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Glossary

Common Paint Industry Terms

In the world of painting, there are so many decisions to make that can affect the final result: alkyd or acrylic, foam roller cover or lint-free, eggshell or high gloss? We put together this glossary to explain the top paint industry terms and help make those decisions a little easier.
Jump to: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
A
Acrylic Copolymer
Copolymerization is a process of modifying a manufactured plastic to give it special characteristics, such as an ability to stick to surfaces, or stay wet during application. An acrylic copolymer is just a modified acrylic resin made to do specific things. In the case of Sure Step, it helps with the coating’s unique sticking and staying powers.
Acrylic paint
Acrylic paint (also known as latex paint) gets its name because it’s made with acrylic resin. Acrylic resin is a type of plastic that becomes soft when heated and hard when it cools. It’s a popular binder for paint and keeps the pigment and water together in a fluid mixture you can apply as a paint. You can thin acrylic paint with water (this is more common in art projects and not recommended in house painting) and wash it away when it’s wet, but it dries quickly, and once dry, it’s water resistant. Acrylic paint is durable and flexible, stretchy and resistant to cracking, almost like a rubber. Acrylic paints are also non-flammable, non-toxic, long-lasting and hold up extremely well to weathering and exposure. Acrylic’s wide range of benefits, in combination with being low VOC and easy to use and clean, make it a premium paint, with 100% acrylic resin representing the highest quality available. Manufacturers are working every day to create new acrylic alternatives that offer the same benefits, or advanced benefits at a lower cost.
Acrylic resin
Acrylic resin is a thermoplastic, or heatable plastic that sets at room temperature. It’s a common binding ingredient in acrylic/latex paint. It’s a popular choice for paint indoors and outdoors because it holds up again stains, cracking, blistering, alkali burn, weathering, yellowing and once set, can last for decades. Acrylic resin is at a higher price point than alternatives like vinyl resin, and will often be found in a higher ratio, such as 100% acrylic resin, in higher-quality paints.
Alkali
An alkali is a corrosive substance in high doses. Saltwater, baking soda, soap, ammonia, bleach and drain cleaner are all examples of alkaline substances. The pH scale is a measure of a substance’s acidity and, at the opposite end, its alkalinity, with neutral water right in the middle. Certain materials like new mortar, concrete, stucco and cement have higher alkalinity and can eat away at coatings and paints applied overtop, leading to blistering and peeling. This is why when painting, it’s important to either let materials cure and reduce in alkalinity before applying coatings, use a paint that holds up against alkali, or to choose a sealer or primer that can cover and block alkaline substances (like Seal Lock Plus) so you can use any topcoat.
Alkyd
Alkyd is a modified polyester (or synthetic oil) and has long been a popular binder (a.k.a. resin) in oil-based paint. Oil-based alkyds are high-performing, both in how well they wear and for how long. But in recent decades there’s been an industry shift to lower VOC, water-based products and a number of alkyds have been released that are now water based. A water-borne alkyd is more environmentally friendly, but still retains its tough alkyd characteristics.
Angled Brush
An angled brush has its bristles cut on an angle to allow for more precise, clean lines. This is especially important when painting trim near windows, doors and ceilings, where lines need to be straight.
B
Back Roll / Back Rolling
Texture is so crucial in painting, because it changes the way a surface catches the light. The same paint colour can appear darker or lighter, just by having a slightly different texture. And what you don’t want is texture to be an accidental by-product of the application. After paint has been sprayed onto walls or ceilings, back rolling is using a dry roller and rolling it across the newly applied paint. This evens out the texture of the freshly sprayed paint, so that it looks uniform and professional.
Beaver Tail
Just like with the rat tail brush, the beaver tail brush gets its name its handle, which is wide and thick, like a beaver tail. This flat wall paint brush is for heavy lifting, vs. precision, and painting large areas. The thick, short handle allows the user to get a good grip, while the long bristles carry a lot of paint.
Bleeding
When the substance or coating beneath a paint seeps through to the surface of the paint, this is called bleeding. It shows up as reddish or yellowish spots of discolouration in the topcoat of the paint. Certain materials, substances and stains can bleed and interfere with paint, and so there needs to be a barrier between the two layers. This is often where a primer or sealant comes in, like Block Out or Aqua Lock.
Blistering
Blistering looks like a layer of bubbles along the surface of a topcoat. The paint is pulling away and separating from the coating or substance below it, which can happen for a few different reasons. Typically, there’s something on the surface that isn’t paint friendly, like mildew or dirt. Temperature can also have a huge effect: applying paint when it’s raining, humid, hot or frosty out can also cause blistering. Applying an oil-based paint over a damp surface can also have the same effect.
C
Coating
Coating refers to paints and primers, as well as other types of products you can apply on surfaces. This includes epoxies, sealants, stains, crack-fillers, fire-retardants and more. A coating can be a base coat, a topcoat, a gloss, a varnish, a clear coat—anything you can apply by brush or spray in layers that forms a coat.
Cure Time
Many paints and resin-like substances (like epoxy, glue, concrete, nail polish) need time to “cure,” or set permanently after an application so that it won’t come off or deteriorate with washing or exposure to water and the elements. Cure time refers to the time it takes for this permanent settling of the material to happen and it is different from drying. A coat of paint can be dry within two hours but can need weeks to fully cure. Cure time changes with each material and can be affected by humidity, the surface, thickness of application, and more. It’s important to note cure times for products so that you don’t interfere with them prematurely and risk damaging the application.
Cut and Roll
This is a painter expression that describes how to paint a wall in two steps: first, you “cut in,” using a brush to paint the edges around the ceiling, baseboards, electrical outlets and other awkward spots. Second, you roll, using a roller to paint the rest of the wall up to the cut lines, so the whole wall is covered.
Cut Lines
If cutting-in is painting around the edge of a surface with a small brush (like near baseboards, trim or ceilings), cut lines are the pre-drawn marks that act as a guide. Ceilings can often be uneven and painting a line up to the ceiling’s actual edge can draw attention to irregularities. Measuring a standard cutline and pencilling the line in at a consistent measurement that’s level, like for example, a centimetre from the ceiling on all sides, is a common practise in professional painting projects.
Cutting-In Trim / Cut In
When painting a wall, the first step is to paint the edges and trim around the ceiling, baseboards, electrical outlets and any other awkward areas with a smaller detailed brush, and then paint the larger surfaces last with something bigger, like a roller. A common way to prep for painting is to cover baseboards and details with painter’s tape to protect anything that shouldn’t be painted from accidents. Cutting-in is manually painting in even, horizontal or vertical lines along the edge of the painting area, without using any tape. It takes a steady hand, and typically is the hallmark of a professional, but it can save time (and tape) and look great.
D
D.T.M.
Direct to metal, or D.T.M. means that a paint or coating can be applied directly to a metal surface and still have strong adhesion. A standard interior or exterior paint won’t apply directly to metal without peeling off. Typically, a specific primer is needed or a type of paint specifically designed for metal, like the Ultra Spec HP D.T.M. Acrylic Enamel.
Dry Fall / Drop Dry Paint
As the name suggests, spray-on dry fall paint dries before it hits the ground. Generally, the fall rate, or amount of feet the paint needs to dry, is between 10 and 15 feet. One of the biggest upsides to dry fall, besides the fact that it dries to the touch in 15 minutes, is that any paint or overspray that lands on the ground or on nearby objects is dry and can be vacuumed or dusted away. No messy cleanup, and often little prep required, it’s a popular paint choice for industrial and commercial spaces.
Dry Time
This refers to the time it takes for a coating or paint application to dry to the touch. Knowing the dry time of a product in advance is helpful for managing projects and timing recoats. Each coating product will have a minimum dry time, which can vary greatly by brand, ingredients and sheen (for ex. Aura Bath and Spa is one hour, Natura is 30 minutes, Ben Interior is two hours for eggshell). Most Benjamin Moore products will also list the recoat dry time, which can differ from the first coat significantly.
E
Efflorescence
As masonry is exposed to air over time, it dries out. As a result, a chalky or powdery residue can form on its surface. This is typical of brick, rock, stone, concrete, etc. Certain paints, primers or sealants have better blocking powers to provide a barrier or seal for masonry to make them less susceptible to efflorescence.
Eggshell
A real-life eggshell is an accurate reference here, as eggshell is a flat finish with just a touch of gloss. (If numbers are a helpful guide, the gloss in an eggshell finish is between 10 and 25%.) It’s the next glossy step up from flat/matte and is a bit more durable, but it behaves in much the same way. It’s harder to clean than a glossy paint, but it’s good at hiding imperfections in low-traffic areas. Choosing between the two sheens would be a matter of taste and maintenance preference.
Emulsifier
An emulsifier is something that’s added to keep fluids well mixed. Especially if certain ingredients in the mixture don’t naturally mix well. For example, latex paints are a mixture of plastic particles in water (also called an emulsion), that require an emulsifying agent to keep an even and functional consistency—in other words, to keep paint looking and acting like paint. Different coatings require different types of emulsifiers when they’re created, or they can sometimes need additional emulsifiers as they age and separate (like old cans collecting dust in the garage).
Enamel paint
Enamel paint has an alkyd resin base and that’s typically high-gloss and can cover oil-based paint or varnishes. Enamel paint has a reputation for being a hard surface paint, that’s thick and durable, which makes it great for outdoor projects and surfaces that will face a lot of wear and tear.
Epoxy
Epoxy is basically like a glue paint. It goes on clear and hardens to form a fairly indestructible coating on myriad surfaces. It’s tough, durable and water-resistant, and therefore a great choice for sealing concrete floors or covering garage and patio floors.
F
Fisheye
On a painted surface, a fisheye is a small circle or crater surrounded by paint that shows up during or shortly after you apply paint. Some form of contamination has gotten on the surface, or in your paint, and it is pushing the paint away from it, just like a drop of dish soap repels grease in water. Contaminants could be grease, oil, wax or silicone. The best way to fix this is to strip the paint, clean the area and repaint.
Flashing
Flashing is what happens when a coating, often paint or drywall, is applied to a surface unevenly. The unevenness changes the sheen or lustre of the coat, making it shine and catch the light in patches that visibly stand out from the rest of the coat. Flashing can greatly detract from the overall look and can happen for a few reasons. Unsealed or unprimed surfaces absorb paint at different rates, while poor painting technique (cutting in, instead of using straight, even strokes) can create inconsistencies in paint thickness, texture and direction.
Flat
Flat or matte is a paint sheen, with little-to-no shine (a.k.a. gloss) on its surface after it has been applied. Instead of reflecting light like other sheens, flat/matte paint absorbs it. This makes it excellent for hiding brush strokes, marks and imperfections in walls and ceilings. Flat paint is the hardest to clean, and so it’s best suited for low-traffic areas where spills and dirt aren’t a constant threat: bedrooms, living rooms, and hallways are all great examples. A flat or matte sheen contains a percentage of gloss that’s between 1-9%.
Fogging / Blushing / Blooming
Fogging, blushing and blooming are all related side effects of temperature or humidity changes that happen before your paint has a chance to cure. The result looks like a white haze or fog on the paint’s surface.
G
Gennex Colour Technology
Benjamin Moore discovered that they could make stronger, higher-quality paints if they made their own colourants, and that is Gennex Colour Technology. Gennex paint holds up to harsh weather conditions, resists fading and lasts longer both indoors and out.
H
Hat Banding
When painting a wall, a brush is used to first paint the trim and other awkward areas, and then a roller is used on the big flat surfaces. Both a paint brush and a roller produce different textures in the paint, and so hat banding is when you see the contrast of the different textures together on one wall. To fix, paint over the painted trim sections with a roller brush, getting as close as you can to the edges (also known as back rolling). This will cover and smooth out more of the painted brush texture with the roller’s texture, making a more uniform wall.
Hide
Hide refers to a paint’s level of opacity when it’s applied to a surface. A high hide paint will go on more opaquely, showing less of the surface or drywall underneath. Typically, high hide will cover most of the surface below in just one coat. As a result, high hide paints cover better and require fewer coats. A high hide is often characteristic of a more premium paint. Hide can also be affected by colour. Black is naturally more hiding than yellow, for example. So opting for a high, exceptional or extreme hide paint can save a lot of time (and money) with lighter, brighter paint colours or drastic colour changes.
High Build
High build speaks to a paint or primer’s ability to look thick and stay thick. If a paint isn’t high-build and is applied in thick coats, it won’t keep its position and will eventually slide down the wall. A high-build paint is higher quality paint that often goes on in fewer coats, has a more luxurious looking finish and costs more as a result.
High Gloss
High Gloss is the shiniest paint finish that reflects the most light of all the sheens. It’s the easiest to clean, the most durable, stain resistant and water-resistant. It’s perfect for bathrooms, kitchens, dining rooms and outdoor spaces that experience a lot of traffic, moisture, weather, and wear and tear. The downside of high gloss is that it is highly reflective and therefore shows off every mark, every blemish. As a percentage, high gloss contains 70-89% gloss.
I
Intumescent
An intumescent is a substance that swells when it’s exposed to heat. This swelling blocks the material underneath (like, for example, a wood beam) from flames. Fire-retardant paints are often intumescent.
L
Lapping
After painting a surface, it looks like layers of paint are overlapping, wih some areas appearing darker than others or showing a marked change in sheen—this is lapping. This can happen a few different ways. If you haven’t maintained a “wet edge” while painting, some areas have accidentally received two coats. This can also happen if you’re painting on an unsealed surface, or if it’s particularly hot out during the application. The best way to prevent against lapping is to make sure surfaces are primed properly and maintain the wet edge at all times.
Latex
Latex itself is a plant-based derivative that’s used as a binder in paint. Latex paints are made from acrylic resin, water-based, water soluble, they have fewer VOCs (Volatile Organic Compound) than oil- and chemical-based paint, and can wash off with soap and water. Latex paint also doesn’t smell as strongly as other paints because it has fewer chemicals. There are three types of latex paints: vinyl-acrylic, 100% acrylic and alkyd-modified latex. Other benefits of latex are that it’s quick drying, non-flammable, fade-resistant and resists mildew. It doesn’t stick as well to glossy surfaces and it needs 30 days for it to cure before you can wash it.
Low Lustre
Closely related to satin and eggshell, low lustre is a paint finish with a hint of shine. It’s still low gloss but has a slightly higher sheen than eggshell. A low lustre sheen resists stains and is easier to clean than matte paint. As a percentage, low lustre has between 10-25% gloss.
Low Sheen
Closely related to satin and eggshell, low sheen is a paint finish with just a hint of shine. It’s still low gloss but has a slightly higher sheen than eggshell. Also known as low lustre, a low sheen finish resists stains and is easier to clean than matte paint. As a percentage, low sheen has between 10-25% gloss.
Lustre / Gloss
In paint, when people use the term gloss or lustre, they are talking about the paint’s shine, or the amount of light that’s reflecting off the surface of a paint. Paint finishes are organized by sheen, or the amount of gloss they have, and this greatly affects the look, durability, maintenance, application and use of a paint.
M
Matte
Matte or flat is a paint sheen with little-to-no shine (a.k.a. gloss) on its surface after it has been applied. Instead of reflecting light like other sheens, flat/matte paint absorbs it. This makes it excellent for hiding brush strokes, marks and imperfections in walls and ceilings. Flat paint is the hardest to clean, and so it’s best suited for low-traffic areas where spills and dirt aren’t a constant threat: bedrooms, living rooms, and hallways are all great examples. A flat or matte sheen contains a percentage of gloss that’s between 1-9%.
N
Nap Size / Pile Depth
Nap size refers to the thickness of the roller cover (a roller cover is the foam or microfibre sleeve that goes onto a metal roller). Different surfaces call for different lengths or thicknesses of nap. For example, a ¼-inch nap size is for smooth surfaces, like plaster. A little longer ½-inch nap would be good for semi-smooth surfaces, like drywall. For a textured ceiling or semi-rough surfaces like wood, opt for a ¾-inch. Stucco and other heavily textured surfaces would need something quite thick for full coverage, like a 1 ¼-inch. Extremely rough surfaces (like concrete blocks) would take a 1 ½-inch.
O
Oil Based
Originally, all paints and primers were oil based. And while they may take longer to dry, oil-based coatings last longer and can take more abuse. An oil-based coating is made with either alkyd (synthetic) or linseed (natural) oils, and certain surfaces, particularly if they’ve been primed or painted in something oil-based already, will work best with oil-based paint.
Orange Peel
Orange peel refers to a lightly dimpled texture on a painted surface that resembles an orange peel. A light texture on the wall can hide imperfections, and so orange-peel walls are a matter of preference, but the effect isn’t always on purpose. You can buy a spray-on texture or specific orange-peel rollers to create this look, or it can happen naturally by applying a second coat too soon, putting too much pressure on the roller, loading your roller with too much paint or too little. The dimpling happens because the roller is pulling at the paint, with the surface drying out before the texture can level out.
P
Paint Levelling
Ideally, after applying a coat of paint, the surface levels out and settles flat. Some types of paint are self-levelling, to help coats finish smooth. Poor application or use of poor quality materials with non-self-levelling paint can result in unsightly textures setting permanently on the paint’s surface, like brush strokes or roller marks.
Picture Framing
Picture framing is when the paint trim painted along the edges of a wall (see cutting-in trim) is lighter or darker after it dries than the original paint. This can happen if the paint has sat for a while (some colour particles can settle at the bottom), if the original wall colour has faded with light exposure, if the paint wasn’t mixed well to begin with, or if the temperature is different from when it was first applied.
Polyamide
A polyamide is a macromolecule (or large molecule) that can occur in nature or be produced in a lab. Proteins are an example of natural polyamides, but in the textile, paint and automotive industries, polyamide is typically referring to nylon, a synthetic/artificial polyamide. Synthetic polyamides like nylon are used in kitchen utensils, carpets, sportswear and more because of their durability. Benjamin Moore has a special type of epoxy, called Fast Dry Polyamide Epoxy, that uses this polyamide strength to create a tough and long-lasting finish that dries quickly.
Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA)
Mixed with water, PVA or polyvinyl acetate is an odourless, non-toxic glue with a host of uses. Also known as Elmer’s Glue, carpenter glue, school glue, or white glue, PVA is particularly great at sticking to porous surfaces, like wood, paper, cement, plaster and cloth. It goes on white and dries clear. A common ingredient in drywall primer, it works to seal the surface, smoothen things out and makes it easier for paint to stick.
Pre-Catalyzed Epoxy
The hardening agent has been added ahead of time to cut down on steps: a lot of epoxies can be a two-part application. Example products would include Benjamin Moore’s Pre-Catalyzed Waterborne Epoxy.
Primer
A primer is a sealant and base coat used to prime a surface for painting. Not only can a primer cover stains, smells and mildew, but it evens out surfaces and gives paint something to stick to. Some primers are all-around water-based primers that stick to most surfaces and work with most paints. But there are also specialty primers that are used to cover difficult materials (like glass, metal or plastic). The two main types are oil-based and water-based primers. Oil-based works best for applying oil-based paints and if the surface you are covering was painted with oil-based paint. You should never apply paint to raw drywall without priming it first. Drywall will absorb the paint unevenly, so the application will look poor, it might not stick well, and paint can peel off later. Many paints now come with built-in primers, which means paint will stick to surfaces without using a separate primer. The thing to note is that primer is more cost-effective than paint, so use it to cut down on coats of paint when you can.
R
Rat Tail
A rat tail brush is an angled paint brush with a slim handle used for cutting in and painting trim around doors, ceilings, windows and the like. The skinny wooden handle is where it gets the “rat tail” name, and the handle’s narrow size and shape allows for max control and precision.
Roller
A roller is a handheld tool used to hold a roller sleeve. Typically, they’re metal with plastic handles and can be affixed to extenders for hard-to-reach walls and ceilings. A standard roller is nine inches in length, but they do come in four- or seven-inch sizes for narrower areas.
Roller Cover
A roller cover is the sleeve that slides onto a roller. There are two main types, microfibre or lint-free. Lint-free is a synthetic foam cover. This type has less texture, and holds less paint, so it’s more user-friendly and easier to handle for novices trying to paint smoothly. A microfibre roller cover can hold three times more paint than the standard roller cover, which means there’s more room for error, but you can paint that much faster.
S
Satin / Pearl
This is a paint sheen very similar to eggshell in that it has a low shine to it (between 25% to 35% gloss), but it’s known for having a creamy, velvety look. Satin, also referred to as pearl, needs to be applied carefully as it will show every mistake or errant brush stroke. After painting, this finish needs about six or seven days to dry before you’ll see its true colour. On the plus side, it’s very easy to clean and a great paint option for high-traffic hallways, entrances, mud rooms, games basements and kids’ rooms.
Semi-Gloss / Low Gloss
This is a paint finish that reflects light with a noticeable sheen. It has a glossier quality than flat, matte, eggshell, satin, pearl and low-lustre, and a gloss measurement of around 35% to 70%. The benefits of a semi-gloss are that it is highly durable (it resists stains well) and easy to clean—so it’s perfect for high traffic areas in the home: kitchens, bathrooms, trim work, molding, dining rooms and cabinets are all great spots for semi-gloss paint. Good for both indoors and out.
Sheen
Sheen is the amount of light that’s reflected off the surface of a paint. Sheen and gloss are often used to refer to the same thing, but technically sheen is measured by bouncing a light off a paint’s surface at an 85-degree angle, while gloss is measured by bouncing a light off the paint’s surface at a 60-degree angle. Benjamin Moore typically uses the term sheen to describe how much of this reflective quality is in a paint, with sheens that range from dull to shiny. The sheens with the least reflective surfaces start at matte and flat and then go to eggshell, satin, pearl, low lustre, low sheen, semi-gloss and high gloss. The more light that’s reflected on the paint’s surface, the higher the sheen. Sheen also has implications in terms of durability as well. Higher sheen paints, like semi-gloss and high gloss stand up better to damage from moisture, as well as wear and tear, and so high-sheen paints are often used in bathrooms and on high-traffic trims, like baseboards. Lower sheen paints, like matte and eggshell hide imperfections better, because the light doesn’t bounce off changes in texture. Low sheen paints are more difficult to clean than a high gloss and are best suited to low-traffic areas. A paint’s sheen can also be called its finish, as in, what it looks like when it has finished drying.
Shrinking Related to Caulking
Caulking is a popular sealant for filling cracks and gaps around windows to prevent against leaks, drafts or bugs. Caulking contains water, and after it’s applied, the water dries out and the caulking shrinks slightly. If the caulking has been painted or is sitting on paint, this shrinking can cause cracks in the paint as the moisture evaporates.
Solid
Wood stains come in four types, based on transparency, including translucent, semi-translucent, semi-solid and solid. While translucent is clear, solid is completely opaque, meaning that the underlying material (grain or colour) will not be visible through an application of a solid stain.
Solvents
Solvents dissolve other materials. Typically, solvents are liquids (the most common solvent is water), and they’re often used to break down and remove paint. Acetone, turpentine, ethanol and chloroform are all types of solvents. Solvents are even in paint itself, and work to break down the paint so it has that rich, wet, paint-like consistency that’s easy to work with and apply to other substances. After paint is applied, its solvents evaporate, leaving it to dry.
Styrene Acrylate
This is a thermoplastic (a plastic that is pliable when it’s heated and hard when it cools) that has great weather resistance, particularly to sunlight. It’s also known as acrylonitrile styrene acrylate or ASA, and it was developed as an alternative to ABA, or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, which functions the same but ABA degrades with light exposure and led to one of the largest seatbelt recalls in the U.S. ASA has 10 times the weather resistance of ABA and it retains its gloss and colour after continued time outdoors. It’s also resistant to environmental stress cracking, and to alcohols and cleaning supplies. This is what makes it particularly suited to paints and primers for outdoor siding, walls and furniture.
Styrene Acrylic
Styrene is a resin alternative that’s often blended with acrylic to be more cost-effective than 100% acrylic and can have some useful benefits, such as added lustre, and a resistance to water, stains and airborne dirt. It doesn’t resist fading from UV exposure or efflorescence as well as 100% acrylics.
T
Translucent
Paints or coatings that appear clear or let light bass through them, are translucent. This is most commonly a finish for stains. A translucent stain will tint the wood with colour, yet the grain and texture still show through. Stains come in four types, based on transparency: translucent (clear), semi-transparent, semi-solid and solid).
U
Ultra Flat
This is a flatter, light-absorbing version of a standard flat/matte paint. It has zero gloss and has a rich and luxurious matte texture and depth. Just like with a matte finish, ultra flat is fantastic at covering imperfections in the paint and on surfaces. It’s difficult to clean, touch-ups are very challenging to blend in and not tending to spills or stains right away could result in the whole wall having to be repainted. The sophisticated look of an ultra-flat makes it a popular choice for bedrooms, ceilings and living rooms, even if it is more high maintenance.
Urethane
Every paint consists of pigment and some sort of binder material to keep it all together. Urethane paint uses polyurethane as a binder, which also acts as a strong sealant and temperature barrier for concrete, stone and wood. It’s inherently glossy, more durable than enamel paint and a popular choice for outdoor projects.
V
Vinyl Acetate/ Ethylene (VAE)
This is a type of acrylic resin and vinyl resin alternative that is low VOC but still durable and high performing for outdoor use. VAE is engineered to be durable, retain colour well and have low airborne dirt pick-up. Although popular in the UK, there is little evidence that it outperforms 100% acrylic resin, but it is better than vinyl acrylic in outdoor spaces.
Vinyl Acrylic
This is a paint made with a blend of vinyl and acrylic resin. Blending resins can be more cost effective or broaden the range of the paint’s unique benefits. See vinyl paint and acrylic paint for more.
Vinyl Paint
Vinyl paint is a water-based paint that contains vinyl plastic as a binder, as opposed to acrylic resin (vinyl is also often blended with acrylic resin to bring down costs). Vinyl itself is a strong adhesive, soaking into a material’s surface and fusing to it. Vinyl paint offers great hide and coverage (so it can save you multiple coats), and it’s often use as an exterior paint because it’s waterproof, resists chipping and weather, plus it is quite flexible and won’t stress or crack as a building moves. Vinyl paint doesn’t work as well on high-alkaline materials, like new masonry (stucco, concrete, brick, stone, glass, etc.) that is often a factor in new construction. Vinyl might not be as durable as acrylic overall, but it is more cost effective.
VOC
Volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) are organic chemicals that have a low boiling point and evaporate at room temperature, releasing chemicals into the air (what’s commonly called, off-gassing). Notice a scent or odor? Most are VOCs, which can be man-made or occur naturally in nature (flowers, compost and plants all release VOCs). More attention has been paid to VOCs in recent years because some can be harmful in large concentrations and affect health or the environment over time. Benjamin Moore was the first paint company to release a zero VOC waterborne tinting system, called Gennex Colour Technology, and has released a series of low VOC paints, including Natura, Aura, Eco-Spec, WB, Ultra Spec 500, ben, Waterborne Ceiling Paint and Regal Select. To give a sense of the numbers, these new low VOC paints have between 0-100 grams per litre of VOC, vs. the standard/usual 100-250.
Volume Solids
When people talk about the volume solid, it refers to the volume of paint leftover after it has dried. It’s a factor that’s most important for high-build paints. High-build paints go on thick, dry fast and keep their height because they have a higher ratio of volume solids than regular paint.
W
Wet Edge
The wet area you’ve most recently painted is the “wet edge.” This wet area is still workable. So you can keep rolling or painting over this section to even things out before it dries, whereas the drier areas that have been painted earlier should be left alone until they’re completely dry and ready for a recoat. To maintain a wet edge, you roll or move your brush from the wet edge to a new patch and then back to the wet area.