House Painters Glossary of Painting Terms
Talk to Your House Painters with Confidence
House Painters are trained and experienced in their trade.
Like any specialized profession, they use terms that can confuse anyone who is not familiar with the industry.
You will not need to know all of these terms, but this Glossary should help you to better understand the work of your professional house painters.
Adhesion – How well dry paint stays attached to the surface.
Aeration – Bubbles that form in paints during preparation and can affect the application.
Atomize – When a paint gun turns paint into particles or mist.
Bare Substrate – A surface without a coat of paint.
Base – The initial layer in a multiple part paint application.
Blast Cleaning – Surface preparation of steel by use of compression propelled abrasive
Bleeding – Discoloration in a new coat of paint when the old application shows through.
Blending – Merging two colors together so the difference is indiscernible. Also called feathering.
Blistering – Bubbles under the surface of a paint coat.
Blushing – Milky look caused by moisture mixing into drying paint. Also called grinning through.
Breathe – Allowing moisture from the surface through the paint.
Bridging – When the base does not fill in a flaw or scratch.
Brittle – Dry paint coat lacking in flexibility.
Checking – Small cracks marring the paint surface. Also called crows feet or crazing.
Chipping – Removing paint and particles with a sharpened implement.
Cissing – Retraction of paint into indents which causes the surface to show through.
Color Match – Two colors with no visible difference.
Crocodiling – When wide, crossing cracks form in paint layers.
Curdling – Partial drying of paint.
Delamination – Peeling of paint. Also called flake-off.
Grinding – Removal of flaws by mechanical sanding.
Hardness – A paints resistance to damage.
Hiding Power – Paints ability to cover the surface or layer of paint underneath. Also called opacity.
Hold-Out – A paints ability to resist the next coat soaking into it.
Jelling – When paint dries before application.
Lap – Section where an application extends over another coat.
Lifting – When moisture reaches and swells an undercoat, wrinkling the topcoat.
Livering – Thickening of paint that indicates it is jelling.
Mudcracking – Cracks formed by paint shrinking when it dries.
Masking – Using tape and other coverings to prevent paint from applying to certain areas.
Nap – Paint roller fibers.
Overspray – Sprayed paint that does not hit the surface.
Peeling – Curling and detaching of paint from loss of adhesion.
Re-Coat Time – Time necessary before a second application.
Runs – Thin, downward ribbons of paint. Also called sags.
Spot Priming – Applying primer to small areas where the surface has become exposed.
Substrate – Surface which will be painted.
Touch-Dry – When paint no longer feels tacky to the touch.
Water Spotting – Spots created by a reaction of paint to water when drying.
Additive – Chemical introduced to paint to change or add properties.
Acrylic – Paint created from a group of plastics, known for its color and gloss.
Air Dry – Allowing paint to dry at room temperature. Air drying paints are designed for this.
Alkyd – A synthetic material added to oil-based paints that can modify other properties.
Anti-Condensation Paint – Paint that will minimize the effects of moisture.
Anti-Corrosive Paint – Paint designed to prevent corrosion on steel.
Basecoat – High color paint that requires a clear finish.
Binder – Component in the paint that holds it together and allows adhesion.
Brushability – Ease of applying a coat with a paint brush. Also called consistency.
Cast – A shade of a color.
Catalyst – Additive that speeds drying time and improves other elements. Also called activator,
accelerator, or curing agent.
Coat – A single application of paint.
Colorant – Pigment used to create the color in paint.
Color Fast – Color able to retain its cast over time. Also called color retention.
Contrast Ratio – Ability of paint to hide the previous coat.
Coverage – How well a paint spreads over the surface.
Concentration – Ratio of elements that cause the sheen of the paint.
Cure – Process of paint drying.
Die-Back – Loss of gloss over time.
Durability – How well paint holds up to the elements.
Fading – Loss of color and/or gloss over time.
Filler – Substance used to fill in dents and damage, and smooth masonry.
Flex Agent – Additive that decreases brittleness.
Gloss – Amount that paint reflects light.
Gloss Retention – Ability of a paint to maintain its shine.
Hard Setting – When solid paint collects at the bottom of a container.
Hue – The primary color of a paint.
Intumescent Paint – Paint that swells when exposed to flame, allowing extra time for
Lacquer – A clear coat of paint that dries quickly.
Metamerism – When two colors match under one but not all conditions.
Mildew Resistance – A paint’s ability to prevent mildew growth.
Moisture Resistance – A paints ability to withstand moisture and prevent the damage it can cause.
Pigment – Part of the paint that provides the color.
Primer – Paint designed to prepare a surface for other coats. It often protects the surface as well.
Resin – Binding agents in paint.
Sealer – Paint that prevents interactions between coats before and after it.
Sheen – Gloss level of paint.
Skinning – When a thick layer forms on the top of paint in a can.
VOC – Volatile Organic Compounds are components in paint regulated by the EPA.
Color Wheel – List of colors that helps in choosing paint.
Corrosion – Corruption of metal by other elements and materials.
Crown Molding – Molding that gracefully flares at the top edge of a wall.
Depth – Comparative lightness or darkness between shades of color.
Epoxy – A stain-resistant coat that fills some flaws.
E.P.A. – Government agency in charge of environmental regulations.
Humidity – Amount of moisture in the air.
Masonry – Structures made from minerals.
Mildew – Fungus that can grow on paint and epoxy, especially in damp, low light conditions.
M.S.D.S. – Sheets with safety information on all chemicals, including paints.
Putty – Substance for filling imperfections.
Trim – Finishing or decorative molding.
Baseboards – Protective and decorative trim at the bottom edge of a wall.
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