in. Homeowners usually have to replace glazing compound, when a window is damaged or when and aged compound starts to crack and peel
  • Gold Leaf: Paint made from hammered out thin leaves of gold
  • Gloss: A type of Paint finish which has a high Sheen and is highly light reflective
  • Gloss Retention: The ability of a coating to maintain its gloss: pertains especially to semi-gloss and gloss exterior coatings. The sun can beat down and dull the gloss of a paint and make it appear much more flat than it really is
  • latex house paintJoint Compound: A compound made of gypsum, clay, and latex resin that is used to seal wall joints or fill shallow holes
  • Lacquer Thinner: A solvent blend for thinning Lacquer Paint and removing Grease
  • Latex Paint: A synthetic water based Paint
  • Linseed Oil: A natural drying oil made from the Flax Seeds and can vary the thickness of the paint, from very dense and clumpy to thin and ephemeral
  • Long Handle Brush: Brushes with longer handles than regular brushes
  • Marine Finishes: Paints and varnishes uniquely made to hold up against immersion in saltwater and exposure to a marine climate
  • Moisture Protection: The most common cause of premature paint failure on wood is moisture. When properly applied to the appropriate type of wood substrate, paint can give a service life of up to 10 years.
  • Mineral Spirits: Petroleum solvent used for thinning or cleaning up paint
  • Multi-color spraying: Spraying a surface with two or more separate colors at one time from one gun. The multiple colors exist individually within the material and when sprayed, create an connecting color network with each color retaining its unique properties
  • Nap: The length of fibers on a Roller Cover ranging from 3/16" to 1 1/4"
  • Paint Adhesion Testing: Professional painters use paint adhesion testing to determine if the paint or coating will adhere properly to the substrates to which they are applied
  • Paint Failures: Common paint failures include dirt, stain, discoloration, fading, yellowing, uneven color, peeling, cracking, sagging, and wrinkling (learn more here)
  • Paint Thinner: A solvent used for thinning or cleaning-up paint
  • Patching: Usage of spackle or other compounds to repair shallow depressions, cracks or other surface defects
  • Peeling: The detachment of paint from the surface in ribbons or sheets. Paint peels because of excessive humidity or moisture, or when applied to a damp, dirty or greasy surface
  • Priming: This technique creates a binding surface for the paint surface to insure a better bond
  • Purpose of Exterior Painting: The purpose of painting is to improve the aesthetic of a building and to protect it from damage by water, rust, corrosion, insects and mold.
  • Putty: A compound used for filling holes in woodwork and secure panes of glass
  • Resins: Normally transparent or translucent semi-solid or solid substances of either vegetable or synthetic origin such as polyesters, epoxies, and silicones that are used with fillers
  • Runs - SagsRuns: Also known as sags or drips. It happens when wet paint that is overloaded in one area droops down unevenly
  • Satin: A latex/acrylic or oil based medium-gloss paint that reflects light slightly
  • Scraper: A tool used to remove paint from surfaces
  • Sealers: Material used to provide a water (and sometimes ultra violet light) barrier to a surface
  • Surface Preparation: Ensures adhesion of the coating to the substrate and prolongs the service life of the coating system (read more here)
  • Semi Gloss: A type of Sheen paint finish that is commonly used on surfaces that require frequent washing, or cleaning, it reflects light more than a satin finish
  • Sheen: A light reflective property of a painted surface
  • Soffit: Located under the overhang of a house, the covering between the wall of the house and the outer edge of the roof
  • Spot Priming: Using a Primer or Primer-Sealer locally for a small local area
  • Stucco: A surface finish that is produced by swirling or moving the applicator when applying the surface material, usually Plaster
  • Texture Paint: a special paint that will hold textured designs, like stippling, even once dry
  • Turpentine: A yellow-colored, sticky liquid that comes from pine gum or pine wood and recommended for use with Varnish
  • Undercoating: The first coat in repainting. It is a softer paint and is used as a cushion against knocks and like a non-slip mat between the old and new coats which are more firm
  • Undertone: A color covered up by other colors. A subtle or subdued color you see when the paint is spread very thinly
  • Urethane: A paint that is extremely durable, and resist chipping - when properly maintained, a coat of urethane paint will outlast most acrylic paints
  • Varnish: A natural or synthetic transparent material used for protecting wood surfaces, frequently once they are stained

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Entrepreneur of the Year Talk of the Town Award
The Princeton Review
From the moment Christine knocked on our door early last spring inquiring if we needed a paint job to the final product, she was on top of everything. They were top-notch painters and worked tirelessly to complete the job and even included a few extra areas that they felt needed to be done to achieve painting perfection. Their cleanup was absolutely spotless!

J. Vranich

Arlington, VA

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